Narain Karthikeyan believes qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix could have been straightforward had Friday's practice not been hit by rain.
The Indian managed just 19 laps on the first day of practice, while teammate Pedro de la Rosa completed only a single lap, meaning that the HRT F112 heads into tomorrow's running with very little track time. Both drivers now face a massive challenge to make the 107 percent qualifying cut-off.
"I have to qualify, there are no two ways about it," said Karthikeyan when asked how tough it would be to make the cut. "Everything has changed with the team and because of that I am here and I have to qualify, so I will push tomorrow. If we don't qualify, it's a shame.
"If we had a lot of running today, I don't think it would have been a problem but tomorrow we will have to see how it goes."
Karthikeyan lost track time with a loss of fuel pressure after only three laps in the morning and then hydraulic problems in the afternoon. Tomorrow afternoon's one-hour free practice session is now key to exploiting the potential of a car that Karthikeyan rates as an improvement over last year's in some areas.
"The mechanical grip has improved but I can't say much more than that. We just need to focus on single-lap pace. We have done more laps than last year, so that's positive, but we still have a long way to go. We start from scratch tomorrow because we have done practically no dry running."
De la Rosa missed the first session entirely, but lost all but one lap of the second after encountering hydraulic problems. He fears that the team will encounter further troubles with the car tomorrow.
"We managed to complete our installation lap in order to check the systems, but we detected a problem with the hydraulic system which forced us to stop. We know where the problem is for tomorrow and can fix it. We start tomorrow with one problem less, and will surely run into another one, but that is part of the learning process."