Tag Archives: Hispania

New HRT F112 launched in Barcelona

HRT showed off their F112

HRT showed off their F112

HRT have finally unveiled their F112 car in Barcelona today.

After failing their initial crash tests, the financially troubled team will take part in a filming day today to shake down the car. However, the F112 has still lost out massively from not completing any realistic test laps before Melbourne.

The livery has again been revised from last year. 2011′s design proved to be a hit with the fans, though this may not be the case this year. The base of the car is white, with deep red and gold lines along the side.

The F112 appears to have a stepped nose like many of its competitors, but the lack of front-end pictures makes it difficult to analyse.

A team photo afterwards revealed that Vitantonio Liuzzi was to stay with the team, undoubtedly as a reserve driver.

Hispania bought out by Thesan Capital

The troubled HRT team is set to undergo a third change of ownership

The troubled HRT team is set to undergo a third change of ownership

Hispania Racing has been bought out today by Spanish investment company Thesan Capital.

The team has confirmed that the investment group bought out a majority sharehold from current team owner Jose Ramon Carabante. This buy-out is similar to Genii Capital’s investment in Renault F1 last year.

Thesan Capital, a relatively new group, has stated that they intend to continue running the team as normal, in a statement released today:

Thesan Capital has reached an agreement by which it has acquired a majority 
shareholding in Grupo Inversor Hispania from José Ramón Carabante. Grupo 
Inversor Hispania is the main shareholder of Hispania Racing, owner of the sole
Formula 1 license in Spain, under which Hispania Racing races. Thesan Capital 
thus becomes the controlling shareholder of the Spanish Formula 1 team. 

The Spanish investment group will lead the development of Hispania Racing in the 
upcoming years, maintaining the current team and directors, which is one of the 
main assets of the company, and will try to develop and search for opportunities 
to optimize and improve the performance of the team in the upcoming seasons, 
alongside progressively making the team more Spanish and definitively settling 
the team in Spain.

The Thesan Capital team, who consider the acquisition of Hispania Racing as an 
opportunity to enter a sector with great prospects of growing, will work with
the aim of strengthening the strategic management of the group.

This is the third change in ownership since the team formed in late 2009. The outfit started out as Campos Racing, under the helm of Adrian Campos. However, the team was in turmoil before the 2010 season even started, and was rescued by Carabante and the Grupo Hispania, hence the name change.

While no other changes have been announced, rumours are abound that the team is set to link up with an existing Spanish operation, or construct their own Spanish factory, which is less likely. Epsilon Euskadi, the  team which just failed to enter F1 for 2011, and Addax (GP2 and GP3) are hinted to be favourites for a link-up.

How the teams are shaping up after testing – Part 3

This is the final part of a 3-post series looking at each individual team before they head off to Melbourne in little over a week’s time.

Sauber

Perez and Kobayashi looks like an impressive line-up

Perez and Kobayashi looks like an impressive line-up

With good testing form and a formidable line-up, Sauber are certainly a team to watch out for in 2011.

Critics slate the driver line-up as inexperienced, but Peter Sauber’s last young driver pairing was Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld in 2011, which earned them 4th in the constructors championship.

This year’s pairing of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez may not have the same effect, but they are both forces to be reckoned with. Perez, a former winner of British Formula 3, seeks to stake his claim in Formula 1. Kobayashi strikes fear into those in front of him with his trademark breathtaking overtaking.

The arrival of James Kay last year came at around the same time Sauber turned their year around. This year, the C30 is not radical or innovative technically, but with a Ferrari KERS system, the car could be battling high in the midfield.

Such a young driver line-up is risky to some, but I don’t think that it will affect the team in any negative way.

Toro Rosso

Both Buemi and Alguersuari will be under pressure in the STR6

Both Buemi and Alguersuari will be under pressure in the STR6

Despite having retained both Alguersuari and Buemi for another year, the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo as test driver will keep both Toro Rosso drivers on their toes all year.

Both Alguersuari’s and Buemi’s contracts allow them to be pushed aside for Ricciardo at the half-way mark, so any underachieving will be heavily punished. However, the promising form of the STR6 should propel the team forward regardless of drivers this year.

