Narain Karthikeyan has admitted that his strong performance in the Indian Grand Prix was key to him remaining in Formula 1 with HRT this year.
The 35-year-old started eight races for the Spanish team last year, the last of those on home soil after missing over three months of the season, and was announced as a 2012 driver earlier today.
After qualifying 22 thousandths of a second off teammate Daniel Ricciardo, he finished 17th in the race. He believes that this performance underlined his speed and enabled him to build a sponsorship package to help land the seat for 2012.
"I wasn't driving the car regularly but got up to speed very quickly," Karthikeyan said. "That's when I knew that I should try and stay if there was a possibility.
"Things came together although obviously there was a lot of competition for the seat. Four or five drivers with budgets were trying to get the seat, but the team believes that I am fast."
Karthikeyan added that he is confident that HRT has a bright Formula 1 future under the new management that took over last year. The long-term plan that the Thesan Capital-owned squad, now headed by team principal Luis Perez Sala, has put together played a part in his decision to join a team that has struggled for results since coming into F1 at the start of 2010.
"The team changes were good changes," said Karthikeyan. "The new management has a strong structure and financial backing for the project.
"There are a lot of positives. A good example is Pedro [de la Rosa, teammate]. He could have had an easy life and stayed as a McLaren test driver, but he has come here because he knows that the team has a big future.
"I have a similar outlook to Pedro. Everything is in place and we should be in a good position. Things don't change overnight and we will have to wait and see how the new car is, but it will be a decent package."
The team's new car, which unlike last year's F111 will be built around a new monocoque, is scheduled to make its debut in the second preseason test, which takes place at Barcelona on Feb. 21-24.