Three years, zero points: HRT’s short life in pictures

2012 F1 season review

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The brief life of HRT in Formula One has come to an end with the news that the team has no place on the grid for 2013.

The team achieved little in 58 races – 56 of which it started – during the last three years. Its best result was a 13th place scored by Vitantonio Liuzzi in last year’s Canadian Grand Prix.

In its first two years it avoided finishing last in the constructors’ championship but fell to the foot of the table this year.

However the team did provide a starting point for drivers like Daniel Ricciardo and Bruno Senna. Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado also tested for the team prior to his promotion to Williams’ race squad in 2011.

Look back on HRT’s short-lived Formula One campaign in this collection of pictures.


Former F1 racer Adrian Campos gained one of the F1 team slots offered for 2010. But after his attempt to establish the squad failed it was taken over by Jose Ramon Carabante who renamed it Hispania Racing Team.

Their Dallara-built car was presented shortly before the first race of the year in Bahrain and the team were still assembling their two cars for the first time as the season began. Karun Chandhok didn’t even get to drive his until qualifying began.

The cash-strapped team switched drivers during the year, bringing in Sakon Yamamoto and later Christian Klien.


Year two for HRT started badly. Once again there was no pre-season testing and they fell foul of the recently reintroduced 107% rule in Australia, meaning neither of their cars started.

Liuzzi scored the team’s best result in Canada but also triggered a sizeable first-lap crash at Monza (above).

Red Bull placed Daniel Ricciardo at the team halfway through the year. Narain Karthikeyan had to make way, though he was brought back for his home race at Liuzzi’s expense.


Karthikeyan returned for a full season in 2012 alongside Pedro de la Rosa. The team also gave practice mileage to Dani Clos and Ma Qing Hua.

But they limped to the end of the season suffering a string of technical problems as they ran low on funds. At the beginning of December the FIA confirmed the team was not on the 2013 entry list.

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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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34 comments on “Three years, zero points: HRT’s short life in pictures”

  1. Well, it wasn’t a success, but I think it can be put next to so many other efforts in F1 that could have, but never came good.

    I think the people who kept it going for so long should be proud of what they have achieved.

    1. OK the car wasn’t good, but the man who choose the colour was even worse, the car looked ugly painted for the 3 years.

  2. As fond as I became of HRT, you had to know they were doomed to failure when someone (I think on this blog acually!) spotted that they had put the right rear tyre on the wrong way at the launch! You can just about make it out in the first picture.

    1. A team born under bad stars, I guess.

      I must say they did bring emotion into the sport for many (be it only “*** are these roadblocks doing here” for some), and the fact they did last a full 3 seasons and did offer us to have a taste of Chandhok, and gave some other drivers a chance to get in an F1 car or even racing and hopefully have a lot of engineers get a shot at working in F1, its by no means a completely wasted.

      After all, as @ajokay pointed out on Twitter, they did last longer than teams like Pacific, Simtek, Super Aguri and Forti.

      1. Don’t get me wrong @bascb , I was a fan of HRT and I will be (and have been) the first to defend their efforts in F1. I’ll definitely miss them. People who tend to knock HRT are those who grew up watching the sport through the manufacturer dominated era of the early 2000’s. I (like many) remember the early to mid 90’s when just about any eccentric millionaire could stump up some cash for the entry fee, buy a 1 or 2 year old chassis, some Ford HB engines, stick Jean-Marc Gounon or Paul Belmondo in the cockpit and get started in F1! HRT are by no means an embarrassment and to say so does them a massive disservice. They did incredibly well to survive for 3 years given a tough financial climate and a few changes of ownership.

        1. There was a balance between being hopeless mess and grit in holding on by their nails and off course the drivers had to work hard to get the cars to go to the finish every time they did.

      2. @bascb I would go as far as to say that they were let down by their owners and maybe Formula 1 managment. And as much as they were let down by their owners they were shown in a decent light by their engineers and team. Commendable performance from I team that I wished were still in this sport.

    2. About the wheel: which year of launch are you talking about? Have you got a picture of this?

      1. 2010. I actually think it is the front right wheel (on the near side as you look at the car in this picture) looking at it again.

