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HRT reveals first images of F112 following Barcelona shakedown
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Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Mar 2012   |  11:11 pm GMT  |  161 comments

HRT has this evening released the first images of its car for the new season following a shakedown at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, finally completing the line-up for the 2012 grid with little over a week to go before the first practice session in Melbourne.

Like chief rivals Marussia, who rolled out its 2012 challenger this morning at Silverstone, the Spanish-owned team has taken advantage of the regulations that allow for 62 miles of running for filming purposes after its chassis didn’t pass all of the crash tests in time to compete at Barcelona last week.

With those tests now passed, Narain Karthikeyan was given the honour of giving the car its maiden laps, with the F112 featuring a revised colour scheme following last year’s white, red and black arrangement.

Unlike the new Marussia, the car does go with the wider 2012 trend of a stepped nose and once more on-car sponsorship is sparse, with Spanish cleaning products brand KH-7 the only notable new arrival on the rear wing.

Pedro de la Rosa, who returns to full-time racing with the team from his homeland this year at the age of 41, revealed at last week’s FOTA Fans’ Forum that the car had been designed to include KERS, but that a decision on whether to fit the energy-storage device would be deferred until later in the season.

Having missed out on testing its new car in an official test once more this winter, HRT will simply arrive in Australia next week looking to avoid the problems of last year when both their drivers failed to lap within 107% of the fastest Q1 time and were barred from starting the race.

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  1. Richard Foster says:

    Hi James

    Whilst it’s great to have 12 teams on the grid do you share my disappointment that this team have made no progress (or seemingly no progress) since their inception in 2010?

    To be entering their third season and still not have attended a test session seems to show a lack of effective management.

    1. James Allen says:

      Shows how tough F1 is, but yes, of course you are right

      1. Richard Foster says:

        Good point about how tough F1 must be, from the outside the more established teams make being there on time look fairly easy. The perks of being an armchair critic!

        Good luck on the new post at 5live!

    2. Chris says:

      I’ve been wondering the same thing, Richard. You’d think after a year of a clear lack, nee, absence of progress, your spirits would be at an all time low, especially when you have no money coming in from FOM. I don’t see how Marussia and HRT can continue at all if money isn’t coming in and when all the other teams are getting better. They seem to be in a bit of a rut, don’t you think? My prediction is if they don’t make the kind of progress that Caterham has made this year, in at most 3 years, Marussia and HRT will pull out of the sport. What do you think, James?

      1. James Allen says:

        Certainly looks a struggle. Marussia will be ok as long as the money keeps coming from Russia

      2. Alexx says:

        Whilst reading your comment James, it seems that Marussia is an Acronym for:

        Marussia – Money from Russia

      3. mike says:

        Don’t forget marussia is a car manufacture in Russia… so they’re just like Ferrari and Mercedes really!! ;)

      4. Kevin Green says:

        Just does not seem to ring with the same reassuring effect that one as Ferrari Mercedes or Vauxhall!!

      5. Wayne says:

        They do not need to make progress so long as one individual somewhere is getting what they want from the whole sorry exercise, be it influence, power or money etc.

    3. Wayne says:

      I think this is a disgrace. F1 race weekends are not he place to test a brand new car for many reasons, cheif among which is safety. This is the third season in a row this team have suffered the same failures, season one was poor but accpetable considering but for this still to be happening in season 3 suggests that this team has no place in F1. There should be a rule about minimum number of laps completed in pre season testing with penalties in place as required.

      What does this team bring to F1? Literally nothing at all is the answer, yet they take up grid space. Looking back at the seemingly disgraceful and shadowy way the entry process for new teams was handled by Max a few years ago, I suppose this could have been anticipated.

      F1 does notn just need new, independant teams operating as mobile chicanes -it needs new, Independant teams with a workable plan and the resources to compete.

      1. Richard Mee says:

        But in the absence of the latter will you accept the former?

        How about every year the best team in F2 is given the option to replace the worst team in F1? It might be inviting corruption in certain circumstances, but however it works I would prefer to see some form of open, regular and consistent rotation keeping existential performance pressure on all of the teams in F1.

        I don’t quite buy the arguement that others wouldn’t want a shot at F1 even if they could…

      2. Wayne says:

        What a great idea, gives the ‘lower divisions’ something to aim for and presses the F1 teams into action. Everything about F1 invites corruption these days but this should not be allowed to stand in the way of progress.

      3. part time viewer says:

        all the f2 cars are run by just one team

      4. thatscienceguy says:

        So a team which wins the F2 championship in November is expected to pull together funding, design, build and develop a car for January testing? And be competitive?

        Recipe for disaster. They will inevitably be far worse than what you say HRT are.

        And what, the team who is coming last in the F1 championship doesn’t bother designing a car for the next season? What if they luck a result in the last race and then have no car for the next season? Or what if they do spend time and money designing a car only to not need it?

        And lets not forget a team coming into F1 for a single year will be horribly off the pace, so will inevitably drop out the next year, they’ll just never be able to be competitive enough in less than 1 year to be able to stay at the top level. All you’re doing is setting them up for an incredible failure.

        It’s an idea which will be so much more damaging to F1 than you claim HRT and Marussia are.

      5. David says:

        What does any team other than the one’s on the podium and perhaps in the points bring to F1 – just as much as the backmarkers. These team’s on the edge of points don’t affect the title battle and eally not many people care about anything other than that do they. So in reply if u think the midfield brings anything to F1 then the backmarkers do just as much

      6. If they can meet the 107% rule, then they should be able to race. If not, pack up and go.

        Last I checked, there weren’t any rules regarding who does and does not “deserve” to be in F1, or what defines a “disgrace”. I’m guessing you weren’t an F1 fan back in the old pre-qualifying days, or you’d really know what a joke F1 team was all about. At least their engine covers fit over their engines (Life) and they’re not 15+ seconds off the pace (Lola).