The double floor and upswept sidepods, created by Giorgio Ascanelli, are both clever innvoations, but it is unclear where Toro Rosso stand after testing. The general consensus though is that the team are in a much better position than last year, having been the worst-ranked out of the points-scoring teams.

As previously stated, both drivers will have to up their game, but the pressure is more on Sebastien Buemi. Having been at the team for two years, he failed to show his impressive form from from 2009 into 2010, and completely lost out to Alguersuari by the end of last year. It could be a terrible shame to see him replaced, as his first race back in Australia 2009 was extremely promising.

No matter which drivers survive the year with the team, improvements are essential.

Lotus

The Lotus T128 is a huge improvement from its predecessor

The Lotus T128 is a huge improvement from its predecessor

Considerably the best of the new teams last year, Lotus seek to leap into the midfield with radical improvements over the winter.

Leaving aside the “Lotus vs Lotus” legal battle, everything is looking up for Lotus at the moment, as the T128 is already showing signs of huge improvements.

Heikki Kovalainen has said that the 2011 machine “feels like a proper Formula 1 car”. The gearbox and hydraulic issues that plagued the team last year have been solved by ditching Xtrac for Red Bull. Even with those difficulties in 2010, they were the most reliable out of the 3 teams, so this is another big step forward.

A pull-rod suspension system has been implemented, the same sort that has been used on the Red Bull for years. A blade roll-hoop and split air intake, unpopular but possibly promising choices, have also been used on the T128.

A Renault engine will give them a boost in fuel efficiency, but more than likely a drop in reliability, considering Cosworth’s good performance last year.

With all of these changes since 2010, it is a considerable achievement that a 18-month-old team could consider challenging for points. It seems well within reason for them to do this, so 2011 could be a fantastic improvement for Lotus.

HRT

HRT won't turn a wheel until Melbourne

HRT won't turn a wheel until Melbourne

Hispania Racing, just starting their 2nd Formula 1 season, still have the shockingly awful record of not running at a single test session in their history.

There are reasons, of course, why the team couldn’t attend the Barcelona test, but it is still a PR disaster for a team looking for sponsors to not be able to turn a wheel until the season opener. Where have we heard that line before…

I don’t mean to appear biased, but there is little good to speak of Hispania so far this year. The livery is an exceptional improvement from the horrid F110, but the F111 displays only one sponsor, and this is not good news for a financially struggling team.

Vitantonio Liuzzi, however, may be able to show some good form. Having been dropped by Force India, he now needs to prove that he can still race at the top level. Beating Narain Karthikeyan will obviously be his main target. Karthikeyan, who last raced in F1 for Jordan in 2005, has been competing in A1 GP and Superleague Formula since.

It’s not a bad line-up, but Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok were both promising drivers last year. Regardless, HRT’s aim will probably be to just keep up with their rivals.

With more time than 2010 to develop their car, the F111 should probably be an improvement, but we won’t know until Melbourne.

Virgin

An all-CFD approach may not pay off for Virgin

An all-CFD approach may not pay off for Virgin

Once again, Nick Wirth has led an all-CFD approach to the Virgin Racing MVR-02, and it appears to bring the same disadvantages as last year.

A lack of underfloor aero simulation has left the Virgin car underdeveloped again this year. The last car to never see a wind tunnel was the epic disaster of the 1997 MasterCard Lola team, which survived one race – 13 seconds off the pace. In qualifying, seeing as they never made the race.

Timo Glock is pessimistic, saying that he doubts they will reach the midfield, meaning the team may have to dice it out with HRT again in 2011.

Testing highlighted their woes. Many wasted days were spent miles off the pace, with Jerome D’Ambrosio bearing the brunt of not being able to set a single fast time over several days.

With Timo Glock recovering after surgery, the team have suffered by not having any experienced hands develop the car, and it will probably show in Melbourne.

No testing for HRT?

