HRT confirm Liuzzi as Karthikeyan’s team mate

2011 F1 season

Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT, Barcelona, 2011

Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT, Barcelona, 2011

HRT have confirmed Vitantonio Liuzzi will drive for them in 2011.

The former Force India driver will partner Narain Karthikeyan at the team.

Liuzzi said: “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 Jos?? Ramon Carabante and to Colin Kolles for giving me such an opportunity.”

Team principal Colin Kolles said Liuzzi “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.??

HRT also confirmed they will present their 2011 F1 car and drivers on Friday at the Circuit de Catalunya.

View the full and complete list of 2011 F1 drivers and teams.

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138 comments on HRT confirm Liuzzi as Karthikeyan’s team mate

  1. SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 9th March 2011, 13:06

    :O

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th March 2011, 13:10

      Who would you prefer in the seat, then?

      • SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 9th March 2011, 13:22

        Klien.

        • Adam said on 9th March 2011, 16:14

          Liuzzi is hungrier than Klien so he’s the better choice. Neither ever were that great and the best days of both are behind them. Also HRT isn’t going to be in the hunt for ANY podiums this year, so even if you believe Klien is a better driver, it just doesn’t matter since the car will still be horrid.

          Klien only wants the HRT drive because he sees it as his absolute last chance to drive in F1 and he doesn’t want to give that up. Liuzzi thinks he still has a future in F1, and thinks he can get back to a better team, so he’ll be fighting harder to regain what he had just last season. I’m sure he thought he could get a drive with another team for this season, yet here he is taking the last seat available, for the worst team, and having to wait until the day before the final testing to get it. All of these things will will make him much more motivated than Klien, and thus the better choice. Klien just wants wants to cling to being a race driver a bit longer, while Liuzzi still has something to prove and is (at least in his mind) fighting for his future.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th March 2011, 21:30

          Klien.

          Liuzzi has more recet racing experience than Klien. In 2010, Klien did three races for the team. Liuzzi did twenty. And it’s not like Klien was a test driver, either – he hadn’t tested since 2008, when he did one Friday session at Silverstone for Honda.

          Put short, if Hispania wanted to be taken seriously, then they needed Liuzzi.

          • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 9th March 2011, 22:54

            I agree. He may not be the greatest of all time, but he does seem like the best option out of all they had.

          • Daffid said on 10th March 2011, 1:14

            If they wanted to be taken seriously they shouldn’t have signed Karthikeyan. Serioulsy, Klein, Liuzzi… not much to choose between, neither is in anyway going to change perceptions of HRT. Liuzzi has more experience, and has had plenty of opportunity to prove himself, and shown very little. Klein hasn’t shown much, maybe he’s a better driver now, maybe not. Either way, the idea that Liuzzi brings something significant that Klein doesn’t is laughable.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 10th March 2011, 1:33

            Irrelevant.

            Klien jumped into the car and made it go faster. Liuzzi spent most of the year making it go slower. If anything this undermines HRT’s image.

          • Mike said on 10th March 2011, 8:13

            If they wanted to be taken seriously

            I think this signing is the exact opposite of that, it makes perfect sense for a team with limited finances to use one seat to bolster their budget. And Liuzzi, may not be a Sutil, but he isn’t completely rubbish. And for HRT that is a miracle.

      • Shimks said on 9th March 2011, 14:01

        It’s an HRT, not a Seat!

        :p

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 9th March 2011, 14:00

      :D
      Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!

      • Solo (@solo) said on 9th March 2011, 14:46

        I expect many articles of support for HRT from Joe Saward. :D

        • sato113 (@sato113) said on 9th March 2011, 15:40

          apparently Joe Saward is having the best day of his life, according to sources close to the team…

          • Patrickl said on 9th March 2011, 19:04

            Who wouldn’t if you idol lands a top drive in an HRT. Who will possibly have a car come friday. A chance like that is a one in a million …

          • If you were expecting one of your favourite drivers to have nothing, getting the worst (racing) seat in the house suddenly becomes an absolute thrill. Even more so if said driver does something with it. If Joe’s feelings are anything like mine where when Fisi went to Force India, he’ll be jumping for joy right now :)

      • matt88 (@matt88) said on 9th March 2011, 16:33

        Yeah! Go Tonio! :D

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th March 2011, 13:08

    Good choice I think, but Liuzzi will have his hands full to show where they can find some speed.
    He might even make it to a full season drive if he’s lucky or very good.