        I swear there are a lot of commenters that need a bit of an F1 history lesson.

      7. Wayne says:

        What does history have to do with it? It is completely irreleavnt. In days gone by F1 drivers were strapped into their car with nto so much a seatbelt – today, thankfully, things have changed.

        In what way would a history lesson be of any use at all? That was then, THIS is now, and tomorrow is the future. In that future F1 has no need of teams that cannot get a lap of practice in before the season starts in my opinion.

      8. A history lesson would be useful for people to realize that HRT are consistently able to achieve 107% up against some of the best drivers in the best cars in history, compared to only 20 years ago when there were teams that didn’t have a chance of reaching 107% on the best of days.

        I like how you ignored the rest of my post as well, and only focused on the small part that offered you chance of rebuttal.

        So, should they up it to 105%? What about international karting rules where if you’re about to get lapped, you’re black-flagged?

        What objective criteria can you come up with for all of your “shoulds” and preferences?

      9. Wayne says:

        I offered an objective criteria that I would like to see. Teams should be required to complete x number of laps in x number of sessions before the season begins. As for why – safety and the currency and image of a sport which is regarded as the pinnacle of motorsport.

        “I like how you ignored the rest of my post as well, and only focused on the small part that offered you chance of rebuttal.”

        Isn’t that rather the point? These forums are a passing interest, like a hobby. I am not required to deconstruct your every argument and provide a dissatation in response. I have niether the time nor the inclination. That aside, the above assertion is plain wrong regardless, your original post literally started with ‘history’ and ended with ‘history’! So, I belive I speak to the ‘meat’ of your argument when I point out that there are many standards set in the past which are completely irrelevant in the present and even more so in the future. Teams’ ability to build, test, compete and therefore contribute to modern F1 is one of them.

      10. No, each point I brought included the 107% rule. That’s the reason why the rule is there – to prevent cars that shouldn’t be in F1 from starting the race. I brought up history to add some flavour and back-story to my argument, that’s it.

        As for X laps in Y tests being a criteria, I think that’s bogus. If a car can meet 107% of pole, then it should race. If it can last a race distance, it should be awarded points so long as it’s in the top 10. Realistically, that’s the fairest test of a team possible. I don’t see why a team that may have had some unforeseen issues are suddenly barred from racing for the season because they didn’t meet some superfluous criterion.

        Furthermore, your criterion is unfair due to the limits imposed on testing; if testing was open, then it would be a little more fair. HRT has a running car that could test and do 2,000 km before the season starts, except to “cut costs”, they can’t test more than 100 km a day on demo tires for “filming”. Why should teams have to do a certain amount of testing when testing is so strictly regulated? It’s to the point now where they can’t even go to their local track and do a few laps to shake down the car, unless cameras are rolling and they pretend it’s a media day.

        Finally, F1 isn’t some elite club… it’s a racing series. If someone shows up with a car that can run, they should be allowed to run. If it meets 107%, it should race. Plain and simple.

    4. Justin says:

      Hey they’ve made progress! they went from not running until Q1 of race 1, to not running until FP2 of Race 1 and then being prohibited from participating in the race, and this year they’re running before the race!!

    5. If they can achieve 107%, let them run. Who are you to decide what is morally acceptable in F1?

      Drop the subjective and rely on the objective. If they qualify, let them race. If they don’t qualify, they’ll run out of funding quickly and die off shortly after.

      You must not have been around when the likes of Life, Forti and Pacific were trying to pre-qualify. THOSE teams were terrible. HRT would have been a solid midfield team back then.

      1. Wayne says:

        Here we go with the ‘back then’ argument which carries no currency what so ever.

        And no one is ‘deciding’ what is or is not morally acceptable, this forum is being used for the exact purpose it was created – to offer opinion, regardless of any criteria you might stipulate – such as assimilation of ‘history’.

      2. Like I said, if they can reach 107%, let them run. Do you have any arguments against that?

        The fact remains that they finished a lot of races last year, and had some decent finishes too. Sure, they were the slowest on many occasions, but someone has to take that honour each weekend.

      3. James Allen says:

        THis is getting boring now. It ends here – Mod

  2. tom in adelaide says:

    I like it!

  3. Chris says:

    That is actually quite a good-looking car. Well, now that I think of it, they really couldn’t have done any worse than last year’s car to be honest, but good job for them for finishing the car before the season opener!

    1. The Crappest says:

      Yeah, lets just hope that it IS properly finished and not some “show of solidarity”.

    2. Quercus says:

      I think that the car looks rather home-made, jerry-built contraption. I guess the lap-times will tell me whether I’m wrong.

  4. Horno says:

    At least the livery looks good..

    1. APAAPSPASPAAASA says:

      3 liveries in 3 seasons. The first (grey) looked dull, the 2nd (orange and flag) was hideous and quite American IMO, this one actually looks pretty nice. Better than several other teams…

      If that car was fast, which it isn’t then seeing it as a blur flying around Spa would be great.

      1. Gareth says:

        They gun metal grey with the orange and red gradient lines was a fantastic livery! I’m with you on last years livery though…

      2. Justin says:

        last years was hideous! on PF1 they kept saying it was the best on the grid and i was aghast. year 1 wasn’t so bad but this one is definitely the best so far.

