Date: 3rd February 2012 at 10:43am
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The final available seat on the 2012 Formula One grid has been taken by Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan.

HRT had not named their second driver after previously announcing that veteran Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa would be leading the team heading into the new season.

Rubens Barrichello had been previously linked with the seat, but purely because it was the only available seat for him to be able to participate in his 20th season in Formula One and most experts believed he wouldn’t consider a switch to the slowest team in Formula One.

The decision to race with Karthikeyan is somewhat of a U-Turn by the team after he started the 2011 season before being dropped in favour of Australian rookie Daniel Ricciardo after the European Grand Prix.

He returned for a one off race at the Indian Grand Prix instead of Vitantonio Liuzzi, but with Daniel Ricciardo moving into a seat at Toro Rosso and despite Liuzzi claiming he had a contract for 2012 with HRT, Karthikeyan will now continue with HRT for another season.

‘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 told Autosport Magazine.

‘I was pleased with our strong performance at the Indian Grand Prix, in front of my passionate home fans and I look forward to building on this result in 2012.

‘I have been training hard since the end of 2011, ensuring I was ready for the rigours of F1 if an opportunity arose. I am delighted to have signed with HRT F1 Team. With the new management, Pedro, and the team, there is definite potential for progress.’