Narain Karthikeyan has made a surprise return to Formula One after being announced as one of Hispania HRT’s drivers for the 2011 season.
The Indian driver was unveiled as the first racer to be working with the Spanish based squad, who look likely to enter into a second season of racing despite on-going financial concerns. Karthikeyan first raced in Formula One with Jordan in 2005, before spending a brief time as a Williams test driver. He has also raced in Superleague and in Audi sportscars.
Team principal Colin Kolles said: “It is a great pleasure for us to have signed Narain Karthikeyan as our race driver for the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship.
“I have known Narain for a long time and he can revert to the experiences he gained when he was competing for Jordan Grand Prix and being test and reserve driver for Williams F1. Narain has also been driving in other racing series and running in one of the legendary Audi sportscars in the Le Mans Series.
“I am sure that his experience and speed will be very useful for the team during the season. We are welcoming Narain to our team and we look forward to working closely with him this year.”
HRT have yet to announce their second driver, but it will not be Karun Chandhok. He claims he declined the chance to race for the team. Sources also suggest that Bruno Senna will not be returning as he cannot find enough sponsorship capital. Nico Hulkenberg and Tonio Liuzzi are both linked to the seat with the minnows.
Pedro de la Rosa must secure sponsorship and financial backing of at least €10million to gain a race seat with the Hispania HRT team for 2011 it has been revealed.
The Spanish minnow team have been struggling financially throughout the last season, changing drivers repeatedly in order to maximise sponsorship potential. However, following a deal being cancelled with Toyota last week due to a lack of bill payment for technical information and assistance the future of the team looked bleak.
Owner Jose Ramon Carabante says that the team is safe and will continue with its partnership with Williams. However, he said that as much as he wants Spaniard De la Rosa to drive with the team, he must bring appropriate funding.
“Pedro wants to drive for the team, but he has to bring the sponsorship” Carabante told radio station Cadena Ser
“Without the money, sadly, we can’t find a place for him in the team. We cannot afford such a luxury. He must contribute at least €10million
“Someone like Pedro would be great for the team, because he could really develop the car and give us direction into 2012” he added
The financial security of Formula One minnows Hispania Racing is once again being called into question tonight following a statement that was released late this evening by the Toyota Motorsport Group.
Toyota, a former Formula One team who left the sport at the end of 2009, were in a deal to sell Hispania their un-raced 2010 prototype Formula One car and offer other technical assistance to the team, who featured no less than 4 drivers over the course of this season.
However the deal is now off as Hispania have not paid the Toyota Motorsport Group any of the installments required. Their financial security has been called into question repeatedly over 2010, but team boss Colin Kolles recently said they were totally safe.
“Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) confirms that all cooperation with Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) has been terminated and will not resume,” said the statement.
“TMG retains all intellectual property rights to its current F1 car and is completely free to pursue other projects and support new customers for its high-performance engineering services.
“TMG regrets that HRT has not met its contractual payment obligations and will pursue all available options to reach a satisfactory conclusion to this matter.”
Christian Klien will once again race alongside Bruno Senna at Hispania Racing in Abu Dhabi.
The talented Austrian driver, who previously raced for Red Bull and Jaguar, will be starting his third Grand Prix weekend with the Spanish minnow team having been brought in to replace Sakon Yamamoto.
Klien has already impressed with the car, outqualifying Bruno Senna in both of his previous races. He was unlucky to suffer mechanical problems before the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend which put him 6 laps down before he even started.
“It’s my third chance to compete for the team this season and I’m getting more and more used to the car and the crew,” said Klien, who was initially signed as a test and reserve driver earlier this year before Hispania began rotating its race line-up.
“I hope we can achieve some great results and have a clean weekend. We should have a similar pace to the one in Brazil, so I think we can be a challenge for the [other] new teams.”
Hispania should be seriously considering him for a race seat next year. A talented and overlooked driver is CK, and an all round good bloke.
