There are stories in the Spanish press that ‘national’ F1 team HRT is facing a deadline to stay alive. The stories claim that the team has already laid off over 30 staff. The tiny back of the grid team operates from Spain, and is led by former F1 driver Luis Perez-Sala with Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa as a driver.
It is not safe to assume that the stories are entirely true until we have confirmation, but there is no doubt that the team is not entirely flush when it comes to funds. The reports claim that the owners are keen to sell, and have set a deadline of December 2nd. After that date the team would be shut down.
Many commentators will likely share the view that this would be no great loss; the truth is that F1 needs small teams such as this. The past is littered with Osellas, Minardis, Pacifics and Zakspeeds, all small-scale teams that added colour to the field. HRT is the modern day equivalent, a gallant struggling outfit that has managed to perform admirably on occasions.
Sponsorship is hard to come by – especially in recession-hit Spain – and it is unlikely that major backers will come forward to save the team. On the other hand, it could be an ideal situation for an entrepreneur – or a car manufacturer – to buy an entry. Unlikely, admittedly, but stranger things have happened.
We wait for an official announcement.