HRT now face the prospect of not running their 2011 car until Melbourne

HRT now face the prospect of not running their 2011 car until Melbourne

After unveiling their 2011 car in the pitlane in Barcelona today, Hispania were set to begin testing in the afternoon. However, after crucial parts being sent over were held by customs, the team are now faced with the prospect of beginning the season with absolutely no testing.

Of course, the team has been in this situation before. Last year, their F110 hadn’t turned a wheel before Friday Practice 2 in Bahrain. Today should have seen the team attend their first test session, but the dampers for the suspension are currently being held by customs, with no possibility of them arriving for tomorrow.

Team principal Colin Kolles has said:

"Unfortunately we could not get the dampers out of customs. The result of this is 
that we can't run tomorrow. This is life and we will overcome this problem."

The consolation for the team is that they have slight experience of the new Pirelli tyres, as both Vitantonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan have driven the F110 with 2011-spec tyres.

Liuzzi confirmed at Hispania for 2011

Liuzzi is the last of the 24 drivers to be announced for 2011

Liuzzi is the last of the 24 drivers to be announced for 2011

Vitantonio Liuzzi has been announced as Hispania Racing’s second driver for the 2011 season.

He is the final driver to take his place on the grid, and he will race alongside Narain Karthikeyan this year.

Christian Klien was also in the running for the final slot, but Liuzzi was confirmed by the team today. Team principal Colin Kolles stated:

"Tonio is a very professional driver who will bring a lot of benefits to the team.

I have known Tonio for many years as he raced with me in lower categories.

I am convinced about his skills to develop a car and his speed. He has shown this in 
the past having contributed to a large extend developing and moving a back grid car 
to the front. I had the pleasure of working with him and I am very happy and proud 
to have him racing with Hispania Racing.”

Vitantonio lost his race seat at Force India early this year, despite having a contract to race with them this year. He has said that he had “never lost hope” fighting to stay in F1:

“I am really happy to have signed this agreement with Hispania Racing.

I never lost hope to be in Formula One as I knew I have the experience and the 
right attributes for a young and ambitious team. I face a new challenge now and 
this excites me.

I also face a lot of hard work in guiding Hispania Racing through the development 
of our new car. I am extremely grateful to José Ramon Carabante and to Colin 
Kolles for giving me such an opportunity.”

In a separate announcement, HRT have stated that they will present their 2011 car and drivers on Friday afternoon in Barcelona.

Klien still in talks with Hispania

Christian Klien is still hopeful of a 2011 drive

Christian Klien is still hopeful of a 2011 drive

As it has been for some time, there is only one seat left to be filled for the 2011 season – the second driver role at Hispania. Christian Klien has revealed that he is still in talks to take the final race seat.

Klien, who drove for 5 races for HRT last year, impressed the team by out-qualifying Bruno Senna on multiple occasions. However, he has recently been on the back foot, as both Vitantonio Liuzzi and Giorgio Mondini have been testing in last year’s F110.

Despite this, Christian remains confident of racing in F1 this year. In an interview published on his own site, he stated:

"My manager Roman Rummenigge is in permanent contact with the team's management. 
Needless to say I would love to drive for HRT. I am convinced the team will make 
good progress and surprise a few people. In Geoff Willis and chief designer Paul 
White they have engineers who know very well how to build competitive racing cars. 
I would love to develop it further. And they are masters of efficiency like no 
other team on the grid."

Even if Klien gets the drive, he and the team will be faced with the huge challenge of developing a car, three weeks before the start of the F1 season, that hasn’t turned a wheel yet. Despite this, he remains hopeful that Hispania can become more competitive than last year:

"Each day matters. But if you look back how this team rose from the ashes of another 
operation at the beginning of 2010, you will have no doubt HRT will make the most of 
its limited resources in 2011. They have a solid and analytical way of facing 
challenges."

The rest of the interview is available on Christian’s website.

Toyota Motorsport split with Hispania

HRT have lost another technical partnership

HRT have lost another technical partnership

Toyota Motorsport, who have, for this year, been offering technical support to the struggling Hispania team, have today said that they will cease operations with the team. Toyota claim that this contract cancellation is because of a lack of “contractual payment obligations”.

