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Chandhok takes last seat on the F1 grid at HRT
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Chandhok takes last seat on the F1 grid at HRT
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Mar 2010   |  4:03 pm GMT  |  95 comments

The F1 grid is now full with the announcement that Karun Chandhok will drive for the newly renamed Hispania Racing Team alongside Bruno Senna.

The 26 year old from Chennai becomes the second Indian driver to enter F1 after Narain Karthikeyan, who raced for Jordan in 2005. He is also brings the total of GP2 graduates on the F1 grid this year to 11, in other words almost half the field. This is quite a feather in the cap for the GP2 series.

The average age of the grid this year is now set at 27, which is quite mature. This is partly thanks to the three ‘golden oldies’: Rubens Barrichello (37), who will make his 300th Grand Prix start in Spa in August; Michael Schumacher (41) and Pedro de la Rosa (39). There are drivers spanning four decades with Schumacher born in the 1960s and Jaime Alguersuari born in the 1990s.


Chandhok is another driver in whom Bernie Ecclestone has taken a keen interest in recent years. He has had a bit of mixed time in GP2, but put in some very strong runs in the 2007 and 2008 seasons, with wins in Belgium and Germany and podiums in Monaco and Silverstone. He was once a test driver for the Campos team, out of which the HRT has been born.

Colin Kolles, the HRT team principal said, ““Everything is now in place after an impossible race against time to register the team’s name and I truly believe that we have an excellent platform to build on and move forward for a strong 2010 performance. Now, we need to work together. We need to learn together and keep developing as a team.”


The team unveiled its car, designed and built by Dallara today in Murcia, Spain.

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95 Comments
  1. blueninjasix says:

    HRT? Surely not? Every middle aged women knows that it stand for Hormone Replacement Therapy – Doh!

    1. Luca says:

      Perhaps they thought “Cougar F1″ would sound too racy …

    2. rpaco says:

      One can only suppose that it stands for something noble and upstanding in Spanish.

    3. abdul rehman says:

      Hispania is respecable name in Muslim history.

  2. I wonder how the GP2 to F1 ratio compares when F2 and F3000 were at their heights. Pretty similar, no?

    I wonder how HRT will fare? I have serious doubts about a team that has not even had a single test run. Will they simply be using the first 6 races as testing time? Perhaps even pitting for wing changes and the like, 7 or 8 times a race?

    Chris

  3. Rusty0256 says:

    Good luck to HRT (for a moment there I thought ‘Holden Racing Team’ had ditched V8 Supercars for F-1) but it’s only a matter of time before someone opens a book on how many seconds adrift they will be from even the slowest of the other newbies – not to mention how many race laps they will manage.

    With zero testing and two rookie drivers it ain’t going to be pretty.

    1. Matt says:

      I guess the only thing going for them is that Dallara is building the chassis, so it may perform better than the Lotus and Virgin out of the box.

      We should open a book for how many seconds back the new teams will be after lap one at the first race.

    2. Bill says:

      Hmmm, if the HRT is 10 seconds a lap down on the quickest cars, and an average lap time is 90 seconds then we’re going to see these guys getting lapped by lap 9. Not only is this sad for the sport, but it’s humiliating for HRT.

      As a separate comment, why has the FIA said it’s “not possible” for Stefan to be given a spot on the grid when likewise HRT hasn’t yet done a single mile of testing. What’s the difference?

      1. Nika Wattinen says:

        It does seem a bit of a double standard, especially if the rumours of a Villeneuve & Nakajima line up were true… If only they could have got hold of some rubber to prove they had pace… It may have made the difference. Alas we’ll never know. How long til we see the cars on eBay?

      2. TM says:

        It’s not about whether Stefan GP have tested, it’s that they don’t have an entry, whereas HRT does.

        Whether or not we think Stefan should be given a place, it’s not related to HRT’s situation.

  4. Bill Day says:

    Picturing the racing this year, all I can think of are:

    1. Crazy range of skill and experience on the grid, from four World Champions down (plus the likes of Barichello and Webber) down to how many who’ve never turned a racing wheel in f1.