    • DVC (@dvc) said on 9th March 2011, 13:17

      How can you say that, when we haven’t seen their car yet?

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 9th March 2011, 14:04

        It seems very unlikely they now suddenly have a front-of-grid speed car. And if they do, they somehow made a big jump, doing things they have little experience in doing; like taking care of very tight heat and packaging restrictions to get good aero performance, and much improved suspension. If so, changes are high they will have lost a lot of reliability.

        In both cases that means a lot of work. If Joe Saward is right about how good Liuzzi is at developing the car and working on setup, this team seems to be the one to appreciate it, as it is a relatively cheap way of gaining laptime.

        Unless they find a goldmine-driver, of course.

        • RaulZ said on 9th March 2011, 21:42

          Joe Saward is right about how good Liuzzi is at developing the car and …

          Drivers don’t develop cars, the engineers do it. He can be fast and show what the car needs but the team is who has to develop it. I think they already have good people who knows how to make a good car.

        • DVC (@dvc) said on 10th March 2011, 0:38

          Yeah, I know it’s unlikely but my point stands, we just don’t know yet. They have had longer than anyone else to work on the design of their car. In the past Ferrari would only introduce their new car after the 3 flyaway races, so that by mid-season the advantage of all that extra design time would be showing on track.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th March 2011, 14:49

        Wouldn’t that make it even more hands full of work to do? Even if it meant pushing a cart around?

  3. Dont like/rate him but atleast common sense has prevailed.

  4. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 9th March 2011, 13:16

    I do rate Liuzzi. Not as highly as I did before 2010 admittedly, but he is a far superior driver than Karthikeyan and will be a valuable asset to HRT.

    The only problem is that I can’t see how this will enhance his career at all. Right now, I can’t see how any driver could increase their profile driving for a backmarking team. Then again, I suppose it keeps him race sharp.

    What I do hope though is that the same driver lineup is maintained throughout the season

    • OEL said on 9th March 2011, 13:29

      “Right now, I can’t see how any driver could increase their profile driving for a backmarking team.”

      Only a brilliant drive in the wet, beating some of the established teams, would be seen by most people. And consistently outpacing his teammate, but that shouldn’t be too difficult for Liuzzi.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 9th March 2011, 14:03

      The only problem is that I can’t see how this will enhance his career at all.

      I don’t think anyone else would have hired Liuzzi, so at least he kept a seat for a season and hopefully he can demonstrate himself as a good driver beating his teammate.

    • hoshi said on 9th March 2011, 15:36

      we will see ..i think narain has enough to prove many wrong..

      i am happy that HRT took liuzzi and rather than another pay driver.

      you see..i agree narain is a pay driver

      but he has got some talent too…

  5. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th March 2011, 13:19

    Liuzzi and Karthikeyan…at least there’ll be plenty of motivation to prove themselves!

  6. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 9th March 2011, 13:20

    As long as his position within the team is relatively secure, Liuzzi will bring decent experience and development capability to the team. He’s the right choice for them given the options available.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th March 2011, 14:24

      Surely in those areas Klien is the better choice? I mean, Senna is likely better than Liuzzi and Klien came straight in and beat him because of his experience, so why not him?

      • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 9th March 2011, 15:26

        I don’t rate Klien. At all.

        Unless your primary sponsor is an Austrian energy drinks corporation I don’t know why you’d want him in your team.

      • Eric said on 10th March 2011, 6:35

        Whether Senna is better than Liuzzi is a tough call. Senna’s abilities are still up the air. He didn’t have a consistent teammate last year. However on Klien’s performances last year I would have picked him if the sponsorship money was even remotely close between him and Liuzzi. Liuzzi really underwhelms me, some people aren’t made for F1 and despite a great junior career I think Liuzzi is one of those.

  7. SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 9th March 2011, 13:21

    Joe Seward is dancing round his kitchen right now.

    Lets see if they can get the car on track and running

  8. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 9th March 2011, 13:25

    Woohooo! Life from HRT! First an update on Facebook and now they are confirming their second driver!