HRT have already split up with another technical partnership, the last one was with Dallara, their chassis provider, back in May. However, this time it is more serious, as Toyota have been supplying the team with a wind tunnel, driving simulator, and an engineering services supplier. Without this, the team is in much worse state for the 2011 season.

Toyota’s statement reads as follows:

 Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) confirms that all cooperation 
with Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) has been terminated and 
will not resume.

TMG retains all intellectual property rights to its current 
F1 car and is completely free to pursue other projects and 
support new customers for its high-performance engineering 
services.

TMG regrets that HRT has not met its contractual payment 
obligations and will pursue all available options to reach
a satisfactory conclusion to this matter.

If you ask me, the HRT team are becoming more and more of a joke. Their “technical facilities” don’t exist any more, they have been strangled with a lack of investment from their owner, and are simply miles off the pace compared to their rivals. Some have compared the team to Minardi, but I remember people actually liking Minardi.

A complete takeover is needed of the team before it embarresses Formula 1 even more.

Klien retained by Hispania for Abu Dhabi

Christian Klien will stay on at HRT for Abu Dhabi

Christian Klien will stay on at HRT for Abu Dhabi

Christian Klien will stay on at the HRT team for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it has been revealed today. He will continue to partner Bruno Senna, while Sakon Yamamoto and Karun Chandhok continue to be left on the sidelines.

After replacing Yamamoto for the Singapore GP and impressing the team, Klien was hired again for the Brazilian GP, where he out-qualified Bruno Senna by more than half a second. Because of this, he will be retained for the final race of the 2010 season.

It’s good to see Hispania are starting to prioritise driver ability over financial assets brought to the team, but very few fans will be happy until we see Karun Chandhok return to the driver’s seat. However, with the 2011 driver market closing up fast, time is running out for Chandhok to get a drive for next season.

Klien to replace Yamamoto for Brazil

The Hispania Racing Team have said that Christian Klien will be replacing Sakon Yamamoto for the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.

This is the second race weekend this year that this will be happening, the other being in Singapore, when the team claimed Yamamoto was “unwell”, even though he could be observed strolling through the paddock all weekend.

Christian last raced at Interlagos in 2005, but seems to be confident that he can keep up with Bruno Senna this weekend:

"I am excited to come to Brazil where I already raced two
times, the last time in 2005, and where I could achieve
good results. The circuit is quite challenging and we are
racing anti-clockwise which is going to be tough for the neck.

There are many slow corners and the long straight at the
start-finish-line where high speeds are possible.

I am very happy to get a second opportunity to do another Grand
Prix here after Singapore and I hope that we are doing a good
weekend with positive results.

 

Hispania to use Williams gearboxes for 2011

The Hispania team have announced that they are to use Williams gearboxes for the 2011 season onwards. They follow Lotus in moving away from the current supplier to all 3 new teams, Xtrac.

Hispania will use Williams gearboxes from 2011 onwards

Hispania will use Williams gearboxes from 2011 onwards

Hispania have, along with the other teams of course, suffered many technical retirements this season, and like Lotus, many of these were because of transmission and gearbox failures. Geoff Willis has previously complained about Xtrac’s lack of reliability:

.

"Most of our problems have been related to transmission 
hydraulics, which is a complicated part of the car. It 
is the first time that Xtrac has been involved as a 
supplier of the whole system."

It appears as if Cosworth engines had a role to play in this deal as well. Both teams already use Cosworth engines already, and Williams claim that today’s deal will “extend for the lifecycle of the current Cosworth engine technology”.

This is a good step forward for Hispania to associate themselves with a trusted supplier. Xtrac won a contract from the FIA to supply cheap transmission systems to the new teams this year, but have done themselves no favours by supplying what appears to be very unreliable machinery to Lotus, Virgin and Hispania.

While both Lotus and Hispania have both stated their intentions to move away from Xtrac, Virgin have made no such announcements. Bernie Ecclestone has recently suggested that Virgin is suffering from a lack of investment by Richard Branson, and this may be what is holding them back.

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