Thesan Capital takes control of HRT F1 team

2011 F1 season

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Valencia, 2011

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Valencia, 2011

HRT has been taken over by Madrid-based investment company Thesan Capital.

The team confirmed Thesan has bought a majority shareholding Grupo Inversor Hispania, owner of the Spanish team, from Jose Ramon Carabante.

Thesan, which was formed in 2008, said it will continue running the team in a statement released today:

“The Spanish investment group will lead the development of Hispania Racing in the upcoming years, maintaining the current team and directors, which is one of the main assets of the company, and will try to develop and search for opportunities to optimize and improve the performance of the team in the upcoming seasons, alongside progressively making the team more Spanish and definitively settling the team in Spain.”

The team was originally set up by Adrian Campos with a view to entering F1 in 2010. But it was bought by Carabante’s Grupo Hispania and re-named before the start of the season.

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70 comments on Thesan Capital takes control of HRT F1 team

  1. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 4th July 2011, 12:53

    BREAKING: Spanish businessman buys F1 team using Euros found behind sofa.

  2. GQsm said on 4th July 2011, 12:53

    Wasn’t expecting that. So much for Jose making his son team principle.

  3. So they’ve had 3 different owners in the past 18 months now? 3rd time lucky, maybe.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th July 2011, 12:58

    It doesn’t change too much.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th July 2011, 21:15

      Only if they really want to take the team base to Spain (where on earth do they get the funds for a completely new factory from? Or work with Epsilon Euskadi after all, now that it is not Carabante insisting on Murcia?) it will change quite a bit.

      But they still have to find the money to pay Kolles before even considering that, I guess. Maybe that crazy Spanish Red Bull idea is not completely Bull S@#t after all?

  5. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 4th July 2011, 12:58

    So I suppose this means Epsilon might get involved too?

    Regardless, hopefully this will mean the end of the ridiculous ‘this could be you’ stickers

    • Huron (@huron) said on 4th July 2011, 13:03

      I always thought those stickers were meant as a message to the drivers that had to lap HRT.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th July 2011, 13:05

      So I suppose this means Epsilon might get involved too?

      Is there a connection between Epsilon and Thesan besides both having Greek-sounding names and being Spanish? If not, what makes you think Epsilon Euskadi will get involved?

      • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 4th July 2011, 13:10

        The statement that the team will become more Spanish.

        I assume that this either means:

        1) They’ll get a new factory in Spain [high start up costs, less likely for an investment company who will want out in 3-6 years]

        2) They’ll link up with an existing Spanish operation – Epsilon being the most logical – and perhaps be bought out by them as part of the investment strategy.

        Both are pure speculation of course, and indeed the statement could be investment speak waffle (i.e. nothing will change). But if its true, and it signals the group’s intentions, then that is a relatively logical prediction. Which of course, you’re free to disagree with.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th July 2011, 13:39

          2) They’ll link up with an existing Spanish operation – Epsilon being the most logical – and perhaps be bought out by them as part of the investment strategy.

          I’d actually argue that Alejandro Agag and his Addax Team are more logical. Addax runs in GP2 GP3, which are held parallel to Formula 1, and is based in Valencia with one of the sport’s favourite testing circuits (Ricardo Tormo) as its base. As for Agag, he has connections to Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore. Agag also has a relationship through his wife to Jose Maria Aznar, the former Spanish Prime Minister, who is also on the board of directors for News Coorporation. In Agag, they get sporting, business, political and media connections – and Agag purchased Addax from Adrian Campos, who was the original owner of Hispania’s racing licence. Never mind how mismanaged that licence was, the point is that there is some cross-over between the teams. A relationship with Agag and Addax would give Thesan/Hispania a direct link to upcoming talent in GP2 and GP3.

          Epsilon – which is now known as EPIC Racing – is a team in steady decline in the WSR. They haven’t had any real success since Robert Kubica won the title back in 2005. They’ve had two applications to the Formula 1 grid, both of which have been rejected because the FIA felt they were not up to the task of competing.

          • Lustigson (@lustigson) said on 4th July 2011, 13:53

            That makes a lot of sense.

          • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 4th July 2011, 14:17

            I see what you’re saying – but I chose Epsilon precisely because they have shown themselves to be willing to enter F1 before.

            Regardless of who is chosen, it’ll have to be soon I would have thought for the investment strategy to work.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th July 2011, 14:23

            Regardless of who is chosen, it’ll have to be soon I would have thought for the investment strategy to work.

            Well, Thesan have only owned the controlling stake for less than twenty-four hours …

          • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 4th July 2011, 14:51

            Indeed it has, however, I highly doubt that they would have bought the team without a management investment strategy in place which will have all these details. Just depends when they announce it!

  6. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 4th July 2011, 13:02

    Additionally, it looks like a management buyout [i.e. what Brawn did a few years ago] funded by a 3rd party investment group.

