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.

Image ?? Motioncompany

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 :-)

  5. 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.

  6. Eggry (@eggry) said on 9th March 2011, 14:30

    Well, Good news for Liuzzi, (relatively) Good news for HRT, but bad news for fans.

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 10th March 2011, 5:51


      At last we know that they will launch their car on Friday & now we know that they have a 2nd driver. It’s good news at least the fans knows that there will be 12 teams & 24 drivers on the grid of 2011.

  7. MattHT (@mattht) said on 9th March 2011, 14:34

    I’m not a huge fan but he’ll suit that sort of outfit i reckon. Does seem a bit wasteful by HRT in terms of not blooding new talent, but good in terms of team development.

  8. slr said on 9th March 2011, 14:40

    I’m happy for Liuzzi. I think 2011 will show us just how good or bad Liuzzi is. I don’t believe Liuzzi just all of a sudden turned rubbish in 2010. Before then, he was doing a solid job for Force India in 2009, and Toro Rosso in 2006 and late 2007. I think we will finally see what Liuzzi is truly made of this year.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 9th March 2011, 14:51

      HRT is barely going to give him an opportunity to ‘show what he is made of’. At the most he will beat Karthikeyan in every race.. but then again so would De la Rosa, Klien, Chandhok, Grosjean and I hate to say it even Nelson Piquet Jr.

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

        If he can occassionally challenge Virgin and Lotus, then I think that will be a great effort from Tonio.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 9th March 2011, 16:06

          Last year Virgin, Lotus and HRT were pretty much in the same league, as it was their debut year. It seems like Virgin and Lotus have made quite a bit of progress as compared to HRT, and I cant see Tonio battling with anyone other than his teammate, and occasionally D’Ambrosio

    • Patrickl said on 9th March 2011, 19:46

      What “solid” job did Liuzzi do in 2009? Sutil got the car in Q3 for most races while Liuzzi didn’t even manage to get out of Q1!

      They kept him on hoping that he would improve for 2010, but … well …

      Franz Tost publicly lamented how poorly his drivers were doing. I doubt he thought that Liuzzi was doing a solid job at Torro Rosso.

      I really doubt we will see what liuzzi is truly made off this year. That would depend on HRT making a “solid” car. Who can truly say that they have a good feel for the qualities of Senna or Chandhok from their HRT drives in 2010? More often than not they were simply nursing a broken car to the finish line.

  9. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 9th March 2011, 14:49

    Loads of peopple in the know reckon Liuzzi is a monster of a driver, but that F1 cars have too much downforce for his driving style and he can’t show it.

    Now that he’s going to be driving a car with no downforce we’ll see what all the fuss is about ;)

  10. Kevin said on 9th March 2011, 15:05

    Liuzzi’s career is pretty much over now

  11. vjanik said on 9th March 2011, 15:13

    the last test session was moved from Bahrain to Spain and postponed a few days, and still HRT have not turned a wheel. just shows how much they are struggling.

    i would be surprised if we even see them in testing at all.

    HRT are a non-team. even if they race the whole season it is a dead end for any driver. Liuzzi’s retirement is long overdue and he will take whatever he is offered at this point. he might have to move over later in the season for a paying driver. HRT are obviously not aiming to succeed in F1 or use his experience to develop the car. their aim seems to be just survival at this point. a few tenths of pace on the track is not what they are looking for.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th March 2011, 7:07

      They would have used the extra time to get a few more nice parts ready, just like all the others.

      Their success currently is making it on track and getting through the year.

  12. King Six said on 9th March 2011, 15:21

    I think Keith (Collaintine, the guy who runs this website) should do an article debunking the seemingly common opinion that Karthikeyan was the worst driver ever to step foot in an F1 car. He beat his team mate Monteiro in Qualifying over the season. Obviously there are people out there who deserve to be in F1 but aren’t, but that doesn’t mean that people like Karthikeyan or Liuzzi are unworthy of the sport either.

    • The Last Pope said on 10th March 2011, 1:56

      I’d take Monteiro over Karthikeyan any day. Karthikeyan might have been faster than him over one lap, but he was brutal on the car often causing it to break, and if it didn’t break he would he would mess up his race by spinning it off. Mean while Montiero slow and steady picks up the places of those who have problems and finishes every race bar one and even gets a well earned point at spa. Karthikeyan is the one who should be driving touring cars not Montiero. I just hope now 6 years on he has lost some of his recklessness that has the potential to cause a nasty accident.

      • montreal95 said on 10th March 2011, 10:26

        And I’d take a feisty, more talented driver like Karthikeyan over a slow driver like Monteiro any day. In some qualy sessions Narain was 2 seconds faster than Monteiro. TWO seconds=a lifetime in modern F1. In the races Monteiro just trundled around at the back,and only picked up places as you rightly say when others had problems.
        About Karthikeyan’s being a car breaker, you can’t know this, unless you are an insider of the team. Some people said the same about Raikkonen when he was in Mclaren, only somehow there were no signs of it in Sauber or Ferrari. Why is that?
        Karthikeyan did spun off a few times, but it was only because he had to drive that piece of junk on the limit all the time in order to get performance out of it. Monteiro never even got close to the limits.IMO it’s because he doesn’t know how.

        IMO Monteiro was one of the worst F1 drivers ever. It’s really hard to find a lesser talent after the end of the pay-driver era in mid nineties. I can think only about Yoong, Marques, Mazzacane, Ide, Yamamoto and Friesacher. Maybe there are a few other forgotten bad drivers, but anyway he’s in a bad company

  13. Shimks said on 9th March 2011, 15:46

    What are people’s thoughts on Geoff Willis? I would have thought he was a pretty solid resource for HRT going forward?

  14. David A said on 9th March 2011, 17:06

    Although it’s the worst seat on the grid, I guess Liuzzi can start by attempting to rebuild his reputation by convincingly beating Karthikeyan. If he gets lucky, he can get another midfield seat in the future.

  15. Faraz said on 9th March 2011, 18:25

    For some reason when a Japanese or Indian driver comes on the F1 grid everyone always seem to write them off Karun??
    Did a decent job. Kobayashi? Suzuka? Silverstone? Valencia? need I say more??

    • The Last Pope said on 10th March 2011, 2:19

      Thats not true. Nobody wrote off Kobayashi dispite the resent poor quality of Japanese drivers (Takagi, Nakano, Ide, Yakamoto, Nakajima). Every one was positive on him after his race for Toyota.

      Everyone was also positive on Karthikeyan in 2005 at the season begining, especialy after he qualified very well at his 1st race. Only after it was discovered that he sucked in the actual races did he start to be writen off.

      Likewise everyone has very positive about Chandok and apreciated the difficult job he had with no testing at all.

      People are judging on performace. There is no racism going on here.

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