HRT will not miss Melbourne opener - owner

By on Monday, March 14, 2011

Mar.14 (GMM) After the team's new car sat out the entire pre-season test period, owner Jose Ramon Carabante insists there is no risk that HRT will also miss the 2011 season opener in less than two weeks.

"It is certain that we will be in Australia and race there," Carabante is quoted as saying by El Pais newspaper.

The F111 was finally launched in the Barcelona pitlane late last week but the team said it could not be tested due to components being held up in customs.

Carabante admits that Hispania's preparation for its second formula one season was not ideal.

"Maybe we will not finish the first race, we'll see, but the car will develop from here with the clear aim of fighting with and beating the other two teams that started last year," he added, referring to Virgin and Lotus.

HRT has said the F111 is entirely new, but expert observers pointed out striking similarities with the back-of-the-grid Dallara car of 2010.

"We are relying on last year's chassis," admitted chief engineer Toni Cuquerella, "but 95 per cent of the car is new.

"We have a Cosworth engine with the latest specification and we have adapted the chassis for the new gearbox and hydraulics supplied to us by Williams.

"The collaboration with them (Williams) has allowed us to make a technological step of three years. It is clear that the car is much better than last year's," he added.

El Pais said HRT's 2011 budget is EUR 45 million, to potentially be covered by some as yet unsigned sponsors.

"We are negotiating with several sponsors," insists Carabante, who is reportedly willing to make up the shortfall if the budget is not finally completed.

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