      3. Simmo says:

        I liked last years livery, but 2010, I agree.

        As for the 2012 livery – It’s a joke! It is just plain white, but I think that they are just hoping to put sponsors there.

        But the bottom line is, they need to choose, and stick to a livery.

      4. Jeff says:

        I’m sure if someone gives them enough money, they’ll be able to paint the entire car whatever colour they want.

      5. ACB says:

        The 2011 livery was designed by Daniel Simon a German through and through, so don’t blame that one on the U.S.! The 2010 car always looked to me like a child’s plastic model before it was painted, I half expected to see a bit of glue dribbling out from the keel.

      6. Stone the crows says:

        The 2011 livery was designed by Daniel Simon, (German) you can’t pin that one on the US. The 2010 livery looked like an unfinished plastic model.

    2. Definite improvement over last year… but a long way to go before they can achieve iconic status like Marlboro-McLaren, 7-UP Jordan or Gold Leaf Lotus.

  5. captainj84 says:

    hrt….the f1 joke figures!

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Fun to see how all english people whines about how bad the Hispania Racing Team is while “their” MarussiaN team has ended on the bottom for the last 2 seasons and still have not been able to pass the crash test for this one…

  6. tim says:

    What’s the business case (I hate that such a term matters so much in F1) for this team? How is this worthwhile to anyone involved? Even though this is a small outfit it is still burning millions by the week. Anyone have any thoughts?

    1. Wayne says:

      I too share your dislike of the prominence of the ‘business case’ in this ‘sport’. I too have absolutely no idea what anyone out there is getting from this team being involved, I simply cannot fathom it. If I had to gues, I would say that 1 person somewhere is paying themselves a huge salary and extracting enough from the team’s funds to make themself rich. The greed of one individual is often the primary driver for this sort of debacle.

    2. Jorge says:

      I think the business case is like any other venture, you set up a team, invest in a car program, share technology with some partners, in case of HRT with TATA. Then hope to perform better than other teams at the same level… and then eventually sell the team (like Sauber did when BMW came in). The case with HRT is that it is a Spanish venture, so they get some ad revenue from Spanish companies. Keep in mind that some transport costs, freight is covered/arranged by F1 organizers.
      I would think that they will be luring Spanish car manufacturer SEAT or, if the results arrived, try to get big ad money from Telefonica or other Spanish corporations.
      Think of RedBull for instance, when they got into F1 no one was really to pay a dime for them… today if RedBull were for sale, imagine the number?

      1. markdartj says:

        SEAT is owned by Volkswagen, so I imagine the parent company has some say in the deal. So far, their involvement in racing has been Audi, in LeMans and the WEC. It’s an interesting idea, though. It could be a relatively inexpensive “back door” way for VW to become involved in F-1; but they wouldn’t want to be at the back of the grid, even just starting out. I’m still waiting for the Audi F-1 car.

      2. anonymous says:

        I can’t image any popular car company like Volkswagen to ruin their image by teaming up with a hopeless bunch like HRT.

    3. TV money, a few sponsorships (minor) and selling their seats to the highest bidder with a Superlicence.

      Pretty simple, really.

  7. Eoin Leonard says:

    Hi James,

    It’s hard to imagine HRT or Marussia ever bridging the gap to the guys ahead of them. Do you think Bernie sees a future for them in F1?

  8. madmax says:

    On looks alone this car deserves to be fighting for wins. One of the best liveries I have ever seen.

  9. Seán Craddock says:

    Finally they’ve got a livery that I can stand to look at. Not a fan of the new logo tho, difficult enough to actually see that it says HRT

    I still find it very disappointing that the team seems to have no plan, they seem to be struggling to keep up since the start of 2010

  10. Tealeaf says:

    Looks like normal system will be resumed at the back of the grid with Caterham ahead of Marussia and in turn ahead of HRT.
    Out of the 3 teams Caterham looks like they have the ability to be competitive and join the midfield this year, the other 2 bottom teams looks like they’re in trouble.

    1. Brent McMaster says:

      HRT finished ahead of Marussia both seasons.

      1. Nathhulal says:

        Not to mention, Caterham finished tenth ahead of HRT by only one race result. In year one, HRT had better result thank’s Karun’s result and in year two if only chaotic race end at Canadian GP the race stewards had not obliterated Narain’s 13th place finish by 30 second time penalty.

        Inspite of all the management issues this team has had better race finishes among all the new comers two seasons running.

      2. Brent McMaster says:

        If looks count, the car should be good. I am hoping that Karthikeyan stays in the seat, I think he should do well.

    2. Jenks says:

      Last season, amazingly, HRT more than matched Marussia after a few races.

  11. Ben says:

    If the test sessions were the same as last year however, they would have made a test. I do believe this team is making progress, and at least they’ve got some miles on the car before Australia. Formula 1 is harder than ever these days to start from scratch, so full credit to them.

    1. Nathhulal says:

      yup 60 miles better than 2011 :)

  12. SH says:

    Maybe they could sell spots on the car for funds. Red Bull did it with photos a few years back, and I got my dad’s pic on there. Firefox did it several years ago with a full page ad in the NYT and I stumped up for that one too. At the very least the cars wouldn’t look so bare.

  13. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I think HRT is doing so badly that it has lost even the sponsor “You”…

    1. ACB says:

      Maybe it’s because “This could be you” could have been misconstrued as an epitaph rather than an enticement.

    2. Stone the crows says:

      I always saw “this could be you” as more of a warning to anyone else who might consider starting an F-1 team from scratch.

