Dani Clos has joined the HRT F1 Team as its reserve driver following three seasons racing in GP2. We have a look at his career to date…
Spaniard Clos has signed with HRT after driving for them at the Young Driver Test at Abu Dhabi last November, and will be present at every Grand Prix and take part in several Friday free practice sessions in place of their veteran race drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan. There is currently no indication that he will continue to race in GP2 alongside his F1 commitments.
While Clos has no doubt been signed as a result of his nationality and perhaps a bit of budget rather than specifically down to his talent, he has been amongst the frontrunners in GP2 over the past two years.
Clos first found success in his second year of Formula Renault 2.0 in 2006, winning the Italian title and finishing seventh in the Eurocup. He moved onto the Formula 3 Euro Series for 2007 and finished 13th overall, and remained in the series for a second year – only to drop to 14th in the points. Despite this, he got the chance to test for Williams in September 2008, and again in December, at Jerez.
He also managed to seal a GP2 race seat with Racing Engineering for 2009. He had a quiet first year, failing to score any points until the very last race of the season at Portimao where he finished third.
He remained with the team into 2010, and made a significant improvement. At the season opener in Spain he finished on the podium, and next time out he scored pole position at Monaco before finishing on the podium. Then at Turkey he won the sprint race, with two more podiums following at Istanbul, leaving him second in the standings. He slipped to fourth before the end of the season.
His second win in the category came in the 2011 ‘Asia Series’ race at Imola. The main 2011 campaign was a bit of a disappointment compared to the previous year – he only twice finished on the podium (both in sprint races) and finished up ninth in the final standings with only 30 points compared to his haul of 51 in 2010.
Speaking about his new role with HRT, Clos said: “I?m very proud to be a part of HRT Formula 1 Team. It is a great step in my career, something that I have dreamt of all my life and, finally, my dream is starting to come true. I?m very impressed with the job the team is doing; they?re achieving fantastic things in a short space of time. The team has changed a lot since we met in the Abu Dhabi tests and I think it?s a great opportunity and an honor to form a part of this new team. What they?re achieving is very important for motorsport in our country and has a lot of potential. Also, being alongside Pedro de la Rosa is very important for me, since he and Karthikeyan can positively contribute to me becoming a better driver.”
Team principal Luis Perez-Sala added: “I’m very happy to have Dani on the team. He’s a quick, talented driver who, above all, is very willing to progress. The incorporation of Clos is another step in our project of restructuring HRT but also fits in with our desire to promote young motorsport talents.”