Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT, Melbourne, 2011

HRT say qualifying “should not be a problem”

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT, Melbourne, 2011
Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT, Melbourne, 2011

HRT team principal says the team should be able to beat the 107% time and qualify for the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.

Kolles said: “The expectations for Malaysia are to get back to normality. We know that the car has potential and we hope that we will be able to get all updates on the cars.

“The 107% should not be an issue under normal circumstances. The target is to do as many laps as possible in free practice in order to prepare for the qualifying session and for the race.”

The team only managed seven laps with the F111 during practice in Melbourne.

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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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44 comments on “HRT say qualifying “should not be a problem””

  1. If they don’t, I don’t see how they are going to be able to progress in Formula 1. I know they were short of cash, but I see no reason why they should not make at least one of the tests before the start of the season seeing as they hardly developed last years car!

  2. Good luck HRT, you really are going to need it.

  3. Sush Meerkat
    4th April 2011, 17:10

    I don’t see why not?

    Surely taking last year into consideration, whereby HRT had no upgrades but kept in touch with Virgin by unlocking speed out of the car through set up work, I don’t see it being that much of a problem once they actually run the cars!.

    A big problem I foresee with HRT and the 107% qualifying rule is when the big boys bring in half a second upgrade packages, or lets say on Aero Dependant tracks (Hungary) where the Red Bull’s will fly 2 seconds faster than the rest of the field HRT will be left wanting.

    1. They do need to run their car in order to unlock potential and with the rest of the field having run there cars so much they are already strides ahead in unlocking setup.

      I complete agree with your point though….they are going to really struggle once Ferrari, Mclaren , Redbull etc start pulling out new floors and other aero parts.

      1. Geordie Porker
        4th April 2011, 17:24

        And yet, McLaren managed what they did with an unknown package. I’m not having a go at HRT, but I think that more than extra development cash, they need a few design engineers / aero guys who can help to understand their package better.

        But the point about top teams developing mid season is very true and very worrying.

        For me, I hope that they manage it and can bring some upgrades to the car this year – I can’t help but want the new teams to be able to come into F1 and bring themselves up to speed in ‘a few years’ so that longer term we might see more privateers able to compete with the ‘big boys’

        1. As we have not really seen those cars race, I will reserve judgement on that. Willis is pretty much capable of making progress on a car, they might have an advantage on Virgin there.
          The big question will be how far Red Bull will flex its wings in Q1 to give them a chance to be within some 7 seconds of that pace.

          Kolles might even be hoping for a bit of rain, that might make it a bit easier to get allowed in if they show a solid few laps running the car without parts falling off in FP1-FP3.

        2. HRT =/= Mclaren

        3. Williams4Ever
          4th April 2011, 17:52

          And yet, McLaren managed what they did with an unknown package.

          Does Best Simulator on the Grid and Gary Paffett ring any bell?

          One cannot really compare turnaround times of McLaren, Ferrari, Redbull and even Renault (remember 2010 when every update they brought to car delivered performance like clockwork) to that of Lotus, Virgin or HRT, who are essentially operating in the 40M Budget cap.

        4. The difference with McLaren though is they have many many years experience working together in a high speed, high pressure environment; they have the organisational know how, and have learnt over time how to deal with crisises, like they had this year.

          HRT however are relatively new, who struggled to get their car on track during the Australian GP practise sessions, and now it looks like they are going to have a McLaren style crisis in the lead up to every race in order just to make the 107% time. I don’t think it will matter how many excellent design engineers, fabricators etc they employee, if they are a being pushed to the absolute limit, with a minimal budget day in day out for the whole season, they are going to burn out.

          To me it looks as if there is an organisational, and possibility a budgetary problem at HRT which needs to be solved before they will be able to make any real progress towards becoming a competitive team.

  4. I think very little of the way HRT is managed and the constant rubbish they feed the press but to not be way off the 107% rule in what was basically a shake down in Melbourne has to give them good chance.

  5. The 107% should not be an issue under normal circumstances.

    Key Work = ‘Should’
    Is Kolles running for office? – he ‘should’.

    1. But what are normal circumstances, eh Colin?

      If Virgin is feeling insecure about making it through Q1 to qualify inside of 107% this surely is not going to be a cake walk for HRT, is it? Narain feels it will be fine, as he probably knows the circuit quite well. But Liuzzi sounds just as sombre about their prosprects as Glock sounded about Virgins.

