Pedro de la Rosa is optimistic that improvements to his HRT car should help the team qualify for this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard and his teammate Narain Karthikeyan failed to get within the mandatory 107 percent of the fastest Q1 time in Australia last weekend, on a weekend where HRT was hindered by power steering and cooling issues, plus a lack of DRS. However, with progress having been made in all three areas ahead of Sepang, de la Rosa is more hopeful about his team's chances this time out.
"It is not only the fact that we will have DRS here, which we didn't in Australia," he explained. "We seem to have found the issues with the power steering, which is massively important. And the whole team has had one more week to build the cars with more attention to detail, really, so I am more confident than Australia."
De la Rosa thinks that the addition of DRS alone should hand the team up to one second of lap time.
"DRS itself is approximately nine tenths to one second, so it is quite a big help especially where we are, and what we need to qualify. That extra second could make a difference."
De la Rosa confessed to not being too surprised that the squad did not make the cut in Australia, having had limited mileage before the first race of the campaign.
"It was not nice and it was tough to not qualify in Australia, because of the mechanics and engineers who made such a super effort to be there," he said. "But that is what was expected, actually. We cannot dream of arriving there, finishing the car on Saturday morning and then suddenly qualifying. I would have been disappointed if we had been testing all winter – we had DRS, being perfect, everything – and then not qualifying. Then I would be really disappointed, but these things happen when you are not well prepared. We are a lot better prepared now, and I think it will grow from here."