Pirelli, F1’s official tyre supplier, has reportedly bought an old HRT car.
This week, we reported that assets of the newly-defunct Spanish formula one team had been snapped up by Teo Martin, a well-known automotive component recycler. According to AS newspaper, Martin apparently bought 2011 and 2012 single seaters as well as other assets.
But Reuters reports that another HRT buyer was Pirelli.
“The other 2011 (HRT) car has gone to Pirelli,” Martin is quoted as saying. Pirelli has not confirmed the report.
Currently, Pirelli’s F1 test car is a 2010 Renault. Previously, the Italian marque used a 2009 Toyota.
Meanwhile, McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh fears other teams are in danger of following HRT out of formula one, claiming that “of the 11 teams, seven of them are in survival strategy”.
“It’s tough,” Whitmarsh, referring to the economic situation, is quoted by the BBC. “We have taken some measures but I think it’s going to be tough for some of the teams to have a viable business model for a few years; there’s no doubt about that.”
Assets of the newly-defunct F1 team HRT have been bought.
Spain’s AS newspaper reports that Teo Martin, a well-known automotive component recycler, has bought most of the valuable parts left over in the wake of the Spanish team’s demise.
The report said HRT’s rented headquarters in Madrid are “already dismantled, deserted and silent”.
Teo Martin has apparently bought the 2011 and 2012 single seaters, a show car, a truck, tools, machinery, furniture and other assets.
“In short, everything that can be recycled and sold that was still in HRT’s possession (has been sold),” read the AS newspaper report.
The sold assets did not include the 2012 engines, which have been returned to Cosworth, or the gearboxes, which were rented from Williams.
“The amount of the transaction is not known,” added AS.
No more teams are set to follow HRT through F1’s paddock exit, Bernie Ecclestone insists.
There has been speculation the economic situation in the sport and the wider world could claim more scalps, with Marussia at the top of the list, having reportedly failed to negotiate a new Concorde Agreement with F1’s ‘supremo’.
But after a meeting with team bosses last Thursday, chief executive Ecclestone now tells F1 business journalist Christian Sylt: “They are all safe.
“We have got a deal with them all, including Marussia,” he is quoted by Autoweek.
“We are continuing with Marussia. I thought they were going to go but they are not.”
Marussia’s sporting director Graeme Lowdon confirmed that “discussions” about a final agreement with Ecclestone are taking place now.
Ecclestone said F1’s teams should be happy with the terms.
“They’ve all got more money than god,” he quipped.
A new F1 team could rise from the ashes of the failed Spanish outfit HRT.
Reports – including in the Spanish newspaper AS – claim a group of investors from Canada and the US want to enter this year’s world championship with an evolution of HRT’s 2012 car, featuring a Cosworth engine and Williams gearbox. The team is reportedly called Scorpion Racing, and the Press Association said it would be based at Silverstone and operate with equipment bought from HRT.
But there could be an issue with getting up and running for 2013, given that the official entry deadline for this season’s championship closed last November.
Bernie Ecclestone is quoted as saying: “I’ve spoken to them and told them to get in touch with the FIA and ask for an entry.
“They want to buy all the bits from HRT, then form a company and ask for an entry, but I personally don’t think it will happen. It’s all a bit too late. Maybe they could do it for next year.”
The Press Association said the FIA did not want to respond in detail until it receives more ‘concrete’ information from Scorpion.
Pedro de la Rosa, HRT’s lead driver in 2012, has joined boss Luis Perez-Sala in admitting that the Spanish team has folded.
Spaniard de la Rosa, who was contracted to keep racing this year, has already said he is on the lookout for a new role elsewhere as test or reserve driver.
“There has been no official announcement,” the 41-year-old told the Spanish sports daily Marca, “but we all feel that the project will end. The sad thing is that there was never a Spanish team before and now I think we will not see one again.
“It was an historic occasion. With a great champion like Fernando (Alonso), it was a good time and an excellent backdrop for the national interest. I think it will be very difficult to have these circumstances again,” he added.
As for HRT’s demise, de la Rosa admitted: “If the project failed, we’re all a little responsible.”
Team boss Luis Perez-Sala has admitted the HRT dream is over.
