The HRT team has finally filled the void left by Geoff Willis following the Briton’s departure to Mercedes towards the end of last year by promoting chief race and test engineer Toni Cuquerella to the role of technical director.
Cuquerella has been with the team since its turbulent early days as Campos in late 2009, the 38-year-old Spaniard having previously worked in F1 circles as a race engineer at Super Aguri before joining BMW Sauber, where he was engineer to Robert Kubica.
Under his new role he will continue to lead the team’s engineering direction at the race track, but with the wider remit also be charged with overseeing a programme of improvements for the F112 as the team look to centralise design and development after the 2012 challenger was put together by the German Holzer Engineering firm in Munich and the team’s chief of aerodynamics Stephane Chosse under the supervision of Jacky Eeckelaert.
Cuquerella said of his new position and his initial remit: “The role of Technical Director implies a great amount of responsibility in terms of coordination and decision making. That’s why I’m very proud that the management considers me to be the most adequate person to carry it out.
“Until now there was a lot of dispersion from within the technical team and that had its repercussions in the concept and quality of the F112. My priority is to solve the current car’s problems to then develop it to its maximum potential, whilst also unifying and expanding the technical department, but I’m confident that we have a good work base and a clear direction to advance and have a good project for the future.”
Since the team’s second takeover by Thesan Capital mid-way through last year the new ownership has sought to create a clearer Spanish identity at the squad, with Luis-Perez Sala taking over from Colin Kolles as team principal, the veteran Pedro de la Rosa being hired to drive alongside Narain Karthikeyan and the move to new headquarters in Madrid underway. The latest reorganisation again heavily compromised the team’s pre-season efforts and, after conducting just a brief shakedown with the F112, failed to qualify first time out in Australia, before making the 107% cut in Malaysia.