    2. Cars on the grid that have never done a racing lap, or even a testing lap, alongside the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Renault, RBR.

    If nobody gets killed, all the lapping (of bad drivers in crummy cars) and mechanical breakdowns (yellow flags) might make for a whole new style of F1 racing. Something not unlike NASCAR. Oh dear.

    1. Jodum5 says:

      Won’t be the first time in the sport. Should make for an interesting season.

    2. Matt says:

      I’ve already made the comment – wait until a pay driver takes out a Ferrari while being lapped for the 4th time.

    3. Olivier says:

      I am deeply concerned as well … those rookie drivers (1) have to learn the circuits, (2) get used to the car, (3) develop the car, (4) acclimatise to F1 and (5) help build a team from scratch.

      They’re basically doing a Jaimie Algers… but in an underdeveloped car/team.

      As long as they don’t put the Champions at risk. I hate to see Schumi ending up in hospital mid season :(

    4. Eric Weinraub says:

      Sorry…..NASCAR is professional wrestling on 4 wheels… I doubt F1 could ever reach those depths, tg.

  5. Danny says:

    Off topic, but I wanted know what role Michael Schumacher will take in the GDA, is he a member?, will he still chair it?

    Thanks

  6. Danny says:

    Off topic, but I wanted know what role Michael Schumacher will take in the GPDA, is he a member?, will he still chair it?

    Thanks

    1. Malcolm46 says:

      Good point, I heard recently that Pedro de la Rosa is stepping down from the role to focus on racing.

      1. Drezman says:

        Should have stepped down after his part in the McLaren spying scandal. And people attach the label ‘teflon’ to Alonso!

  7. Jenny says:

    The news is coming thick and fast now, I’m so excited about the new season I think I might burst! I’ve taken the day off next Friday so I can catch every minute of free practice. Come on Lewis!

    1. Pat says:

      Yes I’m off too :) – I’m polishing my Red Button as we speak – in fact thinking of all potential eventualities I’m gonna make sure I have spare remote handy – imagine not being able to access the coverage ‘cos your Red Button doesn’t work ? :)

      1. monktonnik says:

        It is at times like this I am glad I work from home, although I will be watching on line whilst I am working.

      2. iceman says:

        Polishing your red button eh, is that a euphemism for something :)

    2. Malcolm46 says:

      I like your style! I’m hoping it’ll be quiet at work: pop the headphones in and watch it on the beeb’s web site I’ve got planned!

      You never know, I may even be in early to catch the end of FP1 !!

  8. Uppili says:

    Yay! Finally a driver from my city! Good luck KC!

  9. rav says:

    if only HRT signed a middle aged female driver instead…

    1. tom says:

      rav – you beat me to it lol unfortunate choice there

  10. James D says:

    Colin Kolles, the HRT team principal said, “I truly believe that we have an excellent platform to build on and move forward for a strong 2010 performance”

    LOL

    1. ARVI says:

      are they planning dance party or something during a racing weekends?

  11. Kal says:

    Good luck to the Indian driver. He is one of the elite few in India who’s got sponsorship to pursue racing. Who knows how many Sennas have remained undiscovered in underprivileged nations.

    1. Jason C says:

      It takes racing and sponsorship to ‘create’ a Senna, even if there is a talent there. Look at Takuma Sato (yes, really). He started way too late for any normal driver, yet was talented enough to get to F1, but I think the lack of early years racing really told once he got there.

      Basically, to reach F1 you have to have a lucky combination of dedication, talent, and a pushy parent who’s got a lot of disposable income and can sweet talk the sponsors. It’s a rare one. Meaning F1 will remain a ‘rich man’s’ game. It’s just that in the developing world, you have to be relatively richer.

      1. Andy C says:

        Good post Jason, and absolutely right. Everyone criticising Pay drivers should remember most junior drives require sponsors to come on board with the driver.