  14. Pat Guillon says:

    With the car lacking sponsorship it has become very obvious why Karthikeyan was kept on. Quite sad that Alguersuari is on the sideline this year in comparison. James do you think Alguersuari did the right thing in saying no to HRT as a year out of action can lead to dissappaering from the F1 scene altogether. I know Alonso’s case is different but a year at Minardi didn’t hurt him.

      1. ah so he’s going to be the Expert summariser for you on 5Live……!

      2. smellyden says:

        I take it you are looking forward to him joining you in the commentary box eh?

      3. James Allen says:

        Very much. As you know from my Top 5 Drivers last year I rate him and I thought he was improving a lot as a driver.

        I’m sure he’ll be back in an F1 car before long, but for this season at least, he’s with us.

      4. Ahmed says:

        He preferred working with you to driving that car! That must feel good!

      5. Nathan says:

        Sounds like James knows something we dont

      6. APAAPSPASPAAASA says:

        Algersuari said he is going to London and more news is coming soon. Is this what you are referring to?

      7. APAAPSPASPAAASA says:

        And so that’s a yes then, confirmed on twitter about the radio…. Ironic how the oldest communication form is being confirmed through one of the newest forms communication

      8. Martin says:

        Guess that last commented was loaded in anticipation of the 5 live announcement James!! Must say though, I would still prefer to see him back on the grid. I think a mistake was made in dropping him, as he showed a lot of maturity in the latter half of last season, and I’d like to see him prove me right :-)

      9. Seán Craddock says:

        Hahaha, sneaky James knowing Jaime hasn’t left the F1 scene…;)

      10. Dan says:

        So that’ll be the announcement that he’s lining up alongside you this season in the commentary box! Although that sounds like a good move, I would have prefered to see him in a car.

      11. James Allen says:

        I’m really delighted he’s working as my co-comm this year on BBC Radio 5 Live. We’ll make a very strong team.

        He’s very current; has raced with Pirellis and DRS etc. We just did a short practice in a studio and it sounds great

      12. Phil C says:

        Well we now know you’re in the best place to answer that question James!

      13. Richard D says:

        I bet that James will be looking for a replacement co-comm before the year is out as one of the teams that has taken on a no-hoper driver will be looking for a decent one!

      14. Pat Guillon says:

        James could I have set you up amy better. Please send thank you present to …. LOL

    1. Kevin Green says:

      There’s no way Alguersuari is going to disappear from F1,far far too good. Mark my words he will be in a starting seat next season at the LATEST wait and see.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        And on that i think you will find Mercedes signed him not only for there own use but if any team approaches him prior to there contract ending they can make some money out of him very very clever move by Mercedes regardless.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        I wasn’t particularly a fan of alguersuari (not a dislike I just wasn’t that interested in him), but after the toro Rosso dismissal I would love to see him in a competitive car wiping the smirk off markos face. I suspect jaime can make a comeback given his very young age anyway.

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Certain he will I believe he is genuinely good enough to cut it and obv plenty room/time for improvements.

    2. Jorge says:

      I think Alguesuari did the right thing, saying no to HRT means he is an available resource for any other team looking to improve. If he is locked with HRT then he will be measure by those results which are not representative of his current status.
      I think keeping his options open is a good thing.

      1. Andrew Kirk says:

        It must be tough call for a young driver there are different ways of going about F1. Alonso drove a Minardi at the back impressed the right people are got a Renault testing contract. Massa was fast but wild in a Sauber so Ferrari took him testing for a year to tame him before loaning him back to Sauber. We now have Grosjean who entered the sport too soon when back down a category restore his rep and has a second chance. I am sure and hopeful Jamie will get a chance. If I were a manager with a driver out sick like Perez in Canada I would throw Jamie in for sure.

  15. Ez Pez says:

    I wouldn’t say that the nose was stepped, not like many of the other cars. More ‘steeply inclined’.

  16. CJ says:

    Easily the best looking of the drop noses as well as one of the better looking cars over all. Well done!

    1. Jeff says:

      For some reason, it reminds me of the drop nose of Concorde. I guess they won’t be getting Viagra sponsorship any time soon :-)

  17. Liam in Sydney says:

    Not a fully stepped nose, really, like what Ferrari and RB are running around with. This is more a smaller half-step.

    If HRT manage to put a KERS in this thing, they MAY manage to qualify… but I doubt it. If they do not run a KERS, there is no chance they will qualify.

  18. Stone the crows says:

    Other than the expanse of white sponsorlessness, I think its a very attractive livery. The car itself looks updated and fresh, hopefully they’ll find the funding they need this year.

  19. Andrew Kirk says:

    Looks a tidy, straight forward car perfect for a small team to develop and enhance over the course of the year. However after 2 years of failing to make it to a test session I am not too sure that HRT will be able to do much with it. Don’t really understand what Del Rosa is doing in a team like that given his age and past experiences. I mean would under why he would be driving if Ferrari called but at the back of the grid? Feels abit like being in F1 for the sake of being in F1.

    1. Vik says:

      I think Pedro is there because he’s generally considered to be one of the finest driver/developers of his generation. I imagine his experience and input will be instrumental in improving entire team over the next 12 months.

      I don’t agree that HRT is in anyway a disappointment. Given the limited time, the massive cost, the required human and logistical resources, the imagination, ingenuity and engineering excellence required, I think its an absolute miracle they’ve made it. I think they deserve our support.

      For them, making it to the grid is the victory, as it would be for everyone of us, if we attempted the same feat.

