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.
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.
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.
Adrian Sutil, the talented Force India driver has told GrandPrix.com that he is keeping his options open with regard any future race seats.
The German driver, who has begun to start scoring consistent points finishes with Force India had until recently spent majority of his F1 career at the back of the grid. However with a rejuvinated Force India team results had been going his way, and he currently lies 10th in the championship ahead of the likes of Rubens Barrichello.
Things have not been quite so rosy for him in the last two races though. At his home event at Hockenheim, a pitlane error caused him to finish the race at the back and saw his team get fined. Then last weekend in Hungary he scored a DNF following a collision with Robert Kubica.
Sutil has been courted by teams in the past, but this is the first time he has openly suggested he may move. With the top teams all being locked down for 2011, his main option for move appears to be with Renault. Talented Russian Vitaly Petrov could be on his way out of the team, and Sutil is in high contention for the race seat fighting against the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Timo Glock and Bruno Senna.
“I’m happy at Force India but I want to move forward,” Sutil said this morning
“The top teams are pretty much closed, so it’s hard to find a better seat than here.
“Scoring points regularly was my goal for this season and next year I want to improve again, whether it’s somewhere else, or here.”
He added: “It’s a tough decision to make right now.
“If you are signing up for something like three years and you’re not confident the team is better, then you shouldn’t do it.”
Sakon Yamamoto is set to replace popular Indian F1 driver Karun Chandhok at the German Grand Prix next weekend, as the Japanese driver makes his second appearance this season for HRT F1.
Yamamoto replaced Bruno Senna in surprise circumstances the evening before the British Grand Prix, a move widely suspected to be about sponsorship money. However it has been revealed in Auto Bild and on popular motoring website Pistonheads that Senna was allegedly replaced because he sent an email criticising team boss Colin Kolles to…wait for it….Colin Kolles himself! A bit of a mistake from the talented Brazilian.
“After Sakon Yamamoto gave a very positive performance in Silverstone, the team has decided to give the Japanese driver another opportunity to drive the car alongside Bruno Senna,” said the team in a statement.
But now pay driver Yamamoto is racing alongside Senna, there has been uproar between fans on Twitter, with campaigns being started to get Chandhok his seat back. The man himself though is less concerned about his situation, believing he will race again this season.
“It’s not defined for the rest of the season and I expect to be back in the car at some races,” the Indian driver told Autosport this morning.
“Probably not all of them, but I do expect to be back in the car and racing soon.”
Sakon Yamamoto has said he is very thankful to the bosses of Hispania Racing for allowing him the opportunity to race for the team at last weekends British Grand Prix.
In a late change to their driver line up, Yamamoto replaced Bruno Senna in the #2 car alongside Karun Chandhok. It was a surprise to many in the paddock, but the outing for the Japanese driver is likely to be a one off with Senna set to take his car back in Germany.
Sakon had a quiet but consistent race, finishing 2 laps off the leaders pace.
“I am very happy that the team achieved its target, another two-car finish,” the former Spyker driver said.
“It was a good experience for me to race in Formula 1 again. I could improve all over the weekend and got a better feeling for the car.
“I want to thank the team for giving me the chance to race here in Silverstone. I was able to show that I am prepared to be back in the cockpit and, whenever I’ll get the opportunity to race again, I will take it. I also want to thank my, fans who always supported me over the years. It was a very special and exciting weekend for me.”
Bruno Senna will race again for Hispania at the next round of the F1 season and on until the end of the season, their team principal Colin Kolles announced this afternoon.
Following the surprise appointment of Sakon Yamamoto, one of the teams two test drivers, to a race seat instead of Senna this weekend, many believed the talented Brazilian was out of his race seat permanently.
However Yamamoto, whose only previous race experience is with Spyker and Super Aguri, will only get the chance of racing this weekend – we are unsure why he is, as yet there is no indication on the reasoning behind the change.
The statement continued to add: “In respect to the rumours about Bruno Senna’s current status with Hispania Racing, HRT F1 Team, the team wants to confirm that Bruno Senna has all the support of the Spanish team, that he remains one of the Hispania Racing, HRT F1 Team official drivers and that he will be continuing to drive in the remaining races of the 2010 Formula 1 world championship.”
Sakon Yamamoto has replaced Bruno Senna in the race seat with Hispania Racing for this weekend at the British Grand Prix, with a view that it could be a permanent change.
Senna, whose Uncle is the late great Ayrton Senna, has underperformed in a car that is frankly terrible. He is still F1 worthy but needs better equipment, and if he is released from Hispania permanently I believe he will get another race seat within weeks.
Yamamoto has another comeback in F1, having previously raced with Super Aguri and Spyker. The Japanese driver is said to be delighted with a return, although many speculate that it is not to do with driver skill moreover it is to do with money, the car does indeed have some new sponsors this weekend.
“A decision as to who will drive for Hispania for the rest of the season will be taken over the weekend,” Colin Kolles cagily told the BBC