HRT announce new partner

2010 F1 season

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Bruno Senna, HRT, Interlagos, 2010

HRT’s new partner is a Spanish businessman who helped bring Telefonica sponsorship to Minardi in the 1990s.

The team say the arrival of businessman Juan Villalonga will allow them to meet their aim of having “a much more competitive team”.

A statement released by the team said:

As soon as the agreement was made, both parts said that their partnership has been established to reinforce the team, create and strengthen the project of the first ever Spanish Formula 1 team. The immediate aim, following the recently announced agreement with Williams F1, is to be able to have a much more competitive team. Jose Ramon Carabante and Juan Villalonga met [Bernie] Ecclestone to explain the project and the future of Hispania Racing.

Villalonga’s role will involve bringing new sponsors to the cash-strapped team. Owner Jose Ramon Carabante said:

He has always felt, as I do, a clear passion for motorsport.

We will substantially strengthen our ability to generate innovative activities in marketing and sponsorship with his incorporation.

We will also be able to make the best of his leadership, knowledge and relationships in the fields of Technology and Communications, and therefore be able to fully exploit the opportunities we are given after this tough first year.
Jose Ramon Carabante

Villalonga said "the key is the quality and not the quantity of sponsors", adding:

Formula One is always associated with innovation, research and technology, and Hispania Racing must be represented on that level, with a stable leadership
Juan Villalonga

During a five-year tenure with Spanish telecommunications firm Telefonica from 1996 to 2000 Villalonga brought them into F1 by sponsoring Minardi.

Read more: Williams to supply gearboxes to HRT in 2011

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “HRT announce new partner”

  1. That seems like very good news. I guess we were all waiting for something like this when HRT got that Williams drive train deal to see how they could afford it. The team definitely learned to get the most out of the car they could, if they can keep that in mind while also having some updates things look up again.

    Virgin might even need to up their game/investment, to keep ahead. I am sure Bernie agrees anyway :)

    1. Virgin are already spending less than Hispania did and they’re in front.

      1. Yes, this year. But they have not announced new sponsors and technical deals as far as I know, so with other teams moving on, they might well be left behind in the coming years.

        1. Maybe Branson needs to dig deeper into his pockets…

    2. Ehm, so far Virgin might have been faster this year, but they are actually behind HRT in the championship due to poorer reliability.

      With regards to the finances, the way this is worded does not sound like Juan Villalonga is really bringing a large pot of cash with him, instead having him bring his network in to find backers.
      I suspect, that in the end Maldonado might end up paying for the Williams deal and drive for the team alongside Pedro d/l Rosa.

  2. Well, this is all well and good for Hispania … but what’s this Villalonga guy going to do for them? His primary role seems to be finding new sponsors for the team, but the biggest problem with Hispania was that when they were known as Campos Grand Prix, Adrian Campos fundamentally over-estimated the interest of Spanish corporations in sponsoring a Formula 1 team. It was the same mistake Alain Prost made with his namesake a few years ago: the public just don’t see the need for a “national” team.

    1. Well after all, this was the man that had the inspiring idea to bring spanish ex-state owned Telefonica into Brazil, the move that sprung their succesfull path to the top 3 in telecomunications worldwide.
      And he has been involved in F1 for a long time, all the way backing Alonso and Renault with Telefonica, so his worldwide network will surely help get sponsors on board.

      But to me it does sounds he is not bringing much of his own money along, just his knowledge, image and network to make the team get some credibility to potential partners.

      1. Well, I don’t think he’s going to find many in Spain – Hispania’s only real hope is if Alonso wins the title and there are a few companies who want to get involved but can’t afford the outlay to be associated with Ferrari (or a bank since Santander already sponsor them).

  3. I’d like to say, while everyone was/is putting HRT down, I’ve always had a quiet optimism about them. They’ve done next to no development, and I feel a team that positions itself as a national team, would have some commercial appeal.

    They’ve been very quiet this year on the development front, and I believe this is because they quickly gave up on this years car and started planning for next year. They have the elusive foot in the door of F1, and that’s hard to come by.

    With this news, I think it main gain critical mass, and they should start moving forward to a respectable effort next year. Hopefully we can plot some kind of trajectory, even if in reality theses things don’t pan out, the hope will exist.

    Not so ‘crippled’ next year me thinks.

    1. I might add, that Kolles wouldn’t be hanging around a team that wasn’t going anywhere. He would have walked away. I think the fact he’s still there is a good gauge on the situation at HRT.

      ( Happily Running Twenty-third )
      ( Happily Running Twenty-forth )

    2. Well said. I don’t know if they really started working on next years car early on, but they didn’t have any money to produce new things for this car anyway, so they surely started thinking about all the things they needed to do different with the 2011 car very soon.

      1. They cant have started on next year’s car because they dont build their own cars. This year they went to Dallara they built a chasis for them. Who knows what are they going to do this year.

        1. They have Willis working for them since the start of the season now and quite a lot of ex-toyota staff were taken on board to Kolles base in Germany to work on the project.

          They will certainly have a good idea of what the car we be like for next year, that Williams deal will have been prepared for quite some time now i would thing.
          Building it might be a bit last minute, but they can hardly be less prepared than they were for 2010, what with all data they have gathered over the last year.

        2. It’s said they’re going to buy toyota f1 team.

  4. Good news! I wish them the best of luck and it’ll be interesting to see them next year.

  5. I was expecting a bit more from this announcement, I must admit…

    1. Well, it’s better than nothing..

      1. They’ve done better than USF1 this year. They’ve been at every race, event though they can miss 3 contractually.

        1. Ah, But do they have toasters? I think not!

  6. Prisoner Monkeys
    6th November 2010, 14:10

    Hmmm i make sooo many pointless comments dont I?

  7. Will it be enough to beat Virgin?

    1. This year, they already did so. For next year who knows.

Comments are closed.