HRT finally run new car but fail to reach race

2011 Australian GP team review

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Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Melbourne, 2011

HRT fell foul of the revived 107% rule after completing just seven laps in practice.

They were over two seconds slower than the next slowest car in qualifying.

The team were using parts of their 2010 aerodynamics including the front wing. The car’s rear wing did not seem to be adjustable, which would have accounted for a significant amount of lost time.

Narain KarthikeyanVitantonio Liuzzi
Qualifying positionDNQDNQ
Qualifying time comparison (Q1)1’34.293 (+1.315)1’32.978

Narain Karthikeyan

Drove the car for the first time in final practice, managing five laps, but wasn’t able to qualify.

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Did even fewer laps than Karthikeyan prior to qualifying. Getting within 1.7 seconds of the target time was a considerable effort for a car that was still being shaken down.

He was 9% slower than Sebastian Vettel’s best time in Q1.

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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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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    53 comments on “HRT finally run new car but fail to reach race”

    1. I fear this is the beginning of the end for HRT. If they don’t qualify in Sepang, then I’d suspect it’s all over.

      1. 100% agree with you.I Actually admire HRT for lasting this long, but I doubt they will still be with us by the end of the season.

        1. dont you mean “107%” haha, that was terrible!

          but i agree if they fail to race the next few times i doubt they will stick around

          1. 107%, good one.

            I don’t think they will qualify at Malaysia. It will be such a test on a car that has had no testing.

            1. Take my words not also in China.

    2. As Keith says, getting a car that’s only run a handful of laps within 1.7s of qualifying is a pretty impressive achievement from Liuzzi.

      That said, the team should have been ready 2 weeks ago – there was supposed to be a GP then before events in Bahrain caused its cancellation.

      I want to see 24 cars on the grid, and I want to see HRT beat Virgin again…so for that reason I hope that once they have got some more laps on this car, that HRT will be able to qualify regularly and once again show that you can gain time simply by understanding and setting up your car better each week – not just by bolting new parts onto it.

      1. Tonio did show it was a good thing they got him to do the job, very impressive. Even Narains times were not bad for a car with only 10 laps of running.

        As for the rear wing, I understood it has its adjuster in the top of the endplates of the rear wing. At least according to the pictures at the launch it looked like it does.

        1. I am still confused as why they didn’t use drs in qualifying as i thing it would have help them in lap time
          they posted two pictures of rear wing with rear wing flap open here

          and with flap down

          1. Given that they only got the car running at the last minute, I guess it was just one more system to check and test.

            But if they can’t get it working soon it’s going to be a serious barrier to their chances of qualifying. Sepang and Shanghai have much longer straights than Melbourne.

            1. I hope they get it working in practice at Sepang, and that they have their 2011 front wing by then. If they can iron out those bumps, they out to be competing with Virgin again. Still, what they did achieve in so few laps is very impressive, and Tonio certainly impressed. Maybe Joe Saward and Robert Kubica were right, and he should’ve gotten the seat at Renault instead of Quick Nick, who certainly didn’t live up to his name in Australia.

          2. Not Shown:
            The mechanic’s hand pushing the wing up and down.

            1. Tough to judge as I haven’t seen them using it while they were shown on TV & that is in the garage, may be they were testing it to see that if they need to pass Red Bull on the straight but didn’t use it.

    3. the-muffin-man
      28th March 2011, 12:38

      The thing that annoys me about jokers like HRT is that they were allowed into F1 in the first place and professional outfits like Prodrive with a proven record in top level motorsport were rejected.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        28th March 2011, 13:05

        Prodrive were rejected for a reason: they previously tried and failed to make the grid. That failure might have been the result of the inability of others to get certain regulations approved, but Prodrive made the age-old mistake of putting all their eggs in one basket. They never consulted with the other teams as to whether they would agree to allowing customer chassis, and when Williams did, Prodrive never considered an alternative. That, alone, shows they do not deserve to be on the grid.

        You should also consider that Hispania was originally known as Campos Grand Prix, spun out from the GP2 team of the same name, and bearing their own impressive resume of success in the feeder category. Colin Kolles, meanwhile, has been a part of Jordan and Midland in the past, and has had success running DTM and Le Mans teams.

      2. Virgin were originally Manor and HRT were orignally Campos, teams which do have a proven record in motorsport.

        The new teams entered the sport under the promise of a budget cap which never materialsed, so it’s easy to see why HRT and to a lesser extent Virgin are struggling a bit.

        1. Prisoner Monkeys
          28th March 2011, 13:11

          And Adrian Campos, who originally ran Campos Grand Prix committed the same mistake as Alain Prost in fundamentally over-estimating public and coprorate demand for a “national” – in this case, Spanish – team. Spain might be mad for Formula 1, but they don’t care for much outside Fernando Alonso.

      3. If Prodrive would have even bothered to apply last time a spot was offered they might have been accepted.
        They didn’t, that spot is now still open (Probably good the FIA did not select anyone. I suspect they would be doing somewhere between HRT and Virgin right now).

