Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan will complete HRT's line up for the 2012 season alongside Pedro de la Rosa, the Spanish outfit announced Friday.
Both Karthikeyan and Rosa will contest the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship for the team, which kicks off on March 16 at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Australia.
The 35-year-old from Chennai started the 2011 season as a racing driver for HRT. But after the European Grand Prix, the eighth round of the championship, he was dropped and replaced by Australian rookie Daniel Ricciardo.
Karthikeyan made a one-off return to the team at the Indian Grand Prix late in the season after four outings as a Friday driver.
According to HRT, The team will return to action next week at the first official preseason tests, taking place in Jerez, where Pedro de la Rosa will take to the wheel. Karthikeyan will join the team for the second tests in Barcelona, which is scheduled from Feb. 21 to 24 at the Circuit de Catalunya.
It has taken a lot of hard work to make this happen but I am absolutely elated to feature on the 2012 grid with HRT F1 Team, Karthikeyan said. I have been training hard since the end of 2011, ensuring I was ready for the rigours of F1 if an opportunity arose.
Karthikeyan, who feels proud for forging a stronger connection between India and Formula 1, said with the new management, Rosa, and the team, there was definite potential for progress.
I am pleased to count with Narain for this season, as he will contribute continuity and stability. He is a quick, intuitive and secure driver who met his expectations despite a lack of continuity last year, HRT team principal Luiz Perez-Sala said.
Of the eight Grands Prix Karthikeyan contested in 2011, he only failed to finish on one occasion and had a great performance in the last race he took part in, Perez-Sala continued.
Karthikeyan finished on the podium at his first ever race in Sriperumbudur and was a semi-finalist in the Pilote Elf Competition for Formula Renault cars in 1992.
In 1994, he participated in the Formula Ford Zetec series with Foundation Racing and won the British Formula Ford Winter series. Just a couple of years later, he became the first Asian driver to win the Formula Asia International series.
In 2000, Karthikeyan finished the British Formula 3 Championship in fourth place, which is his best GP finish till date.