Hard to see much progress for HRT in 2011

2011 F1 season preview

HRT

HRT F111, Barcelona, 2011
Car: F111
#22 Narain Karthikeyan
#23 Vitantonio Liuzzi
Form 2006-2010: n/a, n/a, n/a, n/a, 11
2010 points: 0

HRT head into their second F1 season in slightly more promising shape than they were in 12 months ago.

But given that they began their debut season with two rookie drivers and an untested car, that isn’t saying much.

The team have again failed to log any miles with their latest car heading into the new season. They did at least manage a few days’ testing with last year’s car.

Although the final day of testing was postponed to what was originally supposed to by Saturday qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, an inability to get all the necessary parts to the track kept HRT from running their F111 in Barcelona.

At first glance the F111 looks like a car with a lot of backing – look closer and many of the messages are actually designed to entice potential sponsors: “This could be you” and “This is a cool spot”.

One of few actual sponsors is Tata Group, the largest company in India, which explains the presence of Narain Karthikeyan in the team’s driver line-up.

Narian Karthikeyan, HRT, Barcelona, 2011

Narian Karthikeyan, HRT, Barcelona, 2011

The Indian driver is making a return to F1 after a five-year absence. His debut season for Jordan in 2005 ended with a huge shunt in the Chinese Grand Prix.

After that he was briefly employed by Williams as a test driver, and raced in Superleague Formula last year.

The team only confirmed the identity of Katrhikeyan’s team mate on Wednesday. Vitantonio Liuzzi comes to the team with 63 race starts to his name, making him by far the most experienced driver the team have had.

That experience will be valuable for a team who ended last season missing over one percent of lap time to the next slowest cars.

Given the team’s lack of pre-season testing last year it was remarkable that their better reliability than rivals Virgin allowed them to take 11th place in the constructors’ championship.

With a Williams-sourced gearbox they can expect improved performance and reliability this year. But rivals Virgin have already put over 3,700km on their new car.

For HRT, merely holding on to 11th in the championship would be an achievement for a team that seems likely to continue bringing up the rear in 2011.

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68 comments on Hard to see much progress for HRT in 2011

  1. Swanky F1 said on 14th March 2011, 14:49

    Ah, the moving roadblock that is HRT.
    After 2 seasons of not running any tests you’d think their financier would just say “* it”.

    • Steve said on 14th March 2011, 16:29

      You get what you pay for. Testing costs money, and so their financier needs to pay up if he expects that much from them.

  2. I believe cool spot is a brand of a soft drink in India?

  3. Todfod (@todfod) said on 14th March 2011, 14:56

    Well its kind of obvious that HRT have made no progress. Atleast last year they had a shot at competing with Virgin and Lotus, this year they are in a league of their own. They took one step forward and two step backwards, and I would be absolutely shocked if HRT come back for another season in 2012.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2011, 15:23

      I think their only shot at competing is:
      A. making the 107% of qualli, which should be doable with the only car on the grid having more downforce than last year
      B. finish races and hope Virgin or maybe Lotus or others don’t finish as often.

      Liuzzi might help them actually use the potential of the car and Narain is not too slow. On the other hand they would have to hope the fastest Indian will be less crash prone than in his Jordan stint and Liuzzi will be more lucky than he was last year.

    • RaulZ said on 15th March 2011, 11:16

      I think all of you talk without knowing. As they haven’t test the car we do not know how is the car. The car changed, used Williams technology, got the DRS, got Luizzi, they also have plans to evolve, they have a team with good people coming from other teams in F1, people that don’t need to be there pretending they have a car, but making it real…

      why have the car to be so slow as you say?

      Let’s see it in Australia.

  4. Andy C said on 14th March 2011, 15:04

    difficult to say whether you’re right or wrong as we havent seen the car run yet :-)

    For what its worth though, adding a williams gearbox and design led by Geoff willis has to be of some benefit.

    And in their two drivers, they have two solid experienced drivers.

    Funding appears to be by far the biggest challenge for them, as there was clear logic in the toyota tie up that failed.

    Here is to shake downs in free practice 1. Absolutely crazy isnt it.

    Being a natural sceptic, you do have to wonder whether they will survive the season.

  5. Pete said on 14th March 2011, 15:08

    Wouldn’t it be great if they’ve somehow stumbled upon brilliant design and do a Brawn? hahaha

    • Aetost (@aetost) said on 14th March 2011, 18:18

      While the thought is highly amusing, it’s also highly unlikely. Brawn spent millions of pounds and months of development aided by state-of-the-art facilities and armies of designers and engineers to create the BGP01. Willis had just a few weeks of time to use some spare change, found under Kolles’s sofa, equipment consisting of whatever he found in his car’s toolbox and a handful of freelance designers to try and bolt on an old Williams gearbox on the back of a half-finished Dallara chassis.
      We can hardly expect any miracles.
      In fact, their only hope is that Wirth created in the guise of MVR02 the spiritual successor to his old Andrea Moda F1 car design…

  6. Sush Meerkat said on 14th March 2011, 15:09

    Tonio Liuzzi is driving for them?, 2 things;
    Firstly, That boy has had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra.
    Secondly, Joe Saward will bang on about Tonio’s skill behind the wheel of a dog of a car.