      Anyway, look what happened to Force India once they hooked up with McLaren. Look at where they are now. They too were once jokers, a team whose name Michael Schumacher famously wouldn’t even utter when his brother Ralf considered driving with them. Now they boss the midfield and have arguably the most exciting driving partnership on the grid.

      “Anything can happen in Formula 1, and it usually does”

      1. Phil says:

        “I don’t agree that HRT is in anyway a disappointment. Given the limited time, the massive cost, the required human and logistical resources, the imagination, ingenuity and engineering excellence required, I think its an absolute miracle they’ve made it. I think they deserve our support.”

        In their first year yes. Second year perhaps. In their third year, no. This argument runs thin. It’s not an achievement ‘just to make it to the grid’. There needs to be some discernable improvement. Just being there isn’t good enough.

      2. I think you need to extend that criteria a bit, given that we’re in an era of super-reliability and no testing. I’d say they should be mixing with the midfield and snagging points after four or five years.

  20. Dave Aston says:

    Encouraging that they showed up for their filming day.

  21. cjf says:

    Really makes you wonder who is pumping the required millions into keeping this team on the grid and what they think they will achieve for their money.

    Minardi look high class relative to HRT, at least Paul Stoddart was doing it because he had a passion for racing and you kind of respected the team despite the fact they sometimes finished 2 laps down.

    1. Nathhulal says:

      That essentially is the difference, Stoddy was burning his ( and his driver’s) monies. In case of HRT its always somebody else’s money they are burning, reminds me of Fry and Honda story, and possibly one reason why the teams in question never had credibility.

      Fry finally managed to break the rut with help of unknown Super Aguri Engineer (who spotted the Double diffuser loop hole) and his friend Mosely who wanted to see underdog fight the McLaren and Ferraris. One year of success and handing off the lemon to German suckers and Fry was off to cash the cheque. Quite a modus operandi to make money in F1, All the honest ones in F1 invest Billions to make millions ;-)

      1. anonymous says:

        Please stop spreading the double-deck-diffuser nonsense already, will you?
        Not only Brawn had spotted the diffuser loophole and the others who did, have not been nearly as fast as the Brawns. How can it be?

        All teams start develop their next year’s car while working on the current one, but the resources they put into the next year’s car typically barely reach 50% in the middle of the season.

        It is well known that Honda have stopped the development of their actual car completely at the start of the season, after they had seen it was a complete failure. They didn’t even try to repair it. Instead they concentrated 100% on the next season for almost one full year while throwing a monster budget at the project and as a result Brawn got his hands on a car that he dared to call “very good” even before it had seen a single test, and before Honda bailed out. He knew that Honda were about to mix up the competition and that’s why taking over the team virtually pocket money had been a sure bet when Honda pulled out of the sport. The only problem was getting an engine that fitted well and securing the budget.
        The double diffuser was only worth two tenths of a second, but the Brawn Mercedes humiliated the competition. It was the result of one year of 100% monster budget development having made no serious mistake, having had a good idea, the drivers to take it home and a lucky hand.

        If the double diffuser had made the difference why have Red Bull been the second best team, even though they didn’t have it and where were the Williams and Toyota who did?

      2. Two tenths? Where did you get that figure?

        Williams and Toyota had other problems to deal with (lack of power being one). Also, not everyone got a full year to develop their double-diffuser before testing, which is a huge advantage given its complexity. Williams and Toyota didn’t have that advantage, and their designs mostly just took advantage of the area under the rear crash structure, rather than a full double-diffuser like Brawn.

        The proof of Brawn’s car being mediocre that year was in how Red Bull caught up to them and surpassed them with a semi-reliable car and a double-diffuser that was hardly optimized due to their pullrod rear suspension. The Mercedes engine was also a huge advantage over anything that Renault or Toyota put out that year, or what Honda provided the year before. The drivers even said it was not only more powerful through the rev range, but had a smoother power delivery too.

        Red Bull had a great car that year, and Brawn had a gimmick that was able to keep them ahead for half of the year. Once everyone else got that gimmick, they were fully caught up.

  22. Matthew Atkin says:

    It’s a very pretty looking car; I think the livery is very nice this season. I share other fans disappointment that HRT and Marussia have once again missed pre-season tests, but they do at least seem to be inching closer to those deadlines each and every season (if only by a few days), and the increased technical partnerships for both teams seem to be getting better each year too.

    62 miles doesn’t give them much time to work out kinks in the car, but it does at least mean that some work will be done before Melbourne, and so they do seem to be in slightly better shape than at this point last season.

  23. Sean says:

    Sure it’s a graceful looking car, but all of their cars thus far have been graceful looking. Incidentally they have all looked the same, this car included.

    The front wing looks less complicated than the 2011 wing, I wonder just how much aero development they’ve done on the car.

    1. tim says:

      This car does not look the same as the last. Sorry, but it doesn’t. It’s clearly different.

  24. Kay says:

    In some ways I feel sorry for them for the state they are in, possibly due to bad management / financial issues. Nonetheless I sincerely wish them best of luck!! I do wish to see them move up the grid at some point, hopefully sooner than later.

  25. I’ve been watching F1 since 1994, and I can’t recall a season in which the cars have all looked *so* dramatically different.

    You have the Ferrari/FI stepped & cut nose, the McLaren & Marussia ‘standard’ nose, the Mercedes stepped and bowed nose, the HRT stepped and downwards pointing nose, and the remaining teams (if I recall correctly) all going for the step-flat duck-bill nose.

    It will be really interesting seeing them all pelting around a race track at the same time. :)

  26. Kurt says:

    Bin the back markers and make those who can afford it run 3 cars- junior drivers get to drive a competitive car and a chance to challenge the established drivers. Team can use 3rd car for additional package evaluation making them more competitive.

