2012 HRT Team Review

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
I did these last year, but I wasn't going to do them this year due to me being back at university, but I've had more than a month of holidays, and two weeks left, so I thought why not? They won't be as good as last years though, as I've had less time to write these.

Anyway, I will put up the teams in the order they finished the championship from lowest to highest. Tell me what you think of the teams and add in some stuff of your own! Also, I would appreciate it, if you could correct me if I am wrong!


First up, is the squad that finished at the bottom of the constructors’ championship.

HRT Season Review

HRT have managed to finish ahead of Marussia the past two seasons. Doing it this season though, looked to be a tough task. It looked tough due to the team looking like being in another transitional year, having new owners, and building a new base in Spain.

However, before the season started, there seemed to be good news for the team. Their partnership with Williams had furthered. Their technology supply deal with Williams had expanded, not only where Williams going to supply them with gearboxes, they were also going get the much needed KERS.

HRT team principal Colin Kolles said: “In these past two years we have established a fruitful collaboration with Williams F1 and are pleased to continue having them play an important role in the development of our team.

“Apart from the experience we have accumulated in these years together, they will not only provide us with the latest technology in gearboxes but we will also reap the benefits of having KERS for next year, this being an important step for our team.

“We have grown as a team with Williams F1’s support and we are pleased to continue counting on them in the future, given their trajectory, prestige and renowned experience in Formula 1. This agreement strengthens the development of the 2012 car that is currently taking place at our technical office in Munich.

“At HRT we are working on thoroughly improving the performance of our cars and our target is still to finish in the top ten in 2012. This deal brings us one step closer to that objective.”

Unfortunately for HRT, this deal did not take place. KERS, performance wise would have been a much needed performance boost for the team but it wasn’t to be. With Luis Perez Sala becoming the new team principal along with the new owners, new ideas had been taking place. The team focused more on moving their base to Madrid in Spain, and focusing on reliability after missing the winter tests.

The drivers that were signed weren’t that convincing either, and were like most of HRT’s drivers, unusual candidates. Retaining Narain Khartikeyan for another season despite Vinantonio Liuzzi performing better than him the season before made you instantly think that money again was a real issue for the team. However, signing Pedro de la Rosa, an experienced driver was a step in the right direction, but one could say he gained his seat due to his nationality as the team owners Thesan Capital stated they were going for a “more Spanish” team, signing a Spanish driver and moving the team to Spain certainly indicated that.

The teams car, the F112 was meant to debut in the second pre-season test, but did not due to failing the mandatory crash tests. Fully assembled for the first time in the Albert Park pit-lane, the car was unsurprisingly miles off the pace and unreliable. Both drivers failed to qualify due to them being over the 107% and therefore weren’t allowed to race in Australia. This would be the third year running that the team had missed pre-season testing altogether, and second year in a row that they failed to qualify for the first race.

But by the standards we were expecting, the car was pretty solid; both drivers managed to qualify and both cars completed the distance in round two in Malaysia Hispania's mechanical reliability record was looked to be ultimately better than either Lotus or Virgin, especially considering that Malaysia was like their first proper test session.

They also seemed to have got more exposure than their two main rivals in the first two Grand Prixs, first of all for not qualifying in Australia. Then Narian Khartikeyan’s incident with the reigning double World Champion Sebastian Vettel, which caused a war of words between the two, with HRT’s Indian driver being called a ‘cucumber’.
The team was no match for its rivals on speed, though.

Hispania's pace did actually improve as 2012 progressed, though more through the crew and drivers' persistence than any breakthroughs, for the package was pretty much the same whether it was at a street track or Monza.

And even as it picked up the pace, the rest of the field largely remained out of reach, even their main rivals from the past two seasons Marussia where far ahead.

HRT didn’t even achieve a win in their class, unlike the last two seasons, where at least one race they finished ahead of Caterham or Marussia, be it on merit or through DNFs. It just showed how far back they were from everyone else, and it was becoming very noticeable that they were struggling more than ever.

When your car's too slow to get near any other teams, your reputation depends on how you fare against your team-mate, and by that measure Pedro de la Rosa did really well compared to Khartikeyan, who was no match for de la Rosa, despite the latter last being in F1 in 2010 with Sauber, and a one off race in Canada 2011, plus being in his 40s.