    Since the team wants to become more Spanish, I can only assume Kolles wasn’t massively involved. Will be interesting to know more about this as the details emerge. As PM said, for now it won’t change much at all though.

  7. hohum said on 4th July 2011, 13:04

    Apparently even teams coming dead last are potential money makers.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th July 2011, 13:30

      Of all the teams on the grid, Hispania have the most to gain and the least to lose. They’re right at the bottom of the points table; they can’t get any lower than that. They might trundle around with embarrassing THIS COULD BE YOU stickers plastered over their sidepods, but they’re sniffing around around Virgin and have matched Tony Fernandes’ best result (13th place) this year. They’ve also got a reasonably solid (if unspectacular) driver in Tonio Liuzzi, and promising talent in the highly-rated Daniel Ricciardo. Hispania aren’t going to be working miracles any time soon – not unless there’s a race of attrition – but they have got potential if you know what you’re looking for. Thesan’s plans for Hispania largely involve basing them in Spain and streamlining the ownership of the team, two things which are going to give them a solid foundation to work on. Once Hispania are stabilised, they can start to move forward.

      • Lustigson (@lustigson) said on 4th July 2011, 13:54

        They’re actually ahead of Virgin at the moment, just like they were last season.

      • bobo said on 4th July 2011, 14:52

        Right at the ‘bottom’ above Virgin that is.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th July 2011, 15:01

          Virgin are at the bottom, too. They might be eleventh and twelfth, but they have no points and if the championship ended today, they would not be eleigible for a share of the television rights.

          • Mike said on 4th July 2011, 16:35

            I think the difference would become very important when you are fighting for it.

          • unocv12 said on 5th July 2011, 5:11

            Can’t believe I’m defending PM, but 11th and 12th are pretty much the same.

            you get $0 for 11th and $0 for 12th. Just one gets slightly better bragging rights.

            10th and you get money though

    • Nitpicker said on 5th July 2011, 19:11

      Apparently even teams coming dead last are potential money makers.

      Didn’t the Midland guy make an absolute packet when he sold to Spyker? Despite the team not making much performance progress.

  8. Stephen Jones (@aus_steve) said on 4th July 2011, 13:11

    why would anyone want to buy HRT? it’s basically only a moving billboard anyway

    • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 4th July 2011, 13:17

      not a very successful billboard at that!

      • Huron (@huron) said on 4th July 2011, 13:21

        Don’t be so sure about that. I think they’ve gotten more time on camera compared to Virgin or even Lotus, just by virtue of being lapped so often and finding blue flags difficult to notice.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th July 2011, 21:19

      Well, If you can have a company owing you a big chunk of money (Hispania group) and you want to get some of that back, you might get the assets and sell them on (as Banco Popular now did, i suppose) instead of sit and pray they will pay you back one day.

  9. NomadIndian said on 4th July 2011, 13:16

    This news has not even made it to the f1.com…

    You are quick, Keith.

  10. Zecks said on 4th July 2011, 13:32

    Instead of a buy-out isn’t more likely that HRT had defaulted on all their loans and their equity was sold on to a third party.

  11. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th July 2011, 14:03

    When I first saw this article, I misread the title as “Thetan Capital takes control of HRT F1 team”. Fortunately, Tom Cruise and his pal Xenu aren’t buying into the sport.

  12. VXR said on 4th July 2011, 14:17

    Apparently, Williams have an announcement to make about its future plans, sometime this afternoon (UK).

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th July 2011, 14:27

      Given their horror season so far, this sounds ominous.

    • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 4th July 2011, 15:09

      WILLIAMS-RENAULT IN 2012 :D

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th July 2011, 15:50

        Pardon me if I don’t share your enthusiasm. A Williams-Renault reunification might be nice, but I’m not going starry-eyed at the prospect of it. Williams are in dire straits at the moment, and I don’t think a Renault engine deal is going to drag them out of the mire they’ve managed to steer themselves into. There might be positive noises coming from the team for 2012, but with just four points from eight races this year, a lack of sponsor investment that has left them dependent on an underperforming rookie just to keep their head above water, and a public floatation that has largely failed, Williams are at risk of becoming a footnote in the annals of history. Unless they can somehow stop themselves from rubberbanding between the upper and lower midfield as they have been doing for the past four years and keep themselves above the Thirteen Line (there are twelve teams in the sport; the top six carry the numbers one to twelve, while the bottom six carry the numbers fourteen to twenty-five, so the unused number thirteen is the point that divides the grid neatly in two) with some consistency, I’d say they’re looking at the twilight of their time as a Formula 1 team. I don’t think nostalgic engine supply deals alone will be enough to reverse that trend.

  13. VXR said on 4th July 2011, 14:36

    They are going to use Renault engines in 2012/13. More to follow.

  14. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 4th July 2011, 14:44

    So, what was the news yesterday about HRT being sold to a Japanese bank? Did it happen and they sold the shares onward or was it just a rumour?

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