        Very few get into F1 or any top level motorsport without a batch of sponsors. Just becuase they bring sponsorship doesnt mean they are no good.

        Time will tell.

      2. Ravi says:

        Disagree – Look at Schumacher’s roots and history. Also there have been quite a few drivers from Brazil (Economy wise, Indian economy is much stable and robust compared to Brazil’s so is the GDP).

        If you have real raw talent, there are enough ways to get in front of talent hunters/managers. Karting is relatively not that expensive.

        India is just not that F1 savvy, as compared to Europe or some latin american countries.

    2. rpaco says:

      Whatever happened to Kathycartin or something similar?

      1. Malcolm46 says:

        Last I remember hearing of him was he was doing A1GP – very much doubt he’ll be doing that this year then….!

      2. Satish says:

        LOL, that’s Karthikeyan.

        I think his ship sailed a long time back. He was talented, but it never really showed even against the uninspiring Tiago Monteiro.

    3. Stu says:

      Or how many have remained undiscovered in developed countries because their fathers weren’t able to fund their karting.

      1. Trent says:

        So true. Karting is often hailed as an affordable entry to motor sport, but in reality it is only affordable to upper middle classes in western countries, and probably only the very rich in most other places around the world.

        Plucking a figure out of the air, I would say less than 1% of families out there could afford to start a kid in karts. It’s not football or athletics.

        We marvel over the likes of Schumacher and Hamilton, but on sheer probability there must be plenty of undiscovered talent that would blow them both away.

      2. Henry says:

        I dont know about blowing them away, I think by the time you get to F1 you really do have some serious talent, there are so many other less prestigious options! But, I definitely agree, motor sport is hugely expensive; how many children actually get a chance to try racing? very few, even in england, with all of its racing history and relative wealth, its a small proportion of the country who get the exposure.

      3. Stu says:

        Compare that to jumpers for goal posts! :)

      4. Ravi says:

        But I think its a misconception that talent is all you need to succeed. Dedication is an absolute must – you have to live, breathe, drink your passion. Just because someone is talented does not give him/her automatic redemption.

        I think success is always 99.9% function of dedication – given that you have talent (Necessary but not sufficient)

        So the thought that there are tons of talented people out there is a misnomer and nothing to really marvel about.

  12. tom says:

    it would be interesting to see how money has actually been invested in the new teams.

    personally i actually think it’s kinda dangerous to put an unproven driver in an unproven car capable of 200mph, not only for their sake but for everyone else on the grid, the marshals, press and spectators.

    i don’t think it’s unreasonable to insist that a team spends at least one season in a lower/feeder formula and that they show they can compete and sustain themselves financially before allowing them in to F1. if any of the teams are forced to leave for financial reasons after next season (or half way through…) then it’ll will have cost more than it was worth and the efforts to bring new teams to F1 may not have been such a good one.

  13. Peter R says:

    This reminds me of the 60′s and 70′s, when hopeful teams would appear with a mixed bag of drivers…. They it called the ‘Golden Age’! Maybe history will repeat itself

  14. drplix says:

    Don’t underestimate them – they may have a hot flush.

  15. Thalasa says:

    I’d like to note something down regarding the acronym “HRT”. I know it is usually difficult not to be each-one’s-country centred. If you read Spanish media the world of sport goes around Spain. If you watch the Olympic games on British TV it appears that only Britain took part of it.
    So don’t worry too much about HRT looking like something else because most people around the world (even around Europe, I dare to say) ignore the “Hormone Replacement Therapy” thing. I know this site is British, and I guess most readers are British, so I wanted to give you an outsider’s take on it.
    Hispania is a beautiful name, by the way. :)
    The rain in Hispania falls mainly in 2010.

    1. Drezman says:

      The team name is registered in English. Car makers go to extreme lengths to avoid embarrassing translations or meanings and sometime fail, LOL.

      This is poor research. Unfortunately any English speaking fans following the team or drivers will not be buying caps or t-shirts with those initials. 1st step on the merchandising ladder. And the joke will soon spread to the Spanish fans.