      1. Yes, ‘Normal circumstances’ is a good set of words when trying to get votes.

        I trust Glock and Liuzzi’s comments a bit more than Narain as they’ve actually driven somewhat competitive F1 cars in the last couple of years and could probably tell the difference.

    2. I suspect by “normal circumstances” he means “if Vettel doesn’t bolt on a set of softs in Q1, which I pray every night he won’t”.

      1. I interpret “normal circumstances” in this context as having the 3 practice sessions worth of running to set up and get the most out of the car they have, instead of a shakedown in qualifying as they did in Oz.

      2. Which begs the question:

        If RBR have a huge gap to the next best car and HRT (or any other team for that matter) are well within 107% of the best non-RBR runner (but not the faster RBR) would the stewards allow them to race?

        1. That would probably depend on how they have shown to behave on track in FP1-3. But from the comments by Whiting I would not count on that if I were HRT.

          Mabye rain during Q1 will be a bigger hope for them.

          1. Mabye rain during Q1 will be a bigger hope for them.
            Considering that that got them one grid spot off of Massa last year, and Glock was ahead of both McLarens and both Ferraris, you can bet they're praying for a little chaos like that again, but that won't necessarily help them now that 107 is back, plus I don't expect McLaren and Ferrari will make the same mistake again this year...

          2. Whoops. Looks like something didn’t work out there with my quote tags.

        2. Jarred Walmsley
          4th April 2011, 19:40

          I’d say that would fall under the exceptional circumstance rule and they would be allowed to race, because they would have shown they have good enough pace to keep with in a reasonable time of all the other cars.

      3. LOL, something pretty close to that I suspect, Keith!

  6. I really hope they make it, not being able to start races is only going to make their financial situation worse.

    1. On the one hand i agree but on the other hand if you’re not going to bother testing when nearly everyone else is you get what you deserve.

      Turning up with a car with zero testing and expecting to qualify is the sign of a madman I’d say.

      1. You’re right, they’ve not helped themselves, but I don’t want to see another team go under.

      2. not going to bother testing

        I don’t think the reason they didn’t test was laziness.

        1. yeah quite. I think they were straining every bit as hard as others, but their circumstances were different.

  7. HRT always manages to surprise by doing things in an unorthadox way. We laughed at them bringing in, for use of a better phrase, ‘has beens’ in Sakon Yamamoto and later Christian Klein, but they still didn’t finish last.

    This year it will be more of the same but as long as they have enough finances to make it through to the end of the season, they have a decent enough chance of beating Virgin again, which will be their realistic target set for 2011.

    If I was Virgin, I would be worried, do they have enough money themselves to keep updating the car and making sure it stays ahead of the HRT, who should get better when they iron out issues and improve set up with the Williams rear end, which will come with more track time.

    Yes we laughed, but the truth is HRT are in a better position to ‘not finish last again’ than we think.

    1. I want to see the HRT in action so we can see how they fare against Virgin. Virgin seem to have produced a pretty slow car, and only just qualified for the last race, so if HRT can get their car working properly then they might find they’re pretty close on pace.

      That said, HRT beat Virgin last year by reliability, not pace, but this time round I imagine HRT having more reliability issues.

      1. That said, HRT beat Virgin last year by reliability, not pace, but this time round I imagine HRT having more reliability issues.

        I agree, but I also foresee them having more pace once they get to grips with their car.

  8. Steve Lyons
    4th April 2011, 18:00

    Hm, not sure if this is fiction, science fiction or fantasy. Can’t see how they can attract people to fill all those “your logo here” or “your name here” spaces on the cars when they may just make it to Q1 with a bit of running, if the various bits don’t get stuck in customs. Most TV coverage of the team so far has been interviews with Colin Kolles or drivers, not that much seen of the car. Would think sponsors would like to see more of the car on track to show a better return on their investment, not excuses from ‘talking heads’.