The team-mate battle was no contest, during when both cars where in the race, Khartikeyan didn’t finish ahead of de la Rosa once, with Pedro beating him nine to zero. Qualifying was another annihilation, as the Spaniard out-qualified his Indian team-mate, 15-3. The closest qualifying session between the two was in India, where de la Rosa beat Khartikeyan by one thousandths of a second.

But Khartikeyan did get the teams highest position though, that was in Monaco, where he finished 15th, which was last place. He also went on a string of two weekends where he out-qualified his team-mate from Italy to Singapore, and then out-qualifying him in the last race Brazil.

De la Rosa’s finest moments came in qualifying, when he qualified 21st ahead of Charles Pic’s Marussia and only a tenth behind Timo Glock in Monaco, and then again qualifying 21st ahead of both Marussia cars and his team-mate, half a second ahead of Glock, and 1.8s ahead of his team-mate. A good result was looking likely in Canada, but brake problems hit both HRTs, which later on became a big problem for the team. Also, in Suzuka he out-qualified Pic’s Marussia, Petrov’s Caterham qualifying in 21st, again a tenth behind Glock. His races were merely him racing by himself as he was quite far ahead of Khartikeyan on performance level.

It would be usually be unfair, to draw too many conclusions about the ability of anyone lumbered with a Hispania, but this season it was totally one-sided, and there were no driver changes at all for the team this season, apart from the odd few practice sessions for their third driver.

Pedro de la Rosa had shown enough that he wasn’t bad racing driver, and his sacking from Sauber in 2010 was a little unfair.

It was by far Hispania’s worst season to date, and it should, sponsors were nowhere to be seen on the car as the team continued to not impress, the team wasn’t anywhere near it had been the seasons before compared to its competitors, and the owners did not want to invest anymore into the team, and put the team up for sale in November.

The team hasn’t been bought and has missed the team entry deadline, and so, won’t be on the grid next year.

I, however, think they performed admirably with all the troubles they’ve had to overcome ever since they were formed. If they had stable backing, I think this team could have progressed quietly through the field, but no one was willing to invest, and now they have to depart from F1.

Will they be missed? To many people, they won’t be, but there are minority of people who will be sad to see them go, as an F1 fan, it’s always sad to see a team leave.

Highlights:
Assembling both cars for the first time in Australia. Not changing their drivers once this season.
Lowlights: Not making it to winter-testing, and hiring a mobile-chicane to drive one of their cars.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I agree more or less with the conclusion.

They won't be missed, which is sad in itself mainly because they never really stood a chance.

I may have mentioned this a few times before :whistle:but forcing the new teams to use outdated Cosworth engines and stopping in-season testing effectively guaranteed their failure.
Trying to compete against established teams with decades of experience and data with no way to catch up was never going to work.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I would say that when you look for HRT' s mark on F1, it seems to be that they had a car that ran into the World Champion in Malaysia and blocked him in America. They launched the career of Bruno Senna, and heralded the end for Liuzzi and de la Rosa.

They'll be off to the Backmarkers' Graveyard. Sad to see them go, but I'm sure there will be another coming along soon enough.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I'm not sure there will, unless they really clamp down on the costs and the RRA is actually written into the reg's.
No-one replaced Team USA (or whatever they were called), did they?

Still, that's a discussion for another thread.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
On a slightly unrelated note, Guido Forti has died. I suppose it's more difficult now to bring a team to grid than it was even in the mid-90s when they were around.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Even though they weren't very good they built an F1 car that was pretty bloody quick, just not quick enough to compete at the front. de la Rosa's time at Monaco would have got him pole in 2000 (I do understand that the circuit has changed and tyres are very different but it's still not bad is it?)

It's a shame when an F1 team dies but it's survival of the fittest. For me, HRT's main problem was trying to become the Spanish National team just as the Spanish economy fell on it's arse. If they had spread the net a bit wider they may have encouraged more sponsors.
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
They did well to survive the seasons that they did, what's quite impressive was their reliability compared to the other cars, and how they hung in there to grit it out for 11th place in the constructors until this season.
 
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