As rumoured in recent weeks, the nomadic HRT F1 team has confirmed that its stay in Valencia will be a brief one, as its prepares to set up home in Madrid ahead of the 2012 F1 season.

After months of evaluation and negotiation, in which various options were assessed, the Spanish team has finally opted to relocate to facilities at the Complejo Deportivo Madrid Caja M?gica - or 'Magic Box' - made famous as a tennis centre.

HRT's facilities will be situated in the Indoor Sur and Indoor Central buildings, occupying a total surface of 11,000sqm, as the team co-exists alongside the Masters 1000 Madrid Open.

The move is the latest development in a hectic seven months since the team was taken over by Thesan Capital, in which the new directors have carried out a complete restructuring process designed to provide the team with stability and viability, as well as a new, more Spanish, identity.

To reach these targets, a lot of hard work has been focused on three fronts - a new car, a renewed operational and technical team and a permanent headquarters - which, besides from uniting the whole team in a workspace with F1 standards, will contribute an added value to the team, useful considering the latest rumours surroundings its future.

The signing of Pedro de la Rosa last October accomplished another long-held desire, namely to have a Spanish driver, while the more recent confirmation of Narain Karthikeyan's return to the line-up completes an experienced, if hardly startling, line-up.

The renewal of the technical team started as soon as the 2011 season was over, driven by the exit of former team principal Colin Kolles and a large proportion of his German-based technical team, but new team members have so far been working out of a temporary logistical base in the Paterna area of Valencia, prior to the relocation to Madrid.

The new home had to meet very specific - and ambitious - requirements, and the Complejo Deportivo Madrid Caja M?gica provided facilities the team considers indispensable for its new chapter, including a versatile and sustainable space that house the different departments that make up the team, as well as being an area open to fans, sponsors, suppliers and collaborators.

"We've been working hard for months and establishing our permanent headquarters was very important," new team principal Luis P?rez-Sala confirmed, "Finding a space in which we could all work together was vital, in order to optimise work and generate a good team feeling, a sense of belonging.

"When the adaptation of the facilities is completed and every department starts working under the same roof in a few months, we will only have one step left to take, which is to have the design department in Madrid too. All this implies not only becoming a place to feel identified with and carry out activities for the team, its sponsors, suppliers and fans, but also an important reference in technology and R&