    Seriously though, I think this is a good move, an experienceed driver who knows what a half decent car should feel like, so he should help push HRT in the right direction. Really looking forward to seeing the F111 on Friday.

  9. RIISE (@riise) said on 9th March 2011, 13:28

    HRT are so stupid.

    • Meander said on 9th March 2011, 13:34

      Sharp, to the point. Bit lacking in solid arguments there, but still, a good read.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 9th March 2011, 13:37

      What better options do they have? Klien is questionable.. I think Liuzzi will atleast bring some experience to the team. After making a stupid decision to hire Karthikeyan, this decision seems a whole lot better.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 9th March 2011, 13:40

      I’m desperately trying to reserve judgment until I see the thing on track under competitive conditions.

      • snowman said on 9th March 2011, 14:04

        Last year when I seen HRT had hired two rookies in their first year in F1 I thought they were so stupid too and nothing much they have done since then has changed my mind.

        • RaulZ said on 9th March 2011, 21:50

          I think you’re been hard. If they didn’t have money and they couldn’t develop the car… why did they need a experienced driver? why stay with the drivers instead of looking for money or a new Vettel? They just had to stay at formula 1 waiting for the money this year they have, which is not enough.

  10. The New Hope said on 9th March 2011, 13:28

    I like Tonio, and though I think that HRT will stink it up this year, I wish him well.

  11. Toro Stevo said on 9th March 2011, 13:30

    I don’t get it, what has he got that he hasn’t shown already? Better than their Narain sure, but so is just about everybody else on the grid.

    Does he bring a lot of capital? I’m just at a loss really, I couldn’t understand how he got his drive last year, but this year makes even less sense than that.

  12. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 9th March 2011, 13:30

    *Insert Joe Saward joke here* :P

  13. Ben N said on 9th March 2011, 13:33

    A good choice – and one that makes this years line-up look far better than 2010’s.

    It does raise a few issues however; they sugar-coated Chandhok’s departure well, but it was obviously finance related. They can’t make such driver changes with unspecified reason this year. Presumably, if they were in need of cash then they’d drop Liuzzi, who will almost certainly outperform Karthikeyan, making it obvious why they have made the change.

    This is also bad news for Karthikeyan, who could be very embarrassed to be lapped by his team-mate race after race…

    • Meander said on 9th March 2011, 13:36

      Karthikeyan is not THAT horrible. Especially not compared to Liuzzi. Anyway, we’ll see won’t we?

      • Ben N said on 9th March 2011, 13:38

        Maybe I was a little bit harsh! I think I’d say he’s better than Yamamoto, but I was exaggerating to stress my point!

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 9th March 2011, 13:39

        I think its very possible for Karthikeyan to get lapped by Liuzzi. But I guess you’re right.. we will just have to wait and see

        • zecks said on 9th March 2011, 14:01

          It will be hard to get lapped by your team mate if both cars DNQ. But seriously, if we didn’t have mobile chicanes, F1 would be pretty boring. HRT etc make the good cars look as fast as the are, and also throw that bit of chance into the latter stages of the race when everyone is struggling with tires (canada)

      • The Last Pope said on 10th March 2011, 0:53

        Have you seen the way Karthikeyan drives? He is crazy agressive with the stearing wheel even on straights, which is why he has a habit of flying of the track in high speed spins. He will have massive problems keeping his tyres. Liuzzi will probably need half as many pitstops in the race and thus will easily lap him.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th March 2011, 6:59

          But it does make for a bit of fun in the field! Just hope he does not end up crashing into Liuzzi, what with Tonios luck lately.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 9th March 2011, 14:13

      This is also bad news for Karthikeyan, who could be very embarrassed to be lapped by his team-mate race after race…

      I’m confident in my dear Tonio, but I’m afraid that might not happen although I wish so.

      • Solo (@solo) said on 9th March 2011, 14:54

        Nobody thinks what will happen to Tonio if Karthikeyan starts beating him?
        I will be laughing my ass off because i don’t think the Indian guy is as bad as you people think.

  14. silencer said on 9th March 2011, 13:36

    okay… now waiting for the car..

    hopefully the car will be unveil this friday and they’ll not postpone it further till Aussie GP

    • RaulZ said on 9th March 2011, 22:12

      they just don’t wan’t all the teams copying their ideas. :)

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th March 2011, 7:00

        I suppose that’s it. Great confidence of the team, bringing it only to the last test. Must be another Brawn GP level car!

