HRT staring down the barrel beyond 2012

By Ubaid Parkar, 23 November 2012

If the latest rumours have any weight, it may sink the size of the grid next year to 11 teams as HRT faces an uncertain future that involves shutting down its operations.

Thesan Capital, the owners of the Spanish squad, have put the team up for sale suggesting that the investment company doesn’t want to be involved in Formula 1 anymore.

HRT is the only team on the grid that hasn’t signed the Concorde Agreement, which would have bound its participation in the sport beyond the current season.

"It's not easy for anyone, especially mechanics and engineers and people who from now on have to fight for their future. None of us know what will happen," Pedro de la Rosa was quoted saying by Reuters.

"We just have to assume that the team will continue and that we still have to do the best possible job. People are being very professional and keeping their heads down,” he added.

Some interest has reportedly come in from Chinese investors but without any indications that a deal would fructify. In the light of recent events, de la Rosa’s teammate Narain Karthikeyan said that he may be forced to look for a career beyond F1.

"The backing from Spain has been smaller than expected mainly because we have inherited a very difficult economic situation at home," de la Rosa explained. "We cannot ask really for more support for the team when people are losing jobs etc."

HRT has been reportedly said to have been downsizing its staff with several personnel already issued redundancy notices ahead of the season-finale Brazilian Grand Prix, a claim that the Spaniard denied.

"All I know is that we are here and that everyone here has not received anything... What happens after is unknown," the 41-year-old said.

"We don't know much about what will happen, I don't think anyone knows at the moment. I hope the team continues but at this moment in time I cannot say any more."

HRT, which was initially to be launched by former F1 driver Adrian Campos, entered the sport in 2010 and was run by Spanish businessman Jose Ramon Carabante. The team was then sold to Thesan Capital mid-season last year.

"You only need one investor or one big sponsor to pull the plug and it really starts shaking," de la Rosa said. "I think other teams could be in the same situation or worse than us."


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