      Bet Eddie Jordan is the 1st to make an inappropriate remark on TV :)

      1. Thalasa says:

        I have to agree with you to a certain point, but… at least two of the teams have no English in their names: Ferrari and Renault. And you can also find important and traditional names in Spanish: Mercedes and Lola.
        I don’t see anyone out of Spain buying a HRT t-shirt at the moment and, in any case, they can print the t-shirt with “Hispania”.
        Nobody calls Toro Rosso, “STR”.
        And for the joke spreading to Spain, yes it will, but it won’t have the same impact. Things don’t sound the same when the are pronounced in another language.
        It is not the same that naming a car that you have to sell “Pajero” (Wan**r).
        So, yes, they could have done better but it is not that wrong and I don’t think it will have any impact out of the anglo saxon world.

  16. Dave Roberts says:

    I have just found a couple of photos of the new car (apparently taken by Senna using his phone)and to be fair it looks a little more refined than the Lotus or Virgin cars. The livery looks a little bland and at first glance not dissimilar to Virgin’s.

    I haven’t included the URLs for fear of breaking a protocol of including them on the site but they have originated from Senna’s twitter page.

    James I can copy and paste links if you didn’t mind.

  17. Paige says:

    Well, at least Alonso will now get to share the pain from eyebrow jokes….

  18. Pogo Von Wuzright says:

    Good luck to you Karun, may your attachments be gold ones….. and very well protected!

  19. Kurt S. says:

    I don’t think Dallara made the car pictured–it looks like they bought it from Virgin F1!

    1. Pat says:

      Perhaps Virgin & HRT/Dallara are being extremely smart and sharing data – 4 cars on the track with similar design means double the data

  20. Alex says:

    As far as I know, F1 tires are unidirectional and the arrows printed on the sidewalls (next to Bridgestone and Potenza) indicate the direction of rotation. Did HRT put a front-left tire on the front-right? I hope, for their sake, they don’t do this in the races…

    1. henri says:

      Well spotted!

    2. ARVI says:

      nice catch!!!

      never know. that might give 1 sec advantage over rivals on track….

      :-)

    3. iceman says:

      Perhaps it’s to deal with the opposite direction of forces created by their innovative front wheel drive system ;)

  21. Andy C says:

    James

    any insider info about the dallara chassis. Strikes me that dallara know how to build race cars and cosworth have a decent engine. Total lack of setup will clearly affect them.
    Is there a limit to laps in practice at races? Or just timed.

  22. Mark Vadnais says:

    What is going on with Bruno Senna’s management team. Senna easily beat Kobayashi, Buemi and Petrov in GP2 and now he now has the worst drive in F1. I’m surprised that with Bruno’s connections to Santander, that Sauber Ferrari was not the team.

    Mark

  23. Gareth says:

    If HRT Put a U between the H and R, thats exactly how they are going to feel when they see the timing screens in Bahrain

  24. Wish Bone says:

    Only seen this 1 picture of the car, but it’s interesting that the nose looks very similar to the Virgin, and neither of these look like any of the other 2010 cars’ noses.

    Does anyone know whether the Dallara design was CFD heavy?

    1. monktonnik says:

      I noticed the similarity too.

  25. Bindib says:

    This really is going to be a weird season. With the likes of Schumacher, Hamilton, Alonso et al, driving for famous and historical teams such as Ferrari, McClaren, Merc etc.. And at the same time new teams who have not even tested coupled with drivers who have not driven an F1 car.. and won’t do until the first race.. Wait a minute, I must be dreaming.. no one would really allow this would they? Just hope nobody gets killed in the process……

    1. monktonnik says:

      Doesn’t this fall into the new driver test day rules?

      Surely they will at least perform a shake down.

    2. Casey says:

      Amen, and kudos to Webber for having the gumption to bring that up. The desk-bound people keen on marketing F1 have no on-track risk. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8546881.stm

      1. Williams4ever says:

        For all the Pinnacle of Motorsports from “Technical Stand-Point”, It was not long ago we had likes of Minardi and Jordan, signing drivers on eve of season openers for cars which has no testing at all.