    1. Jeff says:

      Thereby increasing the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ in F1. Nope – not in favour of that.

      It’s good to have the minnows on the grid, as even the back of the grid battle adds interest to the whole F1 story, and the 107% rule is enough to stop anyone from being slow enough to be dangerous. I hope HRT can at least mix it with Virgin/Marussia this season.

      Caterham look like they may have made the leap up to the midfield. Maybe Marussia and Virgin will also be closer to the rest this year.

  27. surya kumar says:

    Hi James,

    Off the topic, Read Elsewhere that Jamie Alguesari is Joining you as a commentator for BBC Radio 5 live?.

    1. James Allen says:

      That is correct. Great news

  28. Scott L says:

    Hi James

    Are HRT still using the Dallara tub or is this a new design, it’s just some aspects look similar when you look at last years car
    Cheers
    Scott

  29. PaddockF1 says:

    I think it’s good to have the lower classes of F1 including HRT. Their purpose imo is to provide additional seats for young untested drivers – even though it’s not quite the case with HRT. I can see Pastor Maldonaldo in the HRT one day. It will be interesting to see if Caterham can escape them and relegate say Williams or Sauber.

  30. Dmitry says:

    I wonder how fast is this HRT… or actually slow… at least they finally passed crash tests. If they can’t race they at least can spectacularly crash out =)

  31. Hks7mgt says:

    So how we’re the times on the ‘filming day’ compared to previous f1 events? Any bit comparative or was timing not allowed?

    1. Justin says:

      they have to use “control tyres”, they do not offer near the grip the race pirelli’s do, for filming days.

  32. DaveF says:

    Somebody at HRT must have a passion for F1 given that they keep tagging along at the back. But they really need some kind of master plan or they are never going to get anywhere. Not doing any testing is never good and with no sponsorship how are they going to fund developing this years car never mind build one for next year and be able to test that before the start of the season?

    Talking of sponsorship, what right minded company is going to sponsor a team that employs Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan? I’m not wishing to be cruel as they are clearly going to be better F1 drivers than me but they really are probably the worst of the current crop of drivers (not taking into account any of this years rookies of course as too early to say about them). Other than the drivers own personal sponsors I can’t see any company investing in HRT as even if they sort out the car they’ve got nobody capable of extracting the best from it.

    1. Nathhulal says:

      And that somebody is Narain Karthikeyan :)

      I respect the zeal of the guy (and trust of his sponsors in him). He might well have been making monies driving the chevys in US. Given their market interest in Indian market, Chevy would have been more than happy to build on the relationship they were developing by running the Indian in Chevy powered Truck.

      And here we have him funding the team which barely makes to grid every year.

  33. JoulSauron says:

    Here some thoughts from Spain. Although it’s team’s third year, for the people working there it’s the very first year as the structure of the team has been renewed in a 80%. I remind you that HRT team started from scratch, unlike the rest of new teams which inherited resources of the previous teams they bought. I think HRT deserves more time and we should should wait for 3 or 4 years until this new structure (the one started in 2011 after the new owners and not the one form 2010) can produce results.

    Having said that, I strongly agree with you guys when you say HRT needs money in order to develop, and it’s very sad that no-one from Spain want to spend money unless they get profit tomorrow – typical Spanish. Yesterday I read somewhere that after renewal, HRT had to buy even the most basic tools for the workshop, which says quite a lot about how things where made in the last two years. Again, I think we should give a new chance to the team to catch up the mature teams. The first two years of HRT (Hispania) where to me as the typical Spanish company: spend nothing and wait results from the air. But now we can see some results, the car is finished before the tests of the first race. I know for many of you it’s hilarious, actually for me it’s also very funny, but seriously, it’s a new team, let’s give them some time. I hope they can get the founding they need as soon as possible.

    1. gond says:

      Your comment is very interesting, really, but the opinions on “typical Spanish” are out of place. With all my respects, get over the “little man complex”. Sorry to say.
      Good Luck to HRT, their story is quite an interesting one to follow.

    2. Jeff says:

      Which teams did Caterham and Virgin buy?
      Granted, Virgin/Marussia have so far been as unimpresive as HRT, but Caterham are at least making a decent attempt (including getting their car through Crash tests quick enough to get it out on track for pre-season testing).

      HRT and Marussia need to start showing improvement soon, or they’ll never be able to get or keep sponsors.

    3. anonymous says:

      Well as I see it: Caterham have a clear plan, they have a well experienced technical lead, hired some good people lately and they have some money in the back. They seem to do it all “step by step” and each step seemed to be an improvement.

      Virgin had a plan but somehow Wirth should acknowledge that he will never be a designer famous for great cars in Formula-1, he may have the best CFD-Tools on the market but “a fool with tool is still a fool”, which is not meant pejorative, but his capabilities as a designer don’t seem to be good enough for being exceptionally successful in Formula 1. Virgin still have a plan, they must have built this year’s car with CFD again (have they started their wind tunnel tests already, James? And if so: When?), but they are switching to the mainstream development process at the moment, have a working team, an experienced technical lead (Pat Symmonds), who has been involved in building some pretty good cars and they have started a cooperation with McLaren to be able to use McLaren’s tools, facilities and engineers who know their tools best. They certainly have a plan!

