Hard to see much progress for HRT in 2011

2011 F1 season preview


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. matty55 said on 14th March 2011, 18:19

    Best of luck to them. As long as they get some miles in the car in Australia they can hopefully start ironing out the bugs. Dallara got the blame for last years car being so slow so hopefully this car proves to be a bit better. Heres hoping they qualify!

  2. Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 14th March 2011, 19:05

    Something that the article you linked to has shown me, is we all keep banging on how bad HRT is but, they were more reliable and finished more racing laps in 2010 then both Virgin and Sauber. now sure Sauber made more of what they had, but it shows that the HRT wasn’t as bad as we keep saying it was.

    • TheGreatCornholio said on 15th March 2011, 1:56

      Nice to see at least one person looking at this from a slightly more positive point of view. ScarbsF1 points out that some reasonably well thought out ideas have been applied to the F111. Lots of the guys who slated Hispania for their lack of professionalism are right in that they are a bit “comedy” BUT, i would actually miss them as i get the feeling that in some form or another they’ll be with us for a few years. One HUGE bonus of their survival would be that it would immensely annoy Bernie and Luca Di Montezemelo! Lol

  3. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th March 2011, 21:36

    Looks like them propping up the back is the only guarantee of 2011. I’d like to think Virgin can distance themselves though, having almost 4km more testing there would be no excuse!

  4. schooner said on 14th March 2011, 22:02

    Arriving in Australia with a car that has zero test miles on it doesn’t bode well for HRT (ya think?). Applying the reinstated 107% rule, I’m pretty sure that neither of their similarly untested machines would have made the grid for the first race in Bahrain last year. I’ll be happily surprised if they make the grid in Melbourne.

    • schooner said on 14th March 2011, 22:49

      Just had another thought regarding the 107% rule. Last year at Monaco, Alonso wasn’t able to participate in qualifying at all due to his accident during practice, and had to start his race from the pit lane. Given the 107% thing, I have to wonder if there is a rule in place that would allow a car in a similar situation to start from the pit lane based on quick enough practice times, or they become a spectator.

    • vjanik said on 15th March 2011, 11:38

      im not so sure about that. and iven if it was true, the front runners will be slower this year due to the banning of the DD (in testing so far they are more than 1 second off the pace of last years testing) This means that HRT will probably be one of the only teams that will improve their pace. Hence they should be in a better position in regards to the 107% rule in 2011 pradoxicaly.

  5. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 14th March 2011, 23:29

    Should a car really be allowed to race unless it’s had a minimum amount of testing? Surely there are safety implications of putting a car that’s done literally no miles in the midst of what is a pretty extreme environment.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th March 2011, 23:37

      But look at the top teams – every car they put into every race will contain a certain number of parts that haven’t been run prior to that weekend. The safety implications of that are no different.

      The F111 will have passed the same impact tests as the other cars.

  6. DANK said on 15th March 2011, 1:01

    I fear that we will only see them in Fridays and Saturdays

  7. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 15th March 2011, 2:19

    The worst drivers combination this season with a team with no testing a recipe for disaster for other teams & drivers.

  8. James Williams said on 18th March 2011, 0:48

    Technically they’re in a worse shape than last year. Considering this time last year they had actually run the car.

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