HRT spend the year bringing up the rear

2010 F1 season review

Karun Chandhok is passed by Button at Montreal

Karun Chandhok is passed by Button at Montreal

Ferrari covered the most ground in pre-season testing in 2010, racking up 7,353km.

But HRT’s Dallara-designed F110 hadn’t even turned a wheel when they arrived at Bahrain for the first race of the season.

It took until the Canadian Grand Prix – round eight – for them to cover the same distance at race weekends Ferrari had in testing. With that sort of disadvantage, it’s remarkable the team ended the year in anywhere other than last place.

But despite little development on a chassis that was typically a second behind the next slowest car, a chronic shortage of funds and a revolving door driver policy, HRT managed to finish ahead of Virgin in the constructors’ championship.

HRT team stats 2010

Best race result (number) 14th (3)
Best grid position (number) 18th (1)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other) 13 (9/4)
Laps completed (% of total) 1659 (73.47%)
Laps led (% of total) 0 (0%)
Championship position (2009) 11th (n/a)
Championship points (2009*) 0 (n/a)
*using 2010 system

The car that was originally expected to be called a Campos Meta was revealed to the world just eight days before first practice in Bahrain.

While Bruno Senna managed a handful of laps on that first day, team mate Karun Chandhok’s car was still being finished. His season didn’t begin until the start of qualifying on Saturday.

Despite their lack of preparation Chandhok saw the chequered flag in the next race at Melbourne. He may have been in last place but that 14th was decisive at the end of the season as it kept HRT ahead of fellow newcomers Virgin in the championship.

Progress was very slow at the team. Little in the way of upgrades arrived for the car. The most significant external change came when the team had to fit regular mirrors to replace the sidepod-mounted ones that were banned by the FIA.

Even at Monza the F110 turned out with the same aerodynamic package it had for the other races.

This was just one of many manifestations of the team’s shortage of funds. Then came the abrupt changes to the driver line-up.

Senna was dropped for Sakon Yamamoto on the eve of the British Grand Prix. The Brazilian returned in Chandhok’s place at the next round.

Yamamoto then disappeared at Singapore – allegedly due to ill-health – only to return for his home race. Christian Klien took Yamamoto’s place at Singapore and for the final two races of the year.

It smacked of rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic – the only way this car was ever going to finish in the top ten was if 13 other cars retired.

HRT split from Dallara in May and just last week Toyota Motorsport announced they would no longer be offering support to the team, leaving doubt over how they might develop and build a car for next season.

On the up-side, the team announced a technical tie-up with Williams to use their gearboxes and hired ex-Telefonica executive Juan Villalonga to bring some badly-needed sponsorship to the team.

But with none of their four regular drivers appearing in post-season testing for the team it’s anyone’s guess whether they’ll be back on the grid in 2011.

HRT’s 2010 season in pictures

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

Images ?? Motioncompany, Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo

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22 comments on HRT spend the year bringing up the rear

  1. Hamish said on 26th November 2010, 8:31

    Keith great work on the 2010 to 2009 points conversion. That must of been tricky…

  2. ajokay said on 26th November 2010, 8:55

    With the new on-boardness of Juan Villalonga and his Telefonica ties, I’m very much hoping for a livery next year that smacks of 2000′s Minardi M02. But it probably won’t.

  3. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 26th November 2010, 9:00

    Few updates might have a silver lining for HRT. They can spend their race weekends with a familiar base instead of having to spend half of it working out how new stuff works. Then every so often they can bring a major upgrade. Let’s just hope they can build a car and make those upgrades.

  4. This actually brings the FIA selection process for the new Teams very much into question. HRT along with US F1 were the teams that passed the main FIA selection process, Lotus on the other hand were initialy rejected, the main reason aparently being funding…..

    I still can’t see why any team can’t enter F1, particularly with the 107% rule in place. Then the good ones will succeed and the bad ones fail. I can’t but help think that most of the sponsors and pay drivers for HRT this year would have put their money into a different team if they had had the choice

    • Butler258 said on 26th November 2010, 10:59

      I always got the impression that the FIA picked HRT in the initial applications because they where one of the few teams to apply that weren’t in the UK and the FIA wanted to expand the area cars were developed with a large majority already being based in the Uk.

      I did say in in March/Bahrain weekend that i doubt HRT would make it to Germany, they proved me wrong, but i know nothing.

      • I get the feeling that it was politics as much as anything else that determined who got picked.

        • bosyber said on 29th November 2010, 11:45

          Quite clearly – after all, Mosley was still in charge at the time and he was fighting, once again, with the established teams/FOTA. The new teams coming in were all meant to support him instead of FOTA.

  5. JCCJCC said on 26th November 2010, 10:58

    HRT was a team bad prepared.
    Adrian Campos had a plan, hiring Senna and get some publicity and sponsors, then outsorce the design of the chassis to a company with experience – Dallara. What went wrong? Senna doesn’t atract enough sponsors to cover all the costs and money became short.

    Kolles came to save the team with Calabrante’s money, and if we take in consideration the problems that the team had, his laptime’s weren’t so bad…

  6. CarlitosF1 said on 26th November 2010, 11:56

    Say what you will, and bash what you will, it’s undeniable taht the aftertaste is:

    Proper classic backmarkers.

    9/10 for me, and I’m denying them a point only because Yamamoto wasn’t run over by a safety car…

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 26th November 2010, 13:20

    I really hope they’re about in 2011.

  8. These photos are new!

  9. BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th November 2010, 15:53

    Nice picture gallery. It really shows what the team was about. I suppose this is the only car pictured correctly in the F2010 game for the whole year, only the colours changed a little bit (the stripe went more red).

    • bosyber said on 29th November 2010, 11:47

      LOL, that is a good point – but sad, as the redder stripe, and the slightly darker paint, made the car look a lot better!

  10. HRT was one of the worst prepared teams to enter F1 in many years, but still, they did better than some, Andrea Moda, Lola, just to name some. AND, the beated Virgin in the constructors! So VIRGIN is the dog of the field if you ask me, I think more were excected of them, and bransons mony, but he doesn’t seem to be to keen on wasting to much his own money on the project.. AND, the sould have been better prepered tan say Lotus, the got the green light before them, but the fueltank-issue just goes to show how little quality engineering were put into designing that car..

    • bosyber said on 29th November 2010, 11:50

      In a way they actually were hampered by the early start – Virgin/Wirth started designing before they decided on the engine and turned out to have been too optimistic with fuel consumption of the Cosworth engine.

      By the time they had it figured out, the car was already built. And then they had that fuel-pickup problem to make it really work out badly.

      But if they had been a bit late, they might have been more conservative with the fuel tank and not had the problem.

  11. dyslexicbunny said on 27th November 2010, 0:35

    I think it’s funny that the one driver they “dropped” got them their best result and allowed them to actually beat Virgin.

    I look forward to see what they do next year. They have data for all the circuits on essentially the same car. Now they just have to come up with a way to use all that information.

  12. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 27th November 2010, 1:53

    For me Senna & Kilen will be good pairing.

  13. Herman A said on 1st December 2010, 9:21

    Nice job on the rhyming title!

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