HRT spotted factory shopping in Cologne


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According to the article from planet-f1 posted below, HRT are close to signing a deal that will see them move lock, stock and Senna to the former Toyota factory in Cologne. The deal will apparently include the use of the designs of Toyota's 2010 chassis and the various technical know how that went with it.

Since the team split with chassis designer Dallara there has been an obvious need for them to sort out facilities to design and build their own chassis so this would be the ideal move for the Spanish based outfit. Exactly how competitive the, by then, two year old Toyota design would be is open to questioning but at least HRT would have the benefit of a full pre-season testing programme to dial out some of the major issues.

The other effect of this deal would be the apparent nail in the coffin of Steffan GP who were the other outfit linked to the purchase of Toyota's assets in the run up to the start of this season.

Maybe this also goes to explain why the sudden rush to add a bit more money in the kitty from Yamamoto's rent-a-drive.

So, does anyone think a) this deal will come off and b) will it help to sort out HRT in the short term and help them move in the right direction? ... oyota-deal
Hmm. I wonder if they would be looking to become owners or tenants?

I have thought for some time that Toyota would want to hang on to Cologne, at least for a while, pending a future return to F1 when the economy (and the company's reputation) has recovered. By all accounts it was one of the largest and best-equipped facilities in F1, and I don't know whether HRT would be able to afford to have it running at full pelt as it once did.

In any event it would be a tremendous boost for the team. With Geoff Willis on board and those resources on tap, respectability ought to be within reach?
Can HRT afford this?

By all accounts they are in dire financial straits with rumours of Bernie giving them handouts from as far back as May.

I would be extremely surprised if they manage to complete this deal.
And surely a name change is on the agenda:

Seriously, if they can pull it off then they can start considering heading to the big leagues.

But I fear that they'll be heading the same way as so many other backmarkers... :(


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I doubt the financial situation of HRT as well. I was thinking about this when I first heard the probably more than a rumour linking them to Toyota. I guess we will have to see what happens. It would have been nice to find out how decent the Toyota chassis would have been.

Would they also be buying the engine manufacturing facility I wonder?

It should leapfrog them to a bit above Lotus if it goes through. I doubt they'd be able to match Sauber or Toro Rosso though
Yes, I think it will come off. No, I don't think it will help them short-term, if by that you mean improve this season. I fear it may have the opposite effect as they will now have the distraction of relocating and assimilating new personnel. I do think that the new engineering talent may ultimately head them in the right direction.

However, we must remember that previous Toyota cars were nothing to write home about.

Ther are also two questions in my mind at this juncture:

1) What engine will they be using?
2) Is Toyota a silent partner in this arrangement, using HRT as a front until corporate approves the teams return using their own name?
siffert_fan said:
1) What engine will they be using?
2) Is Toyota a silent partner in this arrangement, using HRT as a front until corporate approves the teams return using their own name?

You would have to say given the financial undertaking of moving to these facilities that they are more likely than any of the three new teams to remain locked in to their current 3 year deal with Cosworth. The expense of changing engine supplier would be a burden that they could well do with out for the time being.

I had the same thought as you, if there is some sort of "nod and a wink" arrangement here with Toyota that would see the facilities that are currently in moth balls being put to good use while the conditions aren't great for a major manufacturer to return then that would suit Toyota down to the ground. You can't help but think that Toyota have unfinished business in F1 and wouldn't rule out a return one day. Second time around however you have to say that they will be better prepared and understand that money doesn't always buy success, even in F1.

As for the performance of Toyota in 2009, I think they were really improving. Trulli and Glock scored 3 thirds and 2 seconds between them on their way to 5th place in the WCC. Given that there wasn't any major rule changes during the off season and it's likely that the 2010 Toyota would have been there or there about for this season as well.

If this deal comes off it's certainly going to make Lotus and Virgin sit up and think.
Reading an article in F1 Racing about the Toyota chassis for this year, apparently it could have been as good as the Brawn was last year and could compete for podiums and wins. However i suspect now, it will be a bit lesser as it will lack an f-duct and blown diffuser but it would still possibly be minor points, and for HRT that would be a major jump
McLarenSupremo said:
it would still possibly be minor points, and for HRT that would be a major jump

I read somewhere (possibly here?) that 10th place is worth around £17 million.

That would be a significant cash injection for a team at the lower end of the grid.
Well it would stop them folding, which would be a major shame and i dont want to see a repeat of Super Aguri, which was rather sad, as they were almost everyones second team, (that overtake by Sato on Alonso at Canada in 2007) It would help Senna and Chandok as well as they could progress up the grid as its hard to make an impression in a 5-6 seconds of the pace car
Brogan said:
I read somewhere (possibly here?) that 10th place is worth around £17 million.

Yeah, that's true. According to various reliable(ish) reports (the BBC and Autosport for example), 10th place in the WCC is said to be worth around £17 Million.

Lotus currently hold the 10th spot by virtue of having the best finishing record however they are nervous about because while they are currently winning "The Battle of the 3 New Teams" all it's going to take is one race of high attrition or one fluke result and any of the three teams could nab a point and an unassailable (in normal circumstances) lead in the race for 10th.
Would HRT be able to run the chassis straight away, would they have to pass some tests or something?
Good question. I'm pretty sure that if they built it (what state are the ex 2010 Toyota chassis' in anyway? I thought they only exist on paper?) they would have to submit it to the FIA for the mandatory crash tests etc. I think Virgin did the same thing when they re-submitted their chassis after the problems with the incorrectly designed fuel tanks.

So I guess if they passed all the relevant tests then yeah, they could run them I guess.
cider_and_toast said:
(what state are the ex 2010 Toyota chassis' in anyway? I thought they only exist on paper?)

No, they exist. F1 Racing ran a story on them. They're unpainted, so look quite strange in carbon fibre, but the story was quite positive about them.

Could almost have been history repeating itself there - major car manufacturer bails on F1, cars go on to win WCC.
Wouldn't that be funny it happened to be the case? Toyota happen to have some funky equivalent of the double diffuser advantage from last season, as well as a fully working EBD and f-duct. HRT go on to buy the cars and Bruno Senna dominates the rest of the season, narrowly missing out on the WDC ;)
Would HRT be allowed to switch chassis mid season?

I expect there's some obscure rule buried deep in the reg's somewhere.
I suspect there might be something obscure in the 2010 chassis homologation rules that would prevent such a move but an interesting question none the less. Didn't Virgin need to get special dispensation from the FIA to change theirs with the fuel tank change?

On another note i've read in autosport today that Yamamoto has the financial backing for at least more race after Germany but it might not be restricted to just that.

As for the TF110 it's an intriging piece of machinery and if F1 racings report of it was close to accurate it would probably have been a front runner.
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