19 December 2011
Q&A - Luis Perez-Sala, HRT
HRT boss Luis Perez-Sala talks about the future plans for the Spanish team
You arrived at HRT in July as a sporting adviser and now you are the Team Principal, what are your feelings and how are you taking on this new task you are presented with?
Luis Perez-Sala: This past July, the owners of HRT offered me the opportunity of advising them in this project they were embarking on and it felt an interesting challenge. This new step from advisor to Team Principal is a very important one and it is a great honor for me that the new owners have placed their trust in me to take on the bigger responsibility that comes with this job. It is an important challenge to be at the head of this team, even though it is a small one, and build a project that would be viable in the future and one that we can all feel proud of. It is a nice challenge. I will try to contribute my experience so that the goals we've set ourselves become a reality, never forgetting to be humble and knowing that we have a lot to learn and much work to do.
As a Formula 1 driver you raced for Minardi who, just like HRT, were a small team. How has F1 changed since then?
I keep very good memories of my experience with Minardi. Since then, Formula 1 has evolved a lot, mainly technologically in aspects such as aerodynamics and electronics. Back then, it was already very professionalized but now the teams have considerably enlarged their structures and it's all a lot more sophisticated. And there are still a lot of people from back then working in F1.
All that hard work is paying off and now the team is making a notable change. How do you think the Formula 1 world and the general public are portraying these changes?
We're a small team and sometimes it is hard to realize what that entails. Still, especially on a national level, I think people perceive positively the change in direction that the team has been taking these last few months. Little by little people are starting to trust us. Internationally there are still perhaps some doubts with respect to what will happen, but those doubts can only be cleared with time. With every grand prix people will see how implicated we are, our continuity and the serious work we are carrying out.
HRT is undergoing a profound restructuring and identity process ahead of its third season, which is the path to follow now?
As of now our main objective is to consolidate the structure of our team. We still have to bring in people and determine important roles but that's normal and we are ready for it. Now the most important thing is, with the strategy defined, to finish setting the basis so that, from there, we can begin to grow and build a future.
What would you say are the strengths and weaknesses of the team?
Right now the main strength of the team is the people that make it up. There is a good group of professionals, with a lot of desire and willpower and faith in this project, this is very important because the sacrifices that are being made and that will have to be made are big ones. The major weakness is that the team is still going through a process of change and we are in December and Formula 1 doesn't stop. This is a competition where the deadlines are established and where you're being examined publicly, officially and permanently. That is the main inconvenience for us at this time of restructuring. But one thing is for sure and that is that we will work to the fullest and put in all our effort.
What are HRT's goals in the short, medium and long term?
In the short term the main objective is to consolidate the project. Create a strong team in Spain that works, with the technical area in Munich. And of course to have the 2012 car ready for the start of the season to be able to take part in the first race and all the preseason tests that we can. In the medium term we intend to improve the car and get closer to our rivals than last year. To see which are our strengths and weaknesses and work on them to improve at every grand prix. In the long run, with a better car and a solid structure, we will think about the strategy for 2013 and, above all, 2014 when there will be major changes to regulations.
In just under two months preseason testing gets underway, how do you think that the changes the structure is going through will affect the team at the start of the season?
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