13 April 2010
HRT unhappy with Dallara, but chasing another double finish
It may not be happy with the product it received from its chassis supplier, but Hispania Racing is aiming to get both Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok home on Sunday.
Formula One newcomer Hispania Racing Team has launched a surprise attack on chassis builder Dallara for allegedly coming up with a sub-standard car for the 2010 campaign.
The claim, which appeared on a Dutch website, suggests that the Dallara-designed and -built machine was of poor quality, but appears to ignore the fact that the team's entire future hung in the balance until it hit the track for round one of the new season, in Bahrain, last month.
Although it avoided the sort of farce which consumed fellow expansion team USF1 - the Ken Anderson/Peter Windsor 'dream' disappearing amid a drastic lack of investment - HRT had to survive a change of ownership and constant rumours about the state of its own finances before Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok were eventually confirmed at a launch just days before the Bahrain event. Throughout its gestation, there were rumours that Dallara had not been paid the required instalments for its work, with speculation that wannabe F1 outfit Stefan GP may even poach the design for its own bid should the then Campos Meta team fail to find the money to ensure the build programme continued.
Although the team's future was eventually secured under the sole ownership of Jose Ramon Carabante, Chandhok was forced to sit out the three free practice sessions in Bahrain, where both cars retired, with hydraulic problems, and Senna suffered similarly in Australia two weeks later. Chandhok at least managed to see the chequered flag in Melbourne, while both cars made the finish in round three, in Malaysia, just over a week ago, although Senna and Chandhok continue to lap slower than direct rivals Lotus and Virgin, and HRT business affairs manager Manfredi Ravetto is alleged to have told Formule1.nl that 'Dallara delivered a total mess'.
"They built a Formula One car with quality that you no longer even see in F3," the Italian is supposed to have claimed, adding that Dallara used cheap, lower quality parts in the build process and is not involved in the day-to-day development of the car.
Despite the outburst, however, the Spanish team is confident that it can achieve another two-car finish in this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix
“We reached our next goal with our two cars making it to the finish in Malaysia after a tough race on a demanding track on our third ever race weekend," team principal Colin Kolles, the man charged with turning HRT's fortunes around, noted, "Now, Hispania Racing wants to hit a new target and finish again with both cars, but we are also working to get reliability with the cars and get more experience, including reacting in different conditions such as possible wet weather. We will see good progress in consistent driving.”
Neither Senna or Chandhok have raced at the Shanghai International Circuit before, but the Indian is looking forward to racking up a third straight finish in his maiden f1 season.
“I am looking for another great achievement for our team for our fourth grand prix start," Chandhok confirmed, "I have never been to Shanghai before, but raced in Zhuhai and, after Melbourne, I am not too worried learning a circuit, even if it will take a few laps to understand fully our car. I want to build on my good race with full fuel load in Malaysia and, hopefully, we can get some more performance and gather good data for the start of the European season in Barcelona.”
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