It appears that HRT's plans to relocate its F1 operation from Germany to Spain may have hit a glitch after rumours suggested that Madrid was now the favoured destination.
Much has been made of the team's plans, under the ownership of financiers Thesan Capital, to become 'more Spanish', but the first move in that programme was tipped to be a relocation to Valencia, the current home of the European Grand Prix and a popular stop on the testing schedule.
However, according to reports in the Spanish press, HRT now looks intent on securing a base in the capital's Caja Magica, which plays host annually to the Madrid Open tennis tournament, and is already the home of the Spanish Olympic Committee. The move has apparently found favour with the prospective hosts, with Madrid regional officials telling the Europa Press
news agency that talks are already taking place.
"The team has approached the city with regards to relocating its headquarters to one of the spaces at the Caja Magica,” the report confirmed, "but, at the moment, there is nothing fixed, nor any pre-agreements signed.”
Joining Lotus Racing and Virgin Racing as newcomers to the F1 grid in 2010, HRT - or Hispania Racing Team as it was then - has struggled to make an impact on the sport. Originally the brainchild of former racer Adrian Campos, it was rescued before birth by businessman Jose Ramon Carabante who, in turn, sold out to Thesan midway through 2011.
The new owners are now looking to stamp the team with a more Spanish identity and, following the exit of former team principal Colin Kolles, place the relocation as a priority. Kolles has already been replaced by former Spanish F1 pilot Luis Perez Sala, while veteran Pedro de la Rosa has been tempted away from the role of reserve at McLaren to head up the driving side for the next two seasons. GP2 star Dani Clos has also been linked to the team, albeit not in connection with a race seat this season.