By the time you read this, Narain Karthikeyan would have finally gotten some much needed track time in HRT's new F1 challenger, the F112. The run would, however, have been nothing more than a plan-B.
After the F112 failed two of the 17 FIA mandated crash tests that forced the team to skip the two pre-season tests in Barcelona, HRT had to resort to giving their new car its track debut on a 'filming' day.
Filming days are one of three ways in which F1 teams can test their cars outside of the 15 days allotted by the International Automobile Federation (FIA). The FIA states that outside od the 15 days, teams are allowed to conduct straight-line aerodynamic tests or filming days.
The latter allows teams to 'shakedown' their cars. A shakedown is the equivalent of a batsman giving a new bat a tryout in the nets to see if it works to his liking. With the complexity of an F1 car, however, this task is increased at least ten fold as a driver and team has to check all the mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems that make the car go from point A to B.
The catch in a filming day, however, is that teams have to use old tyres and thus cannot get an idea of how fast their car really is. So while Karthikeyan will be able to gauge whether or not everything on the car works, he will have to go into the season opening race with his fingers crossed on everything else.
HRT would not have been the only team to have given their new car a shakedown, however, as their closest rivals Marussia F1 would have given their new car a similar filming day run at Silverstone. While the attention of the majority of F1 fans would be on the battle at the front of the grid, the tail-end scrap will be no less engrossing.
Given the importance of merely finishing for teams like HRT and Marussia, one could argue that the stakes are much higher.
The F112 is powered by a Cosworth engine for the third straight year and features a stepped nose like the majority of the cars on the 2012 F1 grid.