        Then we had Super Aguri, about whom no body was sure if they had a car in place or they were going to pick the demo car kept in Lobby of Albert Park race venue.

        Honda-BRAWN saga had dragged on to last possible minute and the Mercedes Engine was bolted on to the car 11th hour before the final test prior to season-opener.

        While Fans blame FOM/FIA BERNIE/MAX for lots of negative things (and there is definitely lots of truth to it), Fans themselves act as ultimate snobs, when they forget the recent history of sports.

        Or wait lets blame it on Bernie for Transmitting microwaves that cause “memory loss” via the “world feed”.

        As for Webber – Hmmm three race wins in lucky coincidence where “Tightly” designed Newey “Miracle” didn’t have reliability issues has made Webber forget that in recent past every car he drove ended up in DNF. Is he implying that fundamentally everything was Ok with those teams and their operational practices. It was he who was the Jinx :-O

        PS – Demo car in Lobby of Albert Park was trademark under-the-belt shot of British Commentator on ITV

      2. williams4ever says:

        It was not long ago we had likes of Minardi and Jordan, signing drivers on eve of season openers for cars which has no testing at all.

        Then we had Super Aguri, about whom no body was sure if they had a car in place or they were going to pick the demo car kept in Lobby of Albert Park race venue.

        Honda-BRAWN saga had dragged on to last possible minute and the Mercedes Engine was bolted on to the car 11th hour before the final test prior to season-opener.

        While Fans blame FOM/FIA BERNIE/MAX for lots of negative things (and there is definitely lots of truth to it),
        Fans themselves act as ultimate snobs, when they forget the recent history of sports.

        Or wait lets blame it on Bernie for Transmitting microwaves that cause “memory loss” via the “world feed”.

        As for Webber – Hmmm three race wins in lucky coincidence where “Tightly” designed Newey “Miracle” didn’t have reliability issues has made Webber forget that in recent past every car he drove ended up in DNF. Is he implying that fundamentally everything was Ok with those teams and their operational practices. It was he who was the Jinx :-O

        PS – Demo car in Lobby of Albert Park was trademark under-the-belt shot of British Commentator on ITV

  26. Stu says:

    James, completely OT but will you be having a predict the final championship order competition?

  27. F1 Kitteh says:

    Reminds me of a certain ex Williams and Mclaren, current NASCAR driver who once saw a deer across the track and said “oh deer” LOL. Wonder if that animal or these guys will be faster.

    1. Azri says:

      Mr Juan Pablo Montoya?

  28. Bayan says:

    I still think this team shouldn’t be allowed to race. They haven’t done even one installation lap or anything. I hope their car is good or else we’ll see lots of yellows and maybe (hopefuly not) the safety car!

    James, I thought you needed certain milage in an F1 car to get your superlicense. Does Chandhok have milage already? I don’t remember.

    Also, what are your thoughts on letting a team that hasn’t done any testing go racing? Should the FIA and teams let them do some testing or is there no more time?

    1. James Allen says:

      He won races in GP2 so qualifies for a superlicence.

  29. A.K. says:

    So now we know the real reason behind the Campos-HRT delays in unveiling their car – they were too busy refining the Manor-Virgin design in the wind tunnel.

  30. TG says:

    These HRT jokes are going to get v old v quickly. The team being a joke on the track, however…

    1. monktonnik says:

      I agree,

      James can we have an edict that outlaws the use of the initials HRT?

      Wouldn’t Hispania be preferable to HRT?

      Damn! Even I can’t stop doing it.

  31. Jake says:

    Hi James,

    A little off topic but what do you think of the questions about mclarens rear wing? Is it just a matter of double checking is legality before other teams build their own or could it be more serious than that?

    Cheers

  32. James W says:

    I’ll stick my neck out on the line and say that this car could be the best of the new bunch come the end of the season. Just a hunch on this one.

