Exclusive: Dani Clos Q&A
Nextgen-Auto talks to one of Spain’s future F1 stars
Dani Clos has been a regular face within the Formula 1 paddock this season, with the Spaniard having so far competed in six Friday practice sessions for HRT. An accomplished GP2 driver, Dani Clos has been widely rumored as a replacement for Narain Karthikeyan next season at HRT.
The Spaniard made his debut in GP2 back in 2009 for Spanish outfit Racing Engineering, and took his first victory in the Series one year later during the sprint race for the Turkish Grand Prix. Since then, his career in the sport has taken a massive leap from one of motor sport’s leading proving grounds to the top tier of the sport. Although the Spaniard has yet to officially start an F1 race, he has received valuable time in HRT’s F112 throughout the majority of the 2012 season.
Before the 2012 season, Dani Clos had partaken in numerous F1 tests for Williams, before being selected for the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test for HRT last season. During his short time with the team, Clos impressed greatly and was elected as the team’s reserve driver for this season. The perks of this role became apparent at the Spanish Grand Prix in May, when he made F1 history by creating the first all-Spanish line-up in a Spanish F1 team during practice one alongside Pedro de la Rosa.
Since then, Dani Clos has taken to the track at both the British, German, Hungarian, Belgian and Korean Grands Prix during the opening practice session of the weekend. Last month I caught up with Dani Clos, as we discussed about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the 2012 season so far.
Q: First of all Dani, many thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Unlike Pedro and Narain, you have much more experience around the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. What’s your opinion on the venue?
Dani Clos: The Yas Marina circuit is a really nice track and I’ve raced there three years in GP2 and I also did the Young Drivers Test there with HRT last year. I consider it to be a really nice track with a good first sector where drivers need to be aggressive. There’s a really nice last technical sector that’s completely different to the other two and it represents a challenge for the engineers and the drivers to find the right set-up.
Q: You have raced around the Yas Marina circuit in various categories, what is your most memorable moment whilst racing at the circuit?
DC: I obviously have great memories from the Young Drivers Test there but my last race in GP2 in 2010 was at the Yas Marina circuit and I was one of the contenders to finish on the podium of the Championship. I had an accident at Spa that year which made me miss various races and Abu Dhabi was one of my last chances to prove myself. I had a really good qualifying, finishing in P2, but the marshals dropped me back to P12. I finished the race in P4 and I have good memories of that race.
Q: You have partaken in several Friday practice sessions for HRT so far this season. How much have these 90 minute sessions helped you and HRT over the season, and will we expect to see you in the car once again this season?
DC: I’m really proud and happy of what we have done up to now. It’s been a great feeling to have been in the car that often and I have to thank the team for that. I definitely expect to have more opportunities where I will try to do the best I can.
Q: At the Spanish Grand Prix in May, you made history alongside Pedro de la Rosa by becoming the first all-Spanish line-up in a Spanish team. How special was this moment for you, as this was also your first ever appearance at an official race weekend?
DC: It was really special, not only because it was my first appearance at an official race weekend but because I was doing it alongside Pedro. Seeing all the people in the grandstands made me feel really proud of being Spanish. Everything went really well and we did a good job for the team.
Q: Rumors have been circulating within the paddock that you could receive a promotion within the team and team-mate Pedro de la Rosa next season. How true are these rumors, and could we expect to see you in a full-time drive next season?
DC: I would like these rumors to be true! But, at the moment, it is not. There are many things that need to happen for me to sit in an official seat. I’m working as hard as I can to achieve it.
Many thanks to the HRT F1 Team and Dani Clos for the communication and time taken to complete this interview.
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