HRT will not start the Australian Grand Prix

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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The Australian Grand Prix stewards have confirmed the HRT drivers will not be allowed to start the race.

Pedro de la Rosa and Narain karthikeyan were 1.2 and 1.4 seconds outside the 107% time in Q1 respectively.

It is the second year in a row HRT have failed to start the first race of the season. The pair did a total of 45 laps in first practice.

De la Rosa said: “We did all we could today.

“The team put in a great shift and just making it to today was an accomplishment for us, because these days have been very hard for all of us, including the drivers.

“But there’s a lot of room for improvement and, although it’s true that we have to change many things, we know what they are, so all I can say is that we need to be patient.

“I already said it when I arrived on Wednesday, this is a test for us, it’s our pre-season. The downside is that we’re doing it in front of the cameras because everything is more evident.

“We should have done it before but we lacked the time, so now all we can do is work for Malaysia and the following races and focus on the important areas to make the car quicker”.

Karthikeyan added: “We knew it would be tough coming into Australia but today’s result is hugely disappointing for any driver, there’s no doubt about that.

“We can try and come up with excuses but, at the end of the day, we lacked pre-season running time. We were up against it from the word go and yesterday’s weather wasn’t good which resulted in us losing a lot of dry running, hurting us badly.

“We’ve had a lot of issues with the car, which is something normal during preseason, but the problem is that this weekend was our own particular preseason and we were fighting against the clock. So there’s a fair amount of work to do and hopefully we can improve and move on from this”.

2012 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 will not start the Australian Grand Prix”

    1. Is it just me, or are HRT the only ones surprised that they’re not allowed to race?

      1. Im not sure they are shocked, dissapointed perhaps but otherwise it was obvious to most people they was going to struggle.

        It has to be said, on a side note, that its a (small) credit to Marussia to actually qualify for the race when both teams had no pre-season testing when HRT failed.

        1. I don’t think there was ever actually any real danger of Marussia not making it.

          1. On what basis do you make that comment?

            Maurussia and HRT had similar circumstances.

            1. I’d agree with PM. Pat Symonds pretty much guarantees it.

        2. @sjm Spot on about Marussia. Really impressed with that.

      2. Sad for the guys who worked hard, but the right decision

      3. I don’t get what gives you that impression @prisoner-monkeys, to me they seemed to be expecting that even yesterday, if I go on their facebook and twitter posts.

        Does this sound like a team that were suprised by not getting to race:

        “The team put in a great shift and just making it to today was an accomplishment for us, because these days have been very hard for all of us, including the drivers.

        or this one

        “I already said it when I arrived on Wednesday, this is a test for us, it’s our pre-season. The downside is that we’re doing it in front of the cameras because everything is more evident.

        Narain says much the same, showing they fully expected this to happen.

        All in all they did a pretty solid job. They were closer to it than they have been last year or the year before. And both drivers seemed to get the close to what the current basic setup allowed to do with the car.

        1. @bascb

          I don’t get what gives you that impression, to me they seemed to be expecting that even yesterday, if I go on their facebook and twitter posts.

          Narain Karthikeyan’s comments in the Autosport article on the subject basically read as a case of “We failed to qualify because we weren’t ready. If we were ready, we would have qualified. So we should be allowed to race because we weren’t ready when we normally would have been”. Maybe it was just him, but I got the impression that HRT were fully expecting to race. I know every team goes into a season thinking like that, but I also felt they underestimated the risk of failing to qualify.

      4. At a press conference yesterday, Luis Perez-Sala said their season won’t start until Malaysia, or maybe even China. I doubt he was surprised.

    2. I like HRT, I want them to be in F1 and I believe the 107% rule is unnecessary but rules are rules and both HRTs were clearly behind the threshold so, in my opinion, the stewards have made the right decision. Let’s hope that the team will be able to find enough speed in Sepang.

      1. They were a long way off, not surprisingly due to lack of running & setup work. But this lie last year means that they lose a lot of data gathering from the race. They didn’t do themselves any favours by getting in the way all the time during qualifying

        1. @3dom I wonder how much of an affect that had on the decision. They would have had to start half way round the last corner if they could start and take all the grid drops for block =P

          1. @Jake As we all know 107% is a decent margin, add 1.2 secs (again an eternity in F1) and they would have been lucky to be allowed to race then. I think their blocking was the final straw. Hopefully the running they’ve done in addition to that which they’ll get in practice before the next race will help them improve enough to move forwards

            1. @

      2. I disagree, the 107% is good as you’d expect that in F1, supposedly racings fastest/advanced formula, that a team should be qualifying inside it no problems. HRT managed it in most races last season, I expect that they’l be fine a few races down the line. If this was +20years ago, they wouldnt make it through pre-qualifying and then they would be in a much worse state.

