Pedro de la Rosa insists HRT's production of its new car is going to plan and is still hopeful he will be able to drive it during the second preseason test at Barcelona.
The Spanish squad is working flat out to have its new grand prix racer ready in time for testing and, despite suggestions that there are delays with it, de la Rosa says he is staying calm. HRT is set to test its 2011 car in the opening session at Jerez, but de la Rosa is still hopeful the team will be able to run with the 2012 machine in the second test at Barcelona on February 21.
"The plan is to test with the old car at Jerez, and then run the new car in the Barcelona test on Feb. 21. That's the plan," de la Rosa told AUTOSPORT. "It's been said there are delays, but I don't see it that way. I think the whole process of producing the car started very late and the team is making a superhuman effort to have the new car on track on February 21.
"I'm very calm. From the day I signed I knew that this was more or less the plan. It hasn't been modified."
He added: "The plan is to have a preseason that is as long as possible. It's always best to do as many kilometers as possible. But it's not a critical situation, because it's going according to plan.
"Things get more intense when those plans have to change because the parts are late or because there are problems, but it's not the case. I think that having two tests before Australia, we will be fine. There are bigger teams who have also opted to do this, too."
De la Rosa, who has signed a two-year deal with HRT to return to racing this year, admits the main goal for the team is to improve on a regular basis. He said the target for the season has to be beating Marussia and Caterham, but he is aware it will be a difficult task.
"Our realistic goal is to improve, first of all," he said. "Improve race by race. What we need to make clear is that a victory for us is not winning a race, but simply improve in every race. And for that we need to be the best new team to be in the top ten [in the championship].
"It's a very ambitious target and it will be very, very hard because there are teams like Caterham, that have a clear advantage over us. But we are here to set goals for ourselves and to fight for them. But the important thing, in the short term, is to grow up in an organized way and that will make the car faster race by race."