2011 Season Preview – HRT

Team Name : HRT F1 Team

Location : Madrid, Spain

Team Principal : Colin Kolles

Technical Director : Toni Cuquerella

Drivers : Narain Karthikeyan, Vitantonio Liuzzi

Chassis : F111

Engine : Cosworth CA2011

First Season : 2010

Races Entered : 19

Pole Positions : 0

Race wins : 0

Points scored in 2010 : 0

World Championships : 0

The team that barely made it to the Bahrain GP at the start of the 2010 season, HRT were the perennial backmarkers last year, and with good reason. The team was initially the brainchild of ex-racer Adrian Campos, christened Campos Meta. Campos Racing has been a front-runner in lower categories like GP2, but the F1 outfit was marked by financial and technical problems from the beginning.

Jose Ramon Carabante took over the team before the season had even started, and renamed it Hispania Racing, with Collin Kolles as the Team Principal. The car used a Dallara chassis that was hopelessly uncompetitive, and to make matters worse, the team was struggling to stay afloat and had to choose drivers based on the sponsorship they brought to the table. HRT just about managed to produce two working cars in time for the Bahrain GP, with Karun Chandok driving the car for the first time in the qualifying session at Bahrain.

But the one thing that stood out from the team’s maiden campaign was undoubtedly the reliability of the car. Despite being way off the pace of even the other two new teams, the F110 displayed startling levels of reliability for a brand new team’s brand new car. It proved to be the difference between last place and second-last place in the championship standings, as HRT leapfrogged Virgin with three 14th place finishes.

The team used the services of no less than four drivers during the season – Karun Chandok, Bruno Senna, Sakon Yamamoto and Christian Klien. This season is widely expected to be more of the same, with HRT’s driver selection policy being the butt of all ridicule. Narain Karthikeyan returns after a 5-year hiatus, and Force India reject Vitantonio Liuzzi joins him. Both drivers have shown glimpses of raw pace, but neither have demonstrated the ability to translate that into a season-long consistent performance.

Toyota, who supported HRT with engineering services, have pulled the plug, and with the team still finding it difficult to develop the car at rivals’ pace, the future looks a bit shaky. Nevertheless, the Spanish squad have a strong technical team, with the experienced Geoff Willis leading the design group, things should get better if decent funding is secured. If the 2011 challenger is as reliable as the F110, and the team can sustain the development program, they may be in a position to compete strongly with Virgin and Lotus. But for the moment, the target has to be getting the new car to work reliably and beginning the season with the car sorted out well.



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