  9. I doubt virgin or HRT will qualify in Malaysia. They really aren’t going in the right direction!

  10. When you look at the scope of configuration options, wings, gear ratios, damper settings, roll bars, tyre pressures, springs, all with almost infinite settings, you can understand why it was all but impossible to beat the 107% rule after just 2 laps. When you also consider the fact that they also lack the historical data most of the well established teams have accumulated over time, it was amazing they came close to beating the time.
    All they just have do next weekend is fill the car up with fuel and then run two dfferent settings for at least 15 laps each and only do less laps if the setup turns out to be a dead end.
    They should look to covering a minimum of 60laps per driver in each of the friday sessions barring any reliability issues.

  11. Its too late for this but I think it would make more sense for a qualifying time threshhold to be aqgainst the mean or median grid time rather than the very top time. Or there should be a “par” for the circuit based on historical lap times or a simulation, which are very accurate now. What is the point of measurng HRT against RBR/VMM/SFM? Just because RBR turn up with their captured alien spaceship and put in an obscene qualifying time, as in Hungary last year, that does not say anytihng about whether HRT is “competitive.”

    1. I too have been tinking along those lines. A median time will be te best approach. Or the fastest lap is knocked.
      This makes me wonder at a hypothetical situation. It goes like this… Seeing that both Saubers were disqualified after the race, meaning they also had the “illegal” cars in qualifying, assuming they had set the fastest time in Q1 several tenths ahead of the other runners, it will mean their time was also invalid during qualifying, hence the 107% cutoff like wise invalid.
      This scenario should justify the use of a median time.

  12. Well what else should he say? If he had said that they would be going to struggle a lot to make the race in Malaysia they could just as well lock down the factory and sell the cars to some rich Arabian as a toy car for his son.
    That said, i really hope they will make it. Generally i don’t like them as a team, because of the way they swapped drivers last year, but obviously they were desperate. Nor did i like Kolles comment after the season that it was the drivers fault that HRT didn’t finish 10th in the constructors championship.
    But what i do like is that they are trying.
    They are in a very tight economical situation and a lot of people are bashing them for not getting sponsors, not getting on the pace, being to lazy to show up for tests and that their car is a piece of crap.
    They didn’t give up after a pretty bad 2010 season, and i doubt they will give up until they are forced to close either by their bank manager or FIA who likes to push them into the abyss of debt and tears with the new 107% rule.
    They go against all odds and i find that very fascinating and inspiring.

  13. HRT say qualifying “should not be a problem”

    The problem is organising the funds to fly the drivers, team and the car parts all the way to Malaysia. Once they get there I’m pretty sure they will set the world on fire!

    1. Once they get there I’m pretty sure they will set the world on fire!

      I’m sure they will. Hopefully the cars setting laptimes after them can avoid the oil spillage though.

  14. Anyone know if HRT are allowed to use their 2011 yet? Because they had to use last years because this years failed a crash test I think…

    1. They had to use last year’s front wing. The car passed the crash tests, but the wing did not.

  15. I don’t see why people think this is going to be a massive issue. Remember last year, when they built the car in Bahrain and ran it for the first time in qualifying? They then made it to every other race on the calendar and took part in every practice session. I see no reason why that should be different this year. They built the car in Australia; the most important parts are done. All they have to do in Malaysia is put the bodywork on, and they’ll be able to take part in all the sessions again, improving the odds of making it into the race. especially since they’ll have their 2011-spec front wing.

  16. As stinging as my criticism of them was 2 weeks ago, I hope they can make it onto the grid this time.

    I actually think they will, since although they missed the cut by a couple of seconds at Albert Park, it is easier to find 2-3 seconds when you’re 8 seconds off the pace than when it is when you’re at the front. Especially if they can do some proper Friday & Saturday practice running.

  17. I don’t think they will be racing until Spain!

  18. Really do hope they make it but if Melbourne is going to be the trend moving forward they really need to reconsider their position in F1.

  19. I think the two critical elements here are

    1.) Is the 2011 wing no past the crash test (the front wing and air over the car is critical

    2.) Do redbull hammer a lap on the soft tyre.

    I’ve got a lot of faith in Geoff Willis, a williams back end and a cosworth engine. Willis has proven he knows which way is up, and I’d hope they have made a good improvement with the car.

    For them to turn up with the 2010 front wing and get so close to virgin after what was a shakedown, I’d be comfortable they’ll be better than virgin this year (as long as their funding is OK).

    Glad to see the haters have quietened down a bit. I like an underdog, and I’d really like to see HRT prove some people wrong.

Comments are closed.