After three seasons at the back of the F1 grid, the Spanish backmarker has folded, even though official confirmation has been lacking so far.
“It was impossible to go on,” Sala, a former Minardi driver who was brought in by new owners Thesan Capital to run the team this year, told El Mundo Deportivo newspaper.
“When we decided to take charge of the team, we were promised aid that never arrived,” he added.
HRT, founded as Campos Meta 1 and also known as Hispania, never scored a point.
HRT’s technical director Toni Cuquerella has acknowledged that the Spanish team’s F1 foray is now over.
It was believed the team’s departing owner Thesan Capital had set an end-of-November deadline for a new buyer to be found. Indeed, as November became December over the past weekend, the FIA published the official 2013 entry list, and it made no mention of HRT. But subsequent reports in Spanish newspapers suggested the dream may not be over for the team, who may have been granted more time by the governing body to pay next year’s entry fee.
However, leading team figure Cuquerella wrote on Twitter: “Four years ago, I suggested to a friend to make a F1 team.
“Today after three seasons the last page of HRT has been written. It was certainly an experience,” the Spanish engineer concluded.
Ferrari test driver Marc Gene, another Spaniard, commented: “It leaves a bad taste, because the probability of another Spanish project (in F1) is small and the precedent is negative.
“Support in Spain normally goes to the drivers,” he is quoted by the EFE news agency. “I can think of several projects in which it was thought that the country would get behind it, but instead only the athletes are supported,” added Gene, a former Minardi driver.
According to strong paddock rumours, Sunday’s Brazilian grand prix will be the last lap for ailing backmarkers HRT. Publicly looking for a buyer, it is reported that staff have actually already been served with pending redundancy notices that will come into effect after the chequered flag waves on Sunday.
“None of us know what will happen,” team driver Pedro de la Rosa, who was expected to stay at the Spanish team in 2013, admitted to reporters in Brazil.
When asked about the redundancy notices, he answered: “All I know is that we are here and that everyone here has not received anything.
“What happens after is unknown,” added de la Rosa. “I hope the team continues but at this moment in time I cannot say any more.”
Ma Qinghua will “definitely” be on the grid in Shanghai next year, the Chinese driver’s agent said on Thursday.
Ma, HRT’s test and sometimes Friday practice driver in 2012, told the Fujian newspaper Southeastern Express that reports the Spanish team is for sale do not worry him.
The 24-year-old has been tipped as a potential teammate for Pedro de la Rosa in 2013, but Spanish media reports say there is a risk HRT will fold.
Ma’s agent, Jin Yong, said: “No matter who the boss is, Ma will definitely compete in next year’s F1 race in Shanghai.”
Ma added: “No matter who will be the boss, the team is still there. So what I need to focus on now is to improve myself through training.”
The current owners are seeking EUR 40 million for the struggling backmarker HRT, according to the Spanish sports daily AS. The newspaper also revealed that talks with potential buyers from India and Abu Dhabi are underway.
HRT, currently owned by Madrid based investment company Thesan Capital, confirmed this week that “the time has come for the team to continue growing with new financial backing”. Media reports suggested HRT was in the process of sacking 32 employees, and needed a buyer before the first days of December to avoid closure.
AS claims that the situation inside the team has become dire, to the point that engineers are concerned that Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan are being put into grands prix at the wheel of unsafe HRT cars.
Indeed, at the most recent grands prix in Abu Dhabi and India, Karthikeyan and de la Rosa respectively retired in spectacular style with fundamental technical failures. De la Rosa crashed due to brake failure, while Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was sent airborne when Karthikeyan slowed because his steering wheel “locked solid”.
“Narain told me that his steering broke,” said Rosberg, “and he needed to brake which I didn’t expect in a high speed corner.”
AS suggests that HRT has considered simply withdrawing from the 2012 championship, but is pushing ahead for now due to its commitment to the Concorde Agreement. According to the report, HRT was hoping its association with Chinese reserve driver Ma Qinghua would bear fruit.
Chief executive Saul Ruiz de Marcos reportedly wrote a letter to China’s motor racing federation, saying Ma would make his F1 debut in 2013 if he could bring EUR 30 million in backing.