Tag Archives: HRT

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.

HRT F111 revealed

The new HRT F111

The new HRT F111

Hispania Racing are the second last team to show off their 2011 car: The F111.

This car was launched online today, and reveals a new livery, designed by renowned Daniel Simon of Cosmic Motors. Instead of last year’s bland grey,  striking red and white setup has been applied, with various chequered flag-style pictures around the car.

The new HRT F111

The new HRT F111

Technically, there are several changes. Both the front and rear wing are revised, as well as a half-shark fin engine cover, similar to the Red Bull RB7.

Despite the addition of Narain Karthikeyan, who brings along with him several sponsors, the car does not include any extra sponsors. Instead, the team have placed “This could be you” and “Your logo here” messages on the car – although you could argue that the former message was aimed at drivers rather than companies!

HRT are not going to participate in the next test in Jerez next week. They will instead be going to Monza on the 14th-16th February, to complete several filming days with Pirelli. They will meet up with the F1 paddock in Barcelona on the 18th. However, sources have claimed that the F110 will be used at this Barcelona test, and the F111 will only be driven in the Bahrain test (3rd March), which suggests that the car isn’t fully finished yet.

 

Chandhok caught in legal battle with HRT

Colin Kolles has also revealed why Chandhok left the team

Colin Kolles has also revealed why Chandhok left the team

After being dropped from the Hispania team from the British Grand Prix onwards last year, Karun Chandhok is now facing a legal battle with his former team.

Team principal Colin Kolles explains that Karun “failed to fulfill the contract”:

"When he signed an agreement with us for the 2010 season, Karun made a lot 
of promises on paper. But, he failed to fulfill his obligations. We waited 
for some time, but we didn’t have any other choice than suspending him at 
the German GP. We, however, did everything diplomatically. We didn’t make it 
public. Since then, Karun was never in the team’s radar."

"His failed promises affected the team’s progress last year. We were 
planning to do certain upgrades on the car, but everything got disturbed."

That explanation sounds vague, and there’s a reason for that. What Kolles didn’t mention was that Chandhok was thrown out because he didn’t pay the team enough money. Before the season began, Karun promised the team (allegedly) €8m, but only paid one installment of €2m.

Presumably, his sponsors must have cut off their deal. When Chandhok was unable to pay up, the team promptly threw him out of the team.

It is uncertain what will happen to Karun now, but losing this legal battle could put his racing career in further jeopardy.

Hispania leaves FOTA

Hispania are now the only F1 team not a part of FOTA

Hispania are now the only F1 team not a part of FOTA

HRT have stated that they are to leave the Formula One Teams Association, claiming that the group only focuses on the leading teams. However, FOTA argue that financial troubles caused Hispania to drop out.

FOTA, which was set up in mid-2008, exists to give teams a voice when negotiating with the FIA and Formula One Group (Commercial owners of F1). At the moment, the teams are discussing a Resource Restriction Agreement, which should limit spending from the big teams, and aid the smaller ones. Previously, they played a crucial part in the 2008 Concorde Agreement.

However, despite this, HRT has left the group, claiming:

"The truth is we left because FOTA defends only the interests of the big 
teams"

"For example, it doesn't divide the extra points revenues in equal parts as 
planned. The difference in TV rights revenues seems excessive between 10th 
place, which gets $36 million, and 11th which gets $10 million. So why 
should the entry fee be equal for everyone?"

However, Simone Perillo, secretary general of FOTA, sees things differently:

"I can confirm that the Hispania Racing F1 Team did not fulfil its 2010 
FOTA membership fee obligations."

Despite this, Kolles insists the team were going to leave regardless, before they were suspended after their failure to pay.

HRT not keeping Senna for 2011

Senna will not be retained for the 2011 season

Senna will not be retained for the 2011 season

Hispania Racing have stated today that Bruno Senna will not be racing for them in 2011.

Narain Karthikeyan was confirmed yesterday as the first driver for the team for this upcoming season, but the second slot has yet to be filled.

Bruno Senna was tipped to remain with HRT, but team principal Colin Kolles has ruled this out:

"I can definitely say that Mr Bruno Senna is not going to race for HRT."

If HRT’s best performing driver from last year won’t be retained, then it’s safe to say that Karun Chandhok is out of luck as well, seeing as both of these two drivers lack sponsorship or backing.

The question now is: Who will take the second seat? It will probably be very difficult to guess, as financial backing may well dictate who gets taken on by Hispania.

Narain Karthikeyan signed by HRT for 2011

Karthikeyan is back in F1 after a 5-year break

Karthikeyan is back in F1 after a 5-year break

Narain Karthikeyan has been announced today as the first driver for Hispania Racing for the 2011 season.

The Indian has previously been racing in F1, having driven for the Jordan team back in 2005. Apart from a couple of 11th-placed finishes, his best drive was to 4th in the 6-car US Grand Prix. He then spent 3 years with Team India in A1 GP, and took part in 2 races in Superleague Formula in 2010.