    • RIISE (@riise) said on 14th March 2011, 15:20

      I tend to ignore whatever Joe Saward says since it’s mostly garbage.

      • I tend to ignore whatever Joe Saward says since it’s mostly garbage.

        Oh I undestand that. He is not like most of F1 journos who loves to suck Alonso and Ferrari balls just to increase his stats in his blog — or even to buy his independent and awsome F1 magazine.

  7. Eggry (@eggry) said on 14th March 2011, 15:16

    Your Logo! :D

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 14th March 2011, 18:04

      It’s one thing to have that on the renderings to try and show potential sponsors where their logo could go, it’s another thing entirely to actually paint it on the cars. Very embarrassing. I can’t imagine why Tata is willing to put their logo next to all of that. It wreaks of desperation, and certainly doesn’t reflect well on anyone involved.

  8. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 14th March 2011, 15:21

    The only thing I like about this car is the big numbers. Something F1 lacks…

    Appart from that, I don’t understand why they chose to employ the guy from Tron movie to do the livery yet they couldn’t get the dampers in time.

  9. the-muffin-man said on 14th March 2011, 15:22

    In my opinion I think Virgin are the ones to worry about this season. Their new car seems to be only slightly better that last years and certainly doesn’t look like it will get anywhere near the back of the mid-field runners never mind Lotus.

    And HRT managed to keep pace with Virgin last year with no development at all.

  10. Fixy (@fixy) said on 14th March 2011, 15:38

    Vitantonio Liuzzi comes to the team with 63 race starts to his name, making him by far the most experienced driver the team have had.

    That experience will be valuable for a team who ended last season missing over one percent of lap time to the next slowest cars.

    Yeah! Liuzzi is fundamental for once!

  11. verstappen said on 14th March 2011, 15:42

    I hope they survive and surprise us. For the longer term I think they need either serious money and involvement of the current owner, or a new owner. Otherwise I can’t see sponsors other then Tata getting involved with the team.

    • King Six said on 14th March 2011, 15:57

      It seems a strange move for Tata to give Karthikeyan so much backing to go to HRT, but I guess the inaugural Indian Grand Prix was a big factor in their decision to go ahead with this.

      • manB said on 15th March 2011, 6:30

        Tata may be eying on 2013 regulation changes. We may see Tata providing engine… that will certainly help HRT :)

  12. Shimks said on 14th March 2011, 15:54

    It beggars belief that they couldn’t make it for one test day. Such a shame. Fingers crossed, though; they did alright last year. Let’s hope they have the reliability to finish races, accumulate data and improve the car.

    I read somewhere (Autosport?) Kolles saying that the budget is in place and that isn’t a problem like it was last year.

    Keith, an honest interview with Kolles would be amazing. The behind-the-scenes story of what happened over the winter period up until now. Blimey, that would be a good read!

    My gut feeling is with the-muffin-man’s: Virgin are going to be worse than HRT again. It’s all that Branson Pickle smeared on the tyres.

    • DeadManWoking said on 14th March 2011, 16:07

      an honest interview with Kolles would be amazing

      Doubt whether that will happen anytime soon, I’m still waiting for one about USF1.
      Keith, did Windsor say anything to you about it when you were on his show?

      • Mike said on 14th March 2011, 18:02

        I think Keith has enough sensitivity not to touch that one.

        I also would like a honest interview from Ferrari or Red Bull.
        Just saying… It’s not like HRT are the only one to slightly alter the truth for their own benefit…

  13. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 14th March 2011, 16:43

    Well on paper it doesn’t look pretty. But hey, we don’t know how fast the car is on design alone yet. Looks niftier than last year, we’ll have to see.

  14. box this lap (@sebashuis) said on 14th March 2011, 16:57

    HRT always keep me thinking “how did it happen?”

    I mean, were the dampers really hold up by the customs? Was Yamamota really food poisoned in 2010?, changing drivers almost every race, the new livery, is’t just a big joke.

    however, HRT finished 11th in the championship, again: how did it happen?=P

  15. topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 14th March 2011, 17:42

    Hey, I’ve had a great idea. HRT are sponsored by TATA, who own Jaguar-LandRover. Would be great to see a Jaguar back in F1 again… come on Ratan Tata, make it happen.

    Preferably in the “Silk Cut” colours, now everyone’s going back to ‘retro-inspired’ liveries…!

    • speed046 (@speed046) said on 14th March 2011, 18:19

      I hope TATA does not do take over hrt ,this team does not have it own facility no design office,people working from different places have designed this years car,cars are assembled at kolles work shop in Germany they have most off people associated are from kolles Dtm and Le-Mans.
      Only thing that any body will gain from take over of this is racing license
      Jaguar involvement with team running last will damage it brand.

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