    I think what will make the difference between Virgin, Lotus and HRT is the experience of the drivers, which could be HRT’s biggest downfall

  33. Raj says:

    Just like the virgin jokes

  34. Rafael says:

    Hi guys.
    Most of you sounds pretty negative towards this new team. As spanish, and knowing well the reality of this country, I think is pretty impressive what they’ve achieved. Just think that USF1 collapsed, and they seems to have more experienced people on board, and no doubt about this, they are in a country where they should find much more investment and sporsorship that a spanish team could never imagine.

    Is sure they will be far of the top teams, but one of my favourite teams of all my life where Minardi, and they never won. And I still like with all the colour that teams like AGS or Larousse or Zakspeed bring to F1 some years ago.

    So, common’ guys, live and let live.

    Ps: totally I agree that Stefan GP should be on the grid. Is a shame that FIA don’t allow them to race.

    1. Rich C says:

      It evidently does not suit FIA’s image of F1 to just allow any old bunch of guys to simply show up and go racing. That would be too lowbrow.

  35. Racergil says:

    Hi James
    I would love to see predictions on how many times, Lotus, Virgin, and HRT are going to be lapped in a race, on a day when they will all be able to complete a race distance. I have to wonder if Mosely’s aim was to make F1 more challenging and safe, by adding rolling pylons to the circuits.

    1. Greig says:

      It’s starting to get tiresome the amount of disrespect that people are showing the new teams. Certainly Lotus and Virgin in my eyes have done a great job in making it to the grid. I’m concerned about HRT but with Colin Kolles in charge, I’m sure that they’ll come good.

      Are these teams really all that much different from the likes of say, Minardi? They were always seen as the plucky underdog even though they were always at the back. I don’t recall too many people raging on them the same as this years new teams.

    2. Rich C says:

      Too many of you guys are focused on how many times the new teams will be lapped! I distinctly remember every single team thats in F1 being lapped at some time or other! Including the prancing red geld… er, I mean stallions!

      SO give it a rest about the lapping, eh!

      1. Racergil says:

        You have to be concerned with the exchange of manufacturer teams, for this lot. My concern is for the quality of the spectacle. While we are fortunate enough to see 4 or maybe even 6 teams that will battle for the championship, we are adding low budget filler to the back end. I have no objections to new teams, but for goodness sake, lets have a group that have their budgets well in place so that we at least get to the level of Minardi or Torro Rosso. It can be argued that there have been some pretty crappy startups in the past. Lola springs to mind, F1 should definitely hold its standards to the likes of Stewart, Sauber, Jordan, BAR, or even Minardi. At least those had something to sell when it was all said and done, but this bunch, with CFD designs off of which the wings fly, are very worrisome.

  36. Nick172 says:

    What a horrible colour scheme?

    Maybe it’s to help them blend in with the tarmac at the back?

  37. Russell says:

    Good news for India to get a half decent driver – good news for the sport – he just needs to finish with all his bones intact!

  38. Freespeech says:

    The problem with HRT is that once you start taking it the effects are far worse when you stop so they’d better make sure the car is always fuelled otherwise we can expect many broken (car) bones.
    We can almost certainly expect the odd tantrum for no apparent reason…………etc

    Fancy calling their team HRT – Doh!

  39. Rich C says:

    I cant say much for their paintjob. I hope in other views it looks better!

  40. Dale says:

    Just a though but if HRT merged with Virgin there would be a very unhappy team in F1 :)

    1. Rits says:

      HAHAHAHAHA!!! I can’t even imagine how unhappy they’d be…. lol…

    2. 2007 the great fight says:

      a virgin that needs hormone replacement therapy. What a sad end.

  41. Pat says:

    Does the 107% rule return this year to minimise the risk of mobile chicanes ?

  42. 2007 the great fight says:

    james what do you make of the comments hamilton made the other day about his mishandling of the 2007 season. I don’t understand what he is trying to achieve with this comments.

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