Interestingly enough, when he was racing for Jordan in 2005, the team principal at the time was Colin Kolles, who happens to be managing HRT to this date.

In an interview with Autocar India, he said:

"I have worked really hard to come back to F1 and it will be a dream come
true to race in front of the home crowd in our country’s debut Grand Prix.
I hope that the Indian public will spur me on with their blessings and good
wishes."

(from Twitter): "Back in F1 in 2011. Signed a deal to race for HRT. I’ve
always maintained that my time in F1 was not over and now making good on
that promise."

However, he also hinted that sponsorship was a factor with his signing:

"Huge thanks to my long-time supporters in the Tata Group. Their support
has been instrumental."

This means that whatever happens to Karun Chandhok, there will be an Indian driver on the grid for the inaugural 2011 Indian Grand Prix. With seats at Force India in short supply, it looks like Chandhok has lost out.

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 to replace Yamamoto for Singapore GP

It has been announced today that Christian Klien will replace Sakon Yamamoto for the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. It appears as if Yamamoto is suffering from food poisoning, although there will be questions raised as to why Karun Chandhok was not put back in the race seat.

Team Principal Colin Kolles said:

"It looks as if Sakon Yamamoto has a food poisoning, and he 
doesn’t feel well. Because of this, Christian Klien will be 
driving the car this Friday and the rest of the Singapore 
Grand Prix. I hope Sakon gets well soon and is able to drive 
at his home Grand Prix in Japan."

Klien has previously driven for Hispania in practice sessions at the Spanish and European Grands Prix, but has not been competing in any races so far this year.

This isn’t bad news, seeing as Yamamoto is gone for one race, but it’s very disappointing to see the team continue to snub Karun Chandhok, who Bernie Ecclestone said last week needed a better car to prove his talent. Unfortunately, after this, I can’t see him driving at any time this year.

Possible merger of Hispania and Epsilon Euskadi?

Recent reports in Spain have suggested that there may be merger talks between the Hispania team, and Epsilon Euskadi, who are aiming to be the 13th team in Formula 1 next year. With doubts over the current Spanish outfit’s outlook for next season, a merger would ensure a Spanish team stays in the sport.

Epsilon Euskadi principal Joan Villadelprat is reportedly in merger talks with Hispania

Epsilon Euskadi principal Joan Villadelprat is reportedly in merger talks with Hispania

The Spanish news site EFE is claiming that Epsilon Euskadi chief Joan Villadelprat is considering two options. One is to simply enter as the 13th team, provided the FIA select them as the optimum candidate. The other is to merge with Hispania. It is unknown at this time whether Epsilon Euskadi would prefer to merge or enter on their own.

According to EFE, Villadelprat asked Hispania team owner, Jose Ramon Carabante, “what Hispania needs, what Epsilon can offer and if there is the possibility of collaboration”. Carabante has reportedly responded by saying that Epsilon Euskadi’s infrastructure would rank in the top 5 of the F1 teams, but they lack €17m in investment to enter F1 alone.

The idea of a merger makes very good sense actually, as Euskadi have amazing technological facilities, seeing as they construct Le Mans Prototype machines, but I had already noted that financial investment was lacking, as well as a shortage of sponsors. On the other hand, Hispania have no technical facilities or experience, after their split with chassis constructor Dallara, but they have a handful of sponsors, mostly brought on board by Sakon Yamamoto.

Personally, I think a merger would work well, but if Yamamoto keeps his seat next year to secure sponsor investment, then it’s a completely different story. Also, if Euskadi were to enter F1 this way, then the battle for the 13th slot would lack any convincing entries.

On the other hand, if Epsilon Euskadi were to enter alone, and Hispania collapsed, then F1 would be back to 12 teams again after all their efforts. Although having said that, the idea of losing Hispania isn’t exactly worrying.

Yamamoto remains in Chandhok’s seat for Belgium

Sakon Yamamoto will continue to replace Karun Chandhok at Spa

Sakon Yamamoto will continue to replace Karun Chandhok at Spa

It has emerged today that Sakon Yamamoto will continue to take Karun Chandhok’s seat at the Hispania team for the Belgium Grand Prix, as the team tries to stay afloat on the Japanese driver’s sponsors. While there was initial hope that Karun could return after the summer break, today’s statement by the team has quashed those rumours.

Since Silverstone, Yamamoto has been occupying the race seats of Chandhok and once Senna. With this news, it is clear that Yamamoto will probably be racing at the very back for most of the rest of this season.

While I’m on about Yamamoto, I found an interesting stat on him: He has never scored a pole position in his entire motorsport career. Also, the last time he won a race was back in 2005, in the Super GT (Japanese Touring Car) championship, and he has only won one other race in his life.

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