Pastor Maldonado is set to spend 3 days testing for the Hispania Racing Team at the post-season rookie test at Abu Dhabi following the season’s close event next weekend.
The Venezuelan, who won the GP2 Championship this season, is already scheduled to spend one day testing for Williams. He has been linked with a race seat at the Oxfordshire based squad, but the likelihood of the team dispatching Nico Hulkenberg is looking less likely following his great showing at Interlagos last weekend.
Maldonado said he was excited to recieve the test.
“It will be something special to test with Hispania Racing after being the GP2 champion,” said the Venezuelan. “It will definitely be an experience and one I am looking forward to very much.
“The three days will be very important. I hope to contribute to the development of the team and to accumulate as much experience as possible.
“My previous experience will be very important, at this test in particular. Having the experience that I do can only help me adapt to a new, more complex category. I know as well that it has only increased my determination to be successful.”
Christian Klien is once again set to replace Sakon Yamamoto for the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend at Hispania.
The reasons behind the swap are unknown, but the Japanese driver has been dropped in place of the formerly Red Bull backed Klien for this weekend. Klien drove in place of Sakon at the Singaporean Grand Prix too, and has shown good pace in the slow HRT. He described its handling as “a bit like a rally car” at one point.
“I am excited to come to Brazil where I already raced two times, the last time in 2005, and where I could achieve good results,” said Klien. “The circuit is quite challenging and we are racing anti-clockwise which is going to be tough for the neck.
“There are many slow corners and the long straight at the start-finish-line where high speeds are possible.
“I am very happy to get a second opportunity to do another Grand Prix here after Singapore and I hope that we are doing a good weekend with positive results.”
Hispania and Williams have announced a partnership which will see the Grove based team provide HRT with gearboxes for the 2011 season.
Hispania joined Formula One this season and have experienced a difficult rookie year, with retirements and an off the pace car. They will be hoping for more luck in the next season with an as yet unnamed driver line up.
Lotus, a fellow 2010 debutant team, have already announced they will be using Red Bull gearboxes next year.
“This is a logical partnership, given Williams and Hispania’s mutual relationship with Cosworth,” explains Williams F1 CEO Alex Burns.
“Our gearbox technology has consistently proven itself as both competitive and reliable and hence this agreement will be a positive development for both organisations.”
Reports from Brazil are suggesting that Bruno Senna is “likely” to be replacing Italian driver Jarno Trulli at Lotus for next season.
Senna, who is the nephew of the late three time world champion Ayrton, has had a difficult rookie season in F1 racing with the Hispania team. He has talent, but needs a car to show it in – and the Lotus would certainly give him the backing to do so.
According to Globo Esporte talks between Senna and Lotus are “advanced”. He would be partnering former McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen at the Malaysian backed team.
Jarno Trulli is a stalwart of the F1 paddock, having been in the sport since 1997. He has raced for Minardi, Prost, Renault, Jordan, Toyota and most recently Lotus.
Hispania HRT have been fined $5,000 for their pitlane incident involving Japanese driver Sakon Yamamoto in practice for the Korean Grand Prix today.
The Spanish team let Yamamoto leave the pit garage with one of the tyre warmers still attached. This was in breach of rules 23.1(j), 30.7 and 30.9
“It is the responsibility of the competitor to release his car after a pitstop only when it is safe to do so,” states article 23.1.
Sakon Yamamoto has retained the second race seat in the Hispania HRT Team for the Belgian Grand Prix next weekend.
The Japanese driver who has been consistently off the pace in the backmarker team was chosen ahead of popular Indian driver Karun Chandhok who after 3 races out of the seat must be considering his options for a team move.
Hispania have been rumoured to be having large financial difficulties, and the paddock is awash with rumours that Yamamoto, who previously only drove for Spyker and Super Aguri, is meerly racing because of money he can bring to the ailing Spanish squad.
Speaking about his continued spell in the car, Yamamoto said: “I am looking forward to be back in action after the break. In 2007, I was already running in Spa-Francorchamps with Spyker F1.”