        1. If this was 20 years ago, there wouldn’t be pre-qualifying because it was mainly brought in to reduce the number of cars racing to 26.

          1. Ok you got me on that one ;)

            So the question I would ask is. If they are allowed to race after failing the 107% rule, how slow can you go before being deemed too slow and not allowed to race.

            1. I think they need to be there or thereabouts, or have shown an acceptable pace in practice. I think it needs to look like the car and/or driver is capable of the time as much as anything. HRT haven’t looked prepared enough to improve by a second, so it was reasonable not to let them race. If they were a tenth or two off, perhaps that would have been good enough. I hope so anyway- 107% is such an arbitrary number that they might as well give some leeway.

            2. I agree and I also think that once they’ve made it under the 107% mark a few times the FIA will be a bit more lenient. Then they’ll know that HRT have a car and driver combination that is actually capable running at a reasonable pace and that it if they miss out it could just be a bad weekend or a track that doesn’t suit them. At the first race and with no testing they have nothing to suggest that this is just a one off. For all the FIA know, this track could be perfectly suited to the HRT car and they are going to be even slower at subsequent tracks. Once they prove themselves they’ll be a lot better off.

    3. Poor HRT… a massive waste of time & money three years running, if you ask me. It’s such a shame they were granted entry over Stefan GP & Prodrive… I can’t help but think they’d have fared a whole lot better over three seasons.

      1. Im pretty sure they were not. Stefan GP tried to muscle in when USF1 (or whatever it was) collapsed. HRT, then Campos, were already permitted as the original 4 team with Manor(Marussia) and Caterham (Lotus/Team Lotus). I think Prodrive didnt apply at this stage and showed interest the following year when Stefan GP was mouthing off about joining, along with jacque Villeneuve.

        Like it or not, under the system of Max Mosley, HRT belong in F1 as they were permitted. They might be struggling, they might not make it to the end of the season. Who knows, but they didnt get accepted over Stefan GP or Prodrive.

      2. I still can’t understand why you folks always talk as if Prodrive were denied an entry.
        Prodrive didn’t want to be in F1 with the present rules.
        They don’t want to build their cars but buy old Mclaren cars.
        HRT are spending their money knowing it will take time to be successful.
        Prodrive just want to enter and win the next race, no time for a graudual climb up the ladder.
        Get it, Prodrive did not apply, they sniffed the air and decided to pass.

        Stefan GP I believe were not all together sincere especially the speed with which they disbanded afterwards. And then they went on to politicise their application, which was almost tending towards blackmail.

        1. It makes me laugh how people are happy to criticise that approach, but a lot of people support Caterham… Noone criticises those guys for paying to have a Renault engine, Redbull gearbox and KERS and use of a Williams windtunnel.

          That, to me, does not seem far removed from buying one of last year’s cars.

          Although I’m not criticising them for it either. The HRT route is looking about as cost effcient as burning faberge eggs to keep warm.

          1. That is still incredibly far removed.

    4. So what’s the difference in the next week so that they can qualify for Malaysia? I wondered this last year. No testing to do; is it just bolting the thing together properly? Have they basically been a week late for the season for the 2nd year in a row?

      1. Is about learning the car and getting more time out of it. They will have another three practice sessions to do just that next week.

      2. @hey, at least now they have both cars built and given them, and the drivers, a few laps to check; If in Malaysia they can start running for most of the Friday, they’ll get a lot more information to set up the cars for Saturday.

        1. Also, based on the few laps they did so far, they should be able to get a basic setup on the car that works from the start.

      3. I think if they don’t make the 107% in Malaysia they will still be allowed into the race basically due to the size of the track (width and length!). After all the blocking today on the confined Melbourne circuit, I think the FIA had had enough and enforced the rule.

    5. Sorry for being harsh, but at this stage i so no point for HRT to be in the grid. They have shown no progress whatsoever over last year. I do understand that it’s hard to improve in the rankings, cause everyone keeps getting better. But i do not like how things are going at HRT. They are again late, missed testing, have no decent car, almost no sponsors. The question is, what happens if HRT can’t qualify high enough to start races, the couple of first races. Will they at some point be put out of the championship?

