HRT no longer required

The entry list for the 2013 F1 World Championship was published recently, and there was no mention of HRT on it.

The Spanish team has been but up for sale by its owners, Thesan Capital, with the deadline for a sale set at November 30th. Despite reported interest however, no buyer has been found. Reports suggest the staff have been handed redundancy notices, with the team to close completely.

It was a surprise that Campos Meta, as the team was formally known, was granted a place on the grid in 2010, over more experienced motor racing establishments such as Prodrive and Lola. However, the four new teams that were given slots on the grid have all gone through some upheaval. USF1 collapsed despite a flashy website and lots of videos, Virgin Racing became Marussia Virgin and then simply Marussia after a team buyout, while Lotus Racing became Team Lotus became Caterham – although they have perhaps been the most stable with the same owners throughout.

HRT was the one that I think was obvious would collapse next. When Campos Meta struggled to pay chassis builder Dallara, shareholder José Ramón Carabante stepped in, and placed Colin Kolles in charge. Under his guidance, and moving the team headquarters to his base in Germany, HRT finished 11th out of 12 in 2010, and 2011. Yet they never made it to any pre-season tests with a new car.

For 2012, Thesan Capital split with Kolles, announced a move to new headquarters in Madrid, and placed Luis Pérez-Sala in charge. The team again failed to make pre-season testing, and struggled, finishing last of all the teams in the Constructors Championship. There were reports that spare parts were running low, and other parts were operating beyond their operating life. When Thesan announced it had put the team up for sale, most knew it was the final nail in the coffin.

Based outside the F1 hub of expertise, which includes the UK, Germany and Italy, any potential buyer would struggle, and would likely have to move the team, which would mean additional costs. In addition, more money would be needed to develop parts, pay suppliers and get the team ready for the first race. It was therefore inevitable that the team would close when Thesan ran out of interest.

It is a shame, because there was potential for the team to be something more. Had Kolles had full control, they may even have challenged Caterham. Now however, the two teams that struggled from the off, USF1 and Campos Meta, are now consigned to pages on a popular rejects website.


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