Narain needs to keep pace with Ricciardo

Published: 22 October, 2011 08:04 IST | Kunal Shah |

Given Hispania's drivers will find it tough to compete with other teams, Narain should look to take advantage of the home support and match teammate Ricciardo's pace

Given Hispania's drivers will find it tough to compete with other teams, Narain should look to take advantage of the home support and match teammate Ricciardo's pace

The Hispania Racing Team (HRT) is based in Spain and entered Formula One in 2009 along with Team Lotus and Virgin Racing. They made their debut in 2010 with one of the slowest cars on the grid and finished 11th out of 12 teams with zero points and 13 retirements.

HRT drivers Narain Karthikeyan

Daniel Ricciardo

HRT, formerly known as Campos Meta, has struggled for funding since inception and has witnessed quite a few ownership changes. The team, started by former F1 driver Adrian Campos and Enrique Rodriguez of Meta Image, was formed to explore the possibility of creating Spain's first F1 team and had shareholders such as Spanish businessman Jose Ramos Carabante and basketball players, Paul Gasol and Jorge Garbajosa.

HRT have often been accused of hiring 'pay drivers', who being funding to the team via their sponsors. HRT has always had bad starts to the season. But the two big positives for HRT are its sale of stake to Thesan Capital in July, which should help the team secure its financial future, and getting on board Collis Kolles, who is an old F1 hand known to turn around struggling teams.

2011 too hasn't been a great year for HRT. The team currently lies 11th in the championship and ahead of Virgin Racing in 12th. HRT's struggle to secure funding isn't a secret, but their car development process has failed to take off due to the same reason. The team failed to qualify for the opening round in Australia and has suffered six retirements this season, three less than that of Team Lotus. Liuzzi's drive to 13th in Canada this year is the team's best performance yet.

Indian GP prediction
Narain Karthikeyan has been confirmed to drive for HRT at the Indian GP and this should see Indian fans cheer the team. However, one must note that Narain last drove in a race for the team nearly four months ago in June and his HRT isn't the most competitive car on the grid and will form the rear end of the grid. 

Narain's teammate could be Red Bull's test driver Daniel Ricciardo, who performed a street show in Delhi only a few weeks ago. While the HRT drivers will find it difficult to compete with other teams, let's  hope Narain is able to match his teammate's pace and manage to beat him as well. Should this happen, it would be credited to home advantage!

Hispania Racing Team
>> Established: 2009; w First Race: 2010 Bahrain GP
>> Key Management: Collin Kolles (Team Principal)
2011 driver line-up
>> Vitantonio Liuzzi, Daniel Ricciardo / Narain Karthikeyan
>> 2011 Car: Hispania F111; w 2011 Engine Type: Cosworth CA2011
India connect
>> Both Indian F1 drivers have driven for HRT since its inception. Karun Chandhok drove for them in 2010 and Narain Karthikeyan is one of HRT's drivers this season. 
>> Indian conglomerate Tata is one of HRT's sponsors

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