        Last time Prodrive wanted to seriously enter was when they thought they could get in with a customer chassis, to avoid all problems HRT, Virgin and Lotus now have with starting at the back and first learning how to actually build a car. Not to mention trundling at the back makes it far harder to get sponsors on board, look at the likes of STR, FI, and to a lesser extent Sauber and Williams.

    4. Firstly I don’t want to take away from HRT’s persistence, with all of the flak they have been on the receiving end of over the winter testing, they still eventually managed to get two cars built and then put them on the race track. That however, is as far as my nice side goes when it with it comes to HRT. In this day and age and where F1 is as a motorsport, it is disgraceful to think that a team are so slow that they can’t even make the race. This is the first time since 2002 that a team has failed to qualify under the 107% rule and with the advances in technology I am finding it hard to grasp just how a team can be that far behind the rest of the field. Even Virgin with no use of a wind tunnel can make the 107% rule and they are painfully slow too.

      When qualifying was over on Saturday, and the BBC were running though the grid positions, to see two large “X” over the HRT drivers, just made me think, this is NOT an F1 team, and they really need to question if they deserve to be in the sport at all. I for one do not see them making any progress this year and I think that with the 107% rule, we may only see this team take to the grid a handful of times throughout the season.

      That is not good enough for F1 and I for one do not think HRT should be allowed in F1.

    5. I think the challenge for Hispania to make the grid on a regular basis is going to be an interesting little subplot for the 2011 season.

      1. As do I. But their limited amount of running will only compound the problem.

        1. Although it does help if you can show up with a car that can be put together in less than 3 days.

    6. We can all speculate and comment on the reasons for HRT’s shortcomings prior to the Australian GP, but the important thing is to look forward.

      Now that they have two cars built and working, they should be able to get in a decent amount of running in free practice at Sepang and work out what the cars like. Once it’s fully shaken down and the drivers have more of an idea of what the car is like they’ll be able to have a better crack at qualifying. Liuzzi was ‘only’ 1.7secs off, which is a decent enough effort, and I’m confident that Tonio at least will make it onto the grid at Sepang.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        28th March 2011, 13:21

        Don’t forget, they were running a 2010 front wing in Melbourne after the 2011-spec failed a crash test. They should be able to get the wing approved within a fornight. Once they do, the car’s aerodynamics will be working properly, and Hispania should be able to qualify on a regular basis.

        1. TheGreatCornholio
          28th March 2011, 13:39

          I totally agree with this and your comment about their trials and tribulations being an interesting sub plot this year.

          1. TheGreatCornholio
            28th March 2011, 13:40

            The reply should’ve been addressed to prisoner monkeys!!

        2. Did it even fail the crash test? Wasn’t it a case of being presented for testing to late to do it before the weekend.
          Whatever the case, they will certainly be able to get the nosecone and wing sorted in 10 days.

          A bit of an uphill battle, but Kolles and the outfit are of the right mindset to get there somehow.

          1. Did it even fail the crash test? Wasn’t it a case of being presented for testing to late to do it before the weekend.

            It failed a crash test. When it was presented at Barcelona, it clearly had a new front wing. Crash tests are not difficult to do, since Hispania re-submitted the F111-spec wing for a second test on Sunday, though the results are unknown.

    7. Seeing those HRT’s running around so slowly and with bits of debris flying everywhere it is almost as cringeworthy than Vettel’s finger.

      HRT are a danger out there to everyone.

      1. Presumably you think the same about the bits of sauber that have been flying all over the place then?

      2. Well if parts falling from car is reason to be disqualified from race than brawn probably shouldn’t have been allowed to race in Hungary gp 2009 with a spring that hit massa on his head and caused life threating accident

    8. It was a shame to not see them in the race yesterday but as many have said before, the season was meant to start two weeks ago. If they don’t get some running in on the enxt practise sessions then they really need to be asking themselves some serious questions.

    9. I think any team turning up to the first GP weekend with a car that has yet to turn a wheel, and then to only get it on track for qualifying, is ludicrous and a safety hazard. Not forgetting it’s two weeks later than they should have been starting the season.

      Personally, I would have expected the FIA to have a rule that any car wishing to start an F1 season must have a certain amount of track running beforehand. 10km, 100km – I don’t know what a sensible level would be, but I do think there should be one.

    10. I’ll guarantee they qualify for the race in Malaysia. Cast iron…..

      no doubt in my mind.

      1. I’d take that bet if I had any money ;)

        1. Lets just remind each other of it when the time comes.

          1. Oh, the drama! :)

    11. TheGreatCornholio
      28th March 2011, 13:43

      I’m actually gonna stick my substantial neck on the line and state that i believe that HRT will be faster than Virgin by the beginning of september.