      But where is HRT’s plan? All they seem to do is get rid of staff, modify their first car over and over again, move from one headquarter to the next and the latest deals I’ve heard of were a contract with a Michelin star cook for catering (not a tire-baker for understanding car dynamics) and a cleaning enterprise for cleaning the leftovers. They honestly employed the man who designed the hilarious Toyota TF101 as chief designer, after having Jackie Eeckelart for just three months, just after Geoff Willis left. Do they have revolving doors in their office already and if so: in which one of those they’ve been in recently? Honestly: Are they serious about Formula-1 or do they just like to get to know loads of new people and support the local movers business?

  34. vvipkho says:

    Caterham ahead them now for midfield fight.

  35. Tom says:

    James,

    Would it be possible for you to run an article on the struggles the teams at the back of the field face?

    It seems dissapointing that as so many people have indicated above that neither HRT or Marussia are able to make any progress and appear to be rolling obstacles for the rest of the field, including Caterham who seem to be moving int he right direction.

    1. anonymous says:

      http://www.f1rejects.com/ has excellent articles on that.

  36. You know? I hope they start making progress, I think it’s sad for any team to come this far and not make it. Just to get into F1 is a feat in itself, so come on guys support them. I’m sure if this happens year on year, then they will surely recognise this just isn’t happening and perhaps pull out or sell, if they are clever enough to get in they must surely be clever enough to recognise when time is up.

    I can’t say Im mad on their livery, colours are fine, I just think the lines are too thin, I feel it needs to be bolder, I quite liked their design last year

  37. Paul H says:

    I’m wondering if both Marussia and HRT would have achieved an amount of testing if the rules still stated that you only had to pass the crash tests for the first race. I’d like to think that it is the failure to pass some of these that has caused the delays rather than simply poor management.

    How much has the management structure actually changed at HRT? I know Kolles has gone but who else? Marussia have also gone through a large upheaval in operating practice so I expected them to struggle with time this year.

    If HRT get KERS and Marussia stick without, I expect the final standings to be the same as the last two years. I expect it to really help Caterham bridge the gap to the midfield, certainly by mid season.

    In fairness though, considering that the teams were brought in with the dream of budget caps so they can operate on much reduced budgets, I think to be preparing for a 3rd season is quite an achievement. Much better to have a smaller team at the back in the their own mini championship than 3rd cars from the bigger teams locking out even more of the grid.

  38. I’ve been watching F1 since 1994, and I can’t recall a season in which the cars have all looked *so* dramatically different.

    You have the Ferrari/FI stepped & cut nose, the McLaren & Marussia ‘standard’ nose, the Mercedes stepped and bowed nose, the HRT stepped and downwards pointing nose, and the remaining teams (if I recall correctly) all going for the step-flat duck-bill nose.

    It will be really interesting seeing them all pelting around a race track at the same time. :)

  39. Michael Brown says:

    You only need to see how really basic that front wing is compared to the ‘proper’ teams (even Caterham) to understand how little resources they have and that they have absolutely NO chance of leaving the back of the grid.

    1. vvipkho says:

      Caterham got right people to do it like Mike(Group CTO) and Mark (Technical Director) inside the team.

  40. Doug says:

    By far the best looking of the stepped nose cars, I wish them luck!

  41. F430-Fox says:

    I’m surprised to still see Liuzzi in the team. I thought HRT had dropped him / released him from his contract.

    Or is there more to it? Does he still has a chance of driving the car this season? Do you know more, James?

    1. MichaelG says:

      Yes, I noticed he was in the picture.

      Does this mean he’s “still in the picture?”

  42. Ray says:

    Nice to see the entire crew in the photo with the car there to lift spirits.

    HRT and Marussia… really both of them might as well have just pretended to build a car like the USF1 guys.

  43. Iwan says:

    I truly wish them all the best. They could’ve packed up last year or the year before that or even this year, but they are still out there living the dream. BMW and Toyota both left. After spending LOTS more. Honda too.

    I still don’t think the problem is only with them. F1 needs to sit itself down and look at its business model. The brand and market perception is already there. The same can be achieved with a lot less money. In actual fact, more people will tune in to watch if any of five or six teams could take a podium on a Sunday.

    Where will the fans of the future come from with kids not going to see the cars live? Imagine a F1 with people in the stands…

    Anyway…best of luck to them. Hope they have a season good enough to attract new sponsors.

    1. Iwan says:

      Would like to add that one can argue that BMW, Toyota and Honda were all also-rans…just not at the back of the grid!

      [Heaven help if we have another massively dominant season from one team.]

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Are you forgetting that killer Brawn car was essentially a Honda? would be interesting to know if it would have ran even better with the Engine it was designed around? Anyway Honda will certainly be kicking themselves now with the sales revenue they have likely lost from that seasons end and behond. Where would they be now?? better than Redbull? up there still? who knows!

      2. Probably less competitive. The drivers said the Mercedes had more power across the rev range AND was smoother in its delivery. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was lighter too.

    2. tim says:

      I almost wonder if a system needs to be put in place like that in NHL hockey or other competitive sports. You finish last in a season, you get first round draft picks. For F1, it could be a financial boost to lift you out of the basement. By guaranteeing Ferrari gets more than its fair share of the TV revenue, F1 basically ensures teams at the bottom end will barely survive. Who benefits from this? Nobody. Ferrari and the other top teams would be better served if F1 as a whole was healthier for all involved, in my opinion.

      1. Phil says:

        I like that idea of ‘draft picks’. But could it lead to tanking by teams. Say, Willams has a dog of a car again, might it be better for them to try and finish last to get those extra resources?

  44. paxdog says:

    Is that Luizzi in the photo?