      1. People are being a bit dramatic this year. Yes, missing testing is bad for the team, but it isn’t a requirement. Also, they actually got their car together earlier than last year and are closer to both Marussia and the 107% time than they were last year (although admittedly last year they were further held back by not getting their front wing through customs).

        1. @matt90 Agreed – and all the big changes at the team cost them as well. As Perez-Sala said in December, they’re taking a step backwards to take two forward. They’re more or less where they were last year and they were comfortably inside 107% for most of the season.

          1. They were comfortably inside and beat Virgin on track at the one race that mattered most, even if they were aided by the conditions, to finish in 11th place in the constructors. The same agin this year might be asking a bit much, but I know who I support out of the 2 back teams- it’s the one whose try-hard fighting spirit to cling onto their spot gives them a humanity that I see as lacking in Marussia, why come across bland to me.

            1. They were comfortably inside and beat Virgin

              That really needs to be read in context.

      2. 2011 qualifying time for Hamilton – 1:24.307. 2012 – 1:24.922.
        What’s the point of McLaren being on the grid? They’ve made no progress from last year and are in fact over 0.6s slower.

        2011 qualifying time for Karthikeyen – 1:34.293. 2012 – 1:33.643.
        Progress! Over 0.6s quicker than last year.

        Bit facetious I know but someone has to stick up for the little guys!

        1. Good point SimBri, yup we need to give then a little time to sort themselves out

    6. I’m disappointed HRT didn’t make the race as I’d like all the cars compete come Sunday, and the race between the teams at the back can be just as interesting as the race at the front.

      Formula One almost needs the slow teams as much as the fast teams as they add colour to the sport, allow space for new talent to develop, and new teams will always be needed and those teams need time to develop.

      However on this occasion they don’t deserve to race. They simply haven’t been fast enough all weekend, have been very unreliable, done little mileage and getting in trouble holding people up in quali probably didn’t help their cause with the stewards.

      I think, and hope that with 4 hours free practice in Malaysia and good luck will qualify there.

      1. Kind of agree with being somewhat sympathetic to HRT, but if the ‘developing talent’ is De La Rosa and Karthikeyan then I’m surprised.

        1. The talent isn’t just the drivers – there’s the whole design team, and the mechanics, etc. Maybe having these drivers for now is the best they can do to help secure the future of everyone else on the team.

    7. That’s a long flight home with nothing to show for it! I hope their fortunes change soon or else I fear for the future in the sport.

      1. They’ll be going straight to Malaysia, I imagine.

    8. Shame, would have been nice to have another pretty car racing. It would have helped offset some of the horror that is the Mercedes, although all the beautiful cars in the world couldn’t detract from that monstrosity completely. Just look at that onboard- wow, looks almost as stupid as the car looks from the outside. The rule that all fast cars look pretty will be definitively proved to be false if that thing wins either championship.

    9. I Love The Pope
      17th March 2012, 13:12

      F1 needs HRT as a moving chicane for boring races.

    10. One word: Good. Given their form over the weekend they shouldn’t be allowed to race here. Although, I hope they improve over the next couple of races and actually beat the 107%.

    11. HRT are awful, no way should they be allowed to race

      1. @bsnaylor …they aren’t racing. Hence the article.

        1. well duh :)

    12. Rules are rules, so it’s correct they didn’t get to start. But it’s a shame though. With no kilometers they won’t get any faster before next weekend.

      And to those saying they shouldn’t be in Formula 1: Atleast they are trying. I rather have HRT chasing the pack than a Red Bull B team or Ferrari B driver that have no intentions of ever winning a race.

      1. Totally agree with this. Red Bull team B are already in existence though ;)

    13. As much as I want to argue with people above, I won’t, they’re entitled to their opinion.

      However, let’s not pretend that F1 is anything less than the pinnacle of motorsport. It’s not meant to be easy, it’s meant to be highly competitive, very challenging and the ultimate test. Pre-season testing is at a minimum if you’re fortunate enough to get there.

      HRT probably won’t be the next Ferrari or McLaren but their determination to be at that level is just as strong as anyone else on the grid. They turned up to Melbourne, knowing full well what could and did happen, it’s a risk and unfortunately it’s gone against them. Are we not here to support that mentality? I know I am.

      The rules have been applied appropriately on this occasion.

      I look forward to seeing them in Sepang.

    14. It had to happen, if there is a rule it should be adhered to. Just wish HRT all the best, let them work and hope for improvement at Sepang.

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