        I do suppose they used the time to bring some extra nifty bits to the car.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th March 2011, 7:03

          I was just thinking back to the gearbox/rear end.

          Did they ever confirm, exactly what gearbox and rear end they will get? The 2009 Williams was still running a Toyota, so that would not work (clutch was in the engine, instead of in the gearbox).
          It would be the 2010 one, only that was optimized for the DDD. Will that work this year? Hm, lets wait and see.

  15. Kenny (@kenny) said on 9th March 2011, 13:36

    HRT’s first and biggest problem, whoever is driving, will be getting onto the grid. The 107% rule could kill them.

    • snowman said on 9th March 2011, 13:51

      Agree, this has got the makings of a very big problem for them. Luizzi ain’t great but it’s a better decision than most they have made.

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 9th March 2011, 14:27

      On that point, Tonio wasn’t exactly the best qualifier last season was he…

    • Don Mateo said on 9th March 2011, 17:20

      I’ll reserve judgement until I see the car, you never know, it could be surprisingly good. Then again they’ll be arriving at the first race with hardly any testing, so they’ll once again be at a disadvantage from the start.

    • Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 9th March 2011, 18:55

      A string of DNQs on someone’s career sheet never helps too much. Could be a poisoned chalice for Liuzzi.

      I can almost hear the wailing from Joe now…

    • Andy C said on 9th March 2011, 23:03

      I dont think it will be, but we’ll see wont we ;-)

  16. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 9th March 2011, 13:38

    Joking aside, at least this year they have drivers with experience, albeit only one with recent experience. Looking forward to seeing the car on track and of course seeing how much traffic they create in Melbourne…if any.

  17. Woffin said on 9th March 2011, 13:40

    Should have been Klien. Unless Liuzzi is bringing some sponsors with him then this doesn’t really make sense because the guy has had plenty of chances to prove himself and nothing much has ever come of them.

  18. The real winner today is Joe Saward.

    Congrats to Liuzzi though. Last year he had a bit of a nightmare but he was quite good in 09 and didn’t like the tyres last year so hopefully he can perform better (obviously it’s unlikely he’ll match his results though). He could be good for HRT as he’s been around the block so knows how a team should workn and how to set a car up and his speed isn’t too bad even if he isn’t of the highest quality. He’s the best option they had really and they’re the only option he had so good luck to them.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 9th March 2011, 13:55

      The real winner today is Joe Saward.

      LOL. That really cracked me up.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 9th March 2011, 14:21

      This news saved my day!

    • Toro Stevo said on 9th March 2011, 14:45

      Didn’t like the tyres? Blaming changes in specs for not coming to grips with changes might work initially, but a good driver adapts quickly, and he had all year (and more of the previous) and didn’t really improve.

      Still, better than klien and dela sure, but I’m sure they could have found someone else better in the lower series. I just don’t know who, lean pickings. I would have said Grosjean but he hardly set the world on fire in F1 either.

    • PatrickL said on 9th March 2011, 15:01

      The fact that people joke about saward really shows how his silly Liuzzi bias has undermined his credibility. I wouldn’t call that a winner.

      • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 9th March 2011, 15:38

        The allegations are overblown I think. He has said that he believes Liuzzi is more talented than his F1 results show (which isn’t, I believe, an uncommon opinion among F1 “insiders”).

        Then he made that slightly strange blog post about a lack of “morality” in F1 after Liuzzi was turfed out of Force India (though he thinks that McLaren did nothing wrong during Spygate; go figure).

        But quite how all this has morphed into the perception that Joe is a slavering Liuzzi-worshipper, I’m not sure. My own suspicion is that some people were so eager to see di Resta get the Force India drive that they were immediately hostile to anyone suggesting that might not be the case.

        • I don’t think Saward is that abd just there’s this opinion that he loves Liuzzi and he certainly backs him more readily than many other bloggers and journalists.

          Happy for you Fixy. :)

          Didn’t like the tyres? Blaming changes in specs for not coming to grips with changes might work initially, but a good driver adapts quickly, and he had all year (and more of the previous) and didn’t really improve.