      The men in white coats will be here any time soon;)

      1. No, if HRT get the car on track timely next races, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them faster than Virgin in at least some of the races. If they do get the DRS to work, put a real 2011 front wing on, and have some time to work on setup, those 2 seconds Liuzzi has to find to best d’Ambrosio, and the extra second for Glock could well be found. Unless Virgin do start updating a bit quicker, as unlikely as that seems right now.

    12. The 107% rule has one major failing in my mind, and its this: A team like HRT, which struggled to get their car to Australia, with no in season testing, have little chance of improving through the season to be able to get within 107%. No improvement, no new sponsors. No new sponsors, no money. No money, good by HRT. That’s not what the 107% rule is about, and if it is, it’s completely bonkers.

      The FIA should modify the 107% rule to allow teams which fail to make the 107% time in qualifying extra testing time (a couple of hours or a race distance at least) either at the race track on Sunday (before or after the race) or whenever they can book time at a test track. It’s the only way teams like HRT can improve in modern F1.

      1. TheGreatCornholio
        28th March 2011, 14:32

        Move aside Jean Todt! lol. Good idea but as Bernie or LDM aren’t fans of the new teams very unlikely to happen.

      2. I agree that you can’t construct a situation where failing to qualify is a disadvantage – Virgin have had 50-odd laps ‘testing’ and HRT haven’t.

        Therefore, I propose that if a team fails to qualify (both cars!) on any GP weekend, that team should be allowed to spend an unlimited amount of time testing from then until the next GP weekend.

        1. Any team that has scored points in the current F1 season is excluded – no skipping out Montreal in order to spend the week testing at Barcelona!
        2. All teams must participate in the first race of the season.

      3. They had plenty of testing time, they just didn’t opt to use it. I’m glad they didn’t qualify, they are an embarrasment.

      4. They Need Extra Time, It’s Only Fair.


        1. I apologise for the caps.

          But only a bit.

    13. why not have testing on thursday for all teams, the cars and teams are all there already- wouldnt that help them get faster?

      1. FP1 & 2 = testing.
        FP3 = setting up for Quali.

        I think if a team doesn’t make 107% (with any car) though (and is excluded from racing) that they should be allowed a testing day, either the Monday after the race or the Thursday before the next one. At least that way they have the chance of clawing themselves back within the 107% threshold.

        1. I agree that a slow car suffers a disadvantage in that it also loses the track-time of race-day.

          The suggestion above of an extra test is good, but not really feasible – especially during the fly-away races. Transportation of the cars is down to Bernie, so there’s going to be scheduling problems of actually getting the car to a test track. Funding problems might make for restrictions here too.

          Another option is to allow testing on the Thursday, which could be good. I’m not sure how it would interfere with the pit-days that occur in some places then. The downside here is that it forces the tracks to have to schedule test time (including marshals & safety equipment) just in case someone failed to qualify at the previous race. They’re not likely to sell any tickets for a “see HRT (maybe)” session, so it will be just more cost. Unless *all* teams should be allowed to test?

          How about letting them use the track on race day, until they get lapped? No extra costs for that one!

    14. I feel sorry for this team that’s genuinely trying their best to get things right, but come race day I didn’t miss them at all. (barely noticed the Lotus cars either on Sunday)

      I hope they make the grid in Malaysia as they really need more running time.

    15. Another hitch to the 107% rule: It forces the team at the back to have to develop the car throughout the season at least as well as the team at the front – well, at least 94% as well.

      Why not just force the car (or driver/car combination) to meet the threshold once, after which they’re good for the rest of the season.

      1. dyslexicbunny
        28th March 2011, 19:29

        Because you then have no motivation to improve at all? It’s like being the Pittsburgh Pirates – show up and hope to collect money.

        Having to meet 107% every weekend makes more sense. As someone else mentioned, I do think they’ll make Malaysia. All they need is the 2011 wing and some setup time and they’ve got a shot.

        Does it get harder? Sure. But I don’t see top teams shaving off more than three seconds over the entire season. And the bottom teams have a lot more ground to gain than top teams.

    16. I know it’s good that HRT are trying and all that, but they’re not technically a new team now. It’s their second year, and McLaren relatively hardly did any testing so I can kind of excuse HRT for not testing it (though they should have at least done some testing, however little). What I find incredible is that they don’t even have the DRS wing. This is pretty poor from HRT; they should have done better than this.

    17. All that time when other teams were testing new parts they were building their car only to understand that they use parts of 2010 with no moveable rear wing,awesome. I do think if they fail to qualify for the race until China I think it will be a good thing for them
      1.Pack everything for 2011 & set to work for 2012.
      2.Sell or leave F1 just Toyota did,the best thing they can do is do some auction on some parts of the car to help Japan.

      Even FIA should take some steps if they fail until China.

    18. There time is up and gone, not even having the car ready at pratice is a sign things are just going down.

      I thought Kolles could have a decent car which he could be in the 107% time and could continue improving. Now it’s over after the extra time (1 month extra) still only having parts instead of a car.

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