      1. Wat.

        Seriously though, do you know what his role is? Two years in a row that a year of his contract was cut off. Is he a reserve driver since he’s still on contract? Or an advisor? Both? Just a pretty face for photos?

        I bet he might step in if de la Rosa doesn’t deliver (since they’re already paying him).

  45. gary says:

    Hi James,

    With teams leaving FOTA, Murussia & HRT struggling to survive has all been forgotten about the resource agreement? Lets not forgot these teams and lotus/caterham came into the sport with the belief that all teams would be operating on significantly smaller budgets then they are now (even though there has been reductions). Once the new teams got in and settled talk of the resource agreement all but disapeared. Can Murussia & HRT, possibly even Caterham really expect to compete on significantly lower budgets with minimal outside sponsorship & FIA funds?
    While the feeling is more positive at Caterham do we really expect any of these three teams to be around in say another three years time?

    1. James Allen says:

      No the RRA is still in force and it’s about to enter a new phase. I’ll write about it soon

  46. RobH says:

    That front wing looks so crude and basic in design compared to even the midfield, let alone the top 3. Does nobody from the team have a camera in the pit lane? ;)
    Aside from that it looks a nice car, good luck to them.

  47. smellyden says:

    I doubt you would not be able to confirm but was Karun ever thought of? I mean he did some stints in the commentary box last season and I really enjoyed his insight, he also knew alot of the history of F1 too!

    1. James Allen says:

      I can’t comment on that beyond saying that he decided some time ago to race in sportscars in 2012

    2. I don’t think he’d want to go back, after how the team treated him (or Bruno) that year. I don’t think either driver really got what they deserved… but that’s just what I gathered from various comments and articles. ;-)

  48. Aligner says:

    To those who think it’s a “pretty car” – sure, if you think that straight lines are in for front wings this year. Perhaps HRT will be the surprise package for 2012 and those muppets at maclaren, RBR and others who’ve gone for stupidly complex front wings with curves and stuff are horribly misguided.

    Looks to me like they designed it with sticklebrix and then spread some of that paper that shrinks (the stuff you made balsa wood aeroplanes with) over it.

    Also would have loved to be fly on the wall when the programme manager said “Look, if we all work really (really) hard we can just about get it ready for the day after testing finishes!”.

    Unbelievable.

  49. Bayan says:

    Great to hear about Jamie joining BBC commentary. Will try to get that on days I can’t get F1 live. Congrats to Jamie but I hope I see him in F1 driving next year.

  50. Krishna says:

    Pretty car. The lack of sponsorship is clearly evident however I think it looks plenty fast sitting still – in many ways Marussia looks like it may do better than the HRT this year without the silly CFD only design philosophy.

    Having McLaren in their pocket may also help Marussia come to the fore.

    I wonder what Liuzzi’s role is in this team, perhaps he may take over from PDLR?

    1. Andrew Kirk says:

      Maybe he has yet to be told that he isn’t driving for them :P

    2. RossI says:

      I suspect Narin just like last year may only do the first few races and the Indian GP. Would not be surprise to see Luizzi doing the European races and perhaps Clos getting the last few races.

  51. David says:

    I feel sorry for HRT. They really tried to get the car out for the second test and sadly ran out of time due to failing crash tests. They are a small workforce moving base and so any set back quadruples the recuperation time for the team.

    The article on Caterham when they launched their car in F1 racing magazine shows how hard it is to develop in one year and be ready for the next. HRT really can’t do either with it’s team let alone both and until someone sponsors them this will be the route to their problems.

    I don’t really think the stick both back markers are getting is justified and very harsh. Go and do what they have to do – a team like Caterham with it’s larger work force – large amounts of money and fantastic people have only just caught the rear of the field and even now they look like they’ll only just be on the back of it. It’s very hard to create an F1 team from scratch and really the fact that HRT beat Virgin last year shows how plucky they can be

    1. ACB says:

      I agree, I saw the video of the launch of the F112 and the crew were so happy and relieved they looked like they’d just won the WDC.

    2. Stone the crows says:

      I agree, I watched the video of the HRT rollout and shakedown, the crew looked like they’d just won the WDC. Must have been quite an effort to get it all together. I hope they have some positive results this year.

  52. Simon says:

    I know the chances are probably slim to none – but I would love to see some more information/video/pics of the work done on the crash tests of the chassis.

  53. Phil says:

    So how untill Narain Karthikeyan gets replaced again? Do HRT really think he’s going to do any better this year! What a joke

  54. Simon says:

    I mean in general, not just HRT.

  55. Rich C says:

    It probably won’t happen, but frankly, I hope they just blow the doors off some of the others and shut the lot of you up.

    Many of you seem to think that its a fail if they don’t land on the podium their 1st season.

    Couldn’t be because it’s a bunch of [rude English term for Spaniards here] could it?

  56. Ben G says:

    Glad HRT have abandoned the ‘your name here’ stuff.

  57. Tyler says:

    I think its one of the better looking cars on the grid. Im not a HRT hater…I like the minnow teams… I always pull for the underdogs. I found the 2011 Lotus/Marussia/HRT battle as interesting as the one at the front of the grid.

    That being said im in agreement with the comments questioning how this is worth anyone’s investment. To not even attend a test session….what do they hope to gain? I found it telling that both HRT and Marussia unveiled thier cars EXACTLY a day after the final test. It does show the difficulty of F1. But if the program is not funded well enough to attend test sessions… whats the point really?

  58. Alex says:

    Best looking car of the year in my opinion! Just a shame that it’s going to be the slowest…

  59. The guardrail in the second photo looks like the victim of a terrible photochop!

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