          That is absolutely true but drivers such as Button, Massa and Schumacher had complaints about the Bridgestone tyres so all I’m trying to point out is he could be better this year. I don’t really buy tyre excuses either as a driver should make the best of what they’ve got but Liuzzi could benefit from the switch to Pirelli’s.

        • Patrickl said on 9th March 2011, 19:26

          He only reports the “clutching at straws” positive news/rumours that he can find/make up.

          He keeps harping about how Liuzzi was “mentioned” in connection to Renault (when he really wasn’t even mentioned at all) and then dismisses the fact that he just got kicked out of a team … again.

          Why ignore the opinions of those two real “insiders” and keep whining about some debunked rumour?

          He hails Alonso’s opinion on Liuzzi when Alonso said the exact same thing to endorse Piquet jr. Now there’s a reference you want on your side.

          It’s clear that he’s a friend of Liuzzi and it shows. It results in an incredible one sided report. That’s just poor journalism.

          He also obviously deletes just about all replies that contradict his opinion fom his blog.

  19. Meander said on 9th March 2011, 13:49

    A little bit off topic here, but still kinda relevant:

    The times that top teams would draft their F3000 (etc.) champion test-drivers into small teams to get used to F1 for a year or two seem to be over. If you discount the Toro Rosso program, that is.

    I remember Renault/Briatore sticking Alonso (and later Webber) in at Minardi and I think it was McLaren who posted their young star Heidfeld at Prost, even though they subsequently never reeled him in.

    I wonder if none of the the top teams could have paid HRT a bit to warm up their youngsters. Ferrari and Renault seem to have quite a batch. Red Bull could have had Ricciardo drive and have 3 students at work at the same time. Any chance this practice will return? Personally I really liked the drivers working their way up the ranks over the years.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 9th March 2011, 14:03

      I do not know if the damage done to a young driver while driving for HRT is repairable. In all seriousness, it is quite a good idea, but it would require one of the top teams to pay quite a bit of money to get a young talent a drive, and I do not know if they would be willing to bear that cost.

    • Burnout said on 9th March 2011, 14:13

      Yeah, I’m surprised something like that didn’t happen. HRT would get some much needed cash and the established teams can “buy” some experience for their future prospects. Everybody wins.

      But right now it looks like none of the bigger teams are willing to go near Virgin or HRT (barring Williams). Is there some deep-seated mistrust towards the new teams?

      • Virgin’s new driver, Jerome d’Ambrosio, was a Renault junior driver last year, so it’s possible Renault might take him back after he’s developed a bit.

        As for the other big teams, Ferrari’s got an Academy driver (Sergio Perez) at Sauber, Mercedes has Paul di Resta at Force India, McLaren prefers to go its own way, Renault has the aforementioned Jerome at Virgin and Red Bull (as mentioned by Meander) uses Toro Rosso. Apart from Red Bull, all the other options in use are probably cheaper than a full season at Hispania.

        After that you’re into the teams that either receive drivers from higher-ranking teams or are Williams. Of these, Force India grows its own talent (usually), Williams and Renault tends to use one experienced driver (without expecting much from the paydriver except to pay bills on time and be competent), Toro Rosso links up to junior teams Red Bull has because that’s its main purpose and Lotus does its own thing as it finds its feet.

        So Hispania is not only a risky place to stow a young driver, it’s probably the more expensive option from the point of view of most teams.

        • Burnout said on 10th March 2011, 3:50

          That’s a pretty comprehensive list Alianora. Thanks. I didn’t realize Perez was from the Ferrari Academy.

        • Andy C said on 10th March 2011, 11:27

          “Ferrari’s got an Academy driver (Sergio Perez) at Sauber”

          Fancy that, don’t they have a ferrari engine? ;-)

          Now heavily discounted at a store near you :-)

  20. Jonathan said on 9th March 2011, 13:51

    I really don’t care – he will probably be replaced a few times before the end of the season, going by HRT last year… That’s if HRT even last that long!

    Sorry to be harsh to HRT, but they don’t fill me with confidence.

    • Patrickl said on 9th March 2011, 19:28

      In fact we have to wait if the will even start and if so, if they will be able to qualify within 107% and race.

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