        Compare it to this and you can see the arrows go the wrong way:

        1. Yes I see. Thanks!

  3. For all the problems and the undeveloped car, they still weren’t THAT bad…

    I wonder what would’ve happened had qualifying been like it used to. I mean, they surely didn’t fail the 107% as much because the top teams don’t try hard enough in Q1. Maybe they’d have failed many more times and the team would’ve been done and dusted a lot earlier…

    1. they still weren’t THAT bad

      They were pretty bad. There are only a couple of other teams in the history of the sport that were worse.

      1. Dunno about that. You might wanna check that one in the archives. There were many teams who did much worse than HRT!!

        1. Quite a few examples of much, much worse teams than HRT: :D

          1. Flying Lobster 27
            12th December 2012, 15:03

            Although I suspect that hiring budget-laden drivers, being the only team to fall foul to the 107% rule in quali since its reinstatement, the ownership changes, and how it seems it raced its last races already in liquidation mean that HRT deserve an F1R profile.
            Yes, HRT has been the worst team to race in F1 since 2000, but they qualified for races, and finished races as high as 13th in amongst fairly reliable field. Worst team of the decade, yes, but they’re still nowhere near as bad as the worst teams of the late 80s & early 90s, who hardly ever qualified, or even got to qualifying!

  4. I think it is particluarly sad that HRT wont be on the grid next season.. I know they were very slow but anyone that knows anything about the history of F1 should know that there has always been back markers.When Jordan GP first enetered into F1 in 1991 there was something like 38 drivers trying to pre-qualify for 26 places on the grid..Maybe im a bit too nostalgic but i used to love the days of the 1990’s when you saw 24-26 cars hurtling off the grid..

  5. HRT’s 2011 chequered flag colour scheme was pretty good. Certainly better than the better-funded Sauber’s SBB Swiss Train livery :), looks like a vandal stuck a Chelsea sticker on.

    1. @frankus28 Yes I never really liked the “your ad here” stuff but at least they painted the thing properly unlike, as you say, Sauber, which looked utterly dreadful this year.

      1. I heard at the end of the 2011 season (maybe have been 2010) that they were reverting back to the blue coloured scheme :( It’s such an ugly boring scheme they use now. It still looks like a washed up BMW Sauber.

        1. Gotta use up all that white paint left by the BMW guys

      2. The Sauber looked utterly dreadful this year?? No way!

    2. You are right there. The 2011 livery looked really good in the flesh too. It really stood out under the lights at Abu Dhabi.

  6. For all their ‘failings’, as it were, they managed to outlast Pacific, Simtek, Forti, Super Aguri… even Stewart GP technically. They certainly didn’t manage to out-perform them though.

    Even amongst the 3 ‘new’ teams of the current era, they never were anything other than the backmarkers. It’s always a shame to see a team leave.

  7. I know I won’t make any friends here by saying this, but it’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it.

    Generally over the years on this site, I’ve noticed everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon of saying how great it is that they’re ‘trying’ and now how sad it is the team are going. Personally I’m glad they’re out. It was a commendable effort for sure, they probably worked harder than some other teams to get their cars on the grid, and I respect them for their aspirations to compete with the best. Their cars made it within the 107% rules and were allowed to ‘compete’ with the others… BUT;

    If you want to compete to win in the most expensive and technically advanced sport in the world then I think you need to ensure you have a base line level of resources to make it a realistic expectation that you might move forward and evolve as a team doing better year on year. HRT simply didn’t have the start up money or the personel to deliver a car that would lure decent drivers or sponsors. Without these then there was never going to be any real progress. I mean can anyone here ever truthfully say that they expected HRT to enter the 2011 or 2012 seasons with a car that was meant to be a mid-field contender? The lack of updates meant they only ever got worse over the course of a season, which would further put off sponsors. Who would want to invest in a team whose only records can be measured in a back row lock outs and car failures!? The livery on the 2011 car with those ‘Your space here’ type signs was, frankly, embarressing to see.

    In the end I have to wonder why the team has made it this far at all! The team only ever haemorrhaged money, and in the end it was for less than nothing. People can say ‘they tried’ and ‘it was great to have more cars’ but you only ever saw them when they were getting lapped or retiring. I never thought in 3 years ‘Wow HRT had a good race today’. Basically I don’t feel they added anything to the sport in the last 3 years.

    1. Thank you… +1

    2. I think a big reason why people feel the loss of HRT is that it harkens back to the old days, the Garagista days when many of the British teams like Williams and others got their start with Customer cars/engines, a shoe-string of cash, intense ingenuity and pure grit. The days when the team pricipal would take a break from twisting wrenches to makes calls to sponsors.

      Back then, these underdogs were mocked, just as HRT is mocked today. Eventually some of them went on to success and even ultimate victory.

      Today, F1 is no longer a pursuit of mere mortals, it is now a major corporate endeavor and “Garagista entrant” failure is a foregone conclusion. In many ways the death of HRT embodies an end of of that time, I doubt we will see any NET NEW teams any time soon. Instead, we will have re-branded teams. Someday, the organizations currently known as RBR, STR, Mercedes, Force India, and Lotus will have different names, and be owned by different rich men. But there will not be many folks who try to build from the ground-up in the way Campos/Hispania/HRT have done because it is just too impossible to catch the leaders in any economically viable way.

      Goodbye Garagistas, you gave us hope that hard work, fierce dedication, and individual ingenuity were the only requirements for success in huge endeavors. Now we know that Huge Corporate sponsorship is also a requirement…

      1. Well said. I too am disappointed that the Garagista has been traded for the financial management firm. That said, I’m not sure that HRT ever got it right – from development, talent, leadership, etc. – and therefore might not be representative of the spirit of some of the great teams you mentioned, like Williams.

        Looking at the driver lineup changes for next season it is apparent that hard work, dedication, and merit will always play second fiddle to sponsorship. It’s a shame but my concern lies with the likes of drivers like Kobayashi and Kovalainen, not teams like HRT.

  8. I think it’s a real shame to lose them, they weren’t that bad and offered a good platform to drivers entering F1 – allbeit drivers with financial backing.

    The last team I remember before the ‘new teams’ that failed to qualify for some races were Minardi, courtesy of Alex Yoong’s efforts, and although they did have the occasional better finish (Webber’s 5th place in Oz?), I personally think HRT were around the same level.

    1. It’s difficult to compare eras because so many things were different. Minardi’s best finish in twenty years of racing in F1 was fourth place, which they managed three times. But most of their good results were due to attrition; e.g. their last fourth place was the 1993 South African GP, where Christian Fittipaldi finished fourth out of seven classified finishers (two of whom weren’t running when the chequered flag fell). Nowadays it’s unthinkable that you would get only seven cars finishing a Grand Prix. Also, in that race Fittipaldi qualified 3.5 seconds off the leader’s pace, which isn’t far away from what HRT were managing this season – and not at all bad compared to the efforts of some of the teams floating around in the early to mid 90s.

  9. I loved both the 2010 and 2011 liveries..and stuff. And Chandhok.

  10. Too bad it’s HRT leaving and not Marussia: HRT at least gave us some good looking cars! The 2010 was pretty on pictures, but on the rare occasions they showed the car during broadcast it looked awkward. The 2011 was a decent looking model. My favorite was this year’s car though.

    From a sport’s point of view, I think it’s unfortunate that HRT has to leave the sport, but their project was doomed to fail. Budget was simply too small to really establish themselves. Though I have to admit that they have done remarkably well despite the money issues. This team and their employees earn respect for what they have achieved in the past three year.

  11. Personally I like the liveries all 3 years, especially 2011 & 2012 when they for all intents & purposes “brought back” car numbers being part of the livery which while sort of an oldschool twist for F1 it was done in a very modern way.

  12. That 2011 livery is brilliant and always will be, I like the sense of humour they brought to it as well. The first car looked nicer in person than it did on the TV and this years car looked alright. They really seemed to be forging themselves an identity this year.

  13. Jens Jakob Kjær Hansen (@)
    26th April 2013, 22:27

    Undoubatably, some people must have lost lots of money because of the HRT-teams failure…. It will be interesting to see what will happen with Team Marussia. Some people last year though that the team would suffer the same destiny as HRT; but Team Marussia is doing quite well now, and if they continue to improve, maybe they’ll soon be fighting for getting points, and not only for being best among the backmarkers.

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