Nov.22 (GMM) With Pedro de la Rosa confirmed for one seat, attention is now turning to which of HRT’s existing race drivers will be ousted after this weekend’s 2011 season finale.
Vitantonio Liuzzi revealed last time out in Abu Dhabi that he has a contract with the Spanish team for 2012.
“We knew when we started that it could not be just a one-year situation if we wanted to improve,” said the Italian, a former Force India and Red Bull driver.
“The team hired me to help them develop and bring experience in the team and I think everything is going well and everything is looking positive for the future,” added Liuzzi.
His teammate at the moment is Daniel Ricciardo, who was placed at HRT earlier this year after the team reached an agreement with Red Bull “as a support for the development of its driver”.
It is believed that the current agreement with HRT is only for 2011, and that Red Bull driver manager Dr Helmut Marko has not decided if it will be renewed for 2012.
If it is, Ricciardo could stay but the Australian might also graduate to Toro Rosso, with newcomer Jean-Eric Vergne placed alongside de la Rosa.
Yet another candidate for HRT could be Dani Clos, a 23-year-old GP2 driver who alongside de la Rosa would complete an all-Spanish lineup for HRT in 2012.
He tested the current car in Abu Dhabi last week and afterwards insisted he is “prepared to take the step” into full-time F1.
“But there are many factors that decide whether a driver makes it into F1 or not,” Clos conceded.
“It’s not impossible and I would love to be involved at some level, if it’s not as an official driver then as a test driver, whilst also competing in another category.”
As for HRT, he said the 2012 project “looks very promising”.
“I think they are changing their car, headquarters and a few other things which will make the team more stable and attractive. Without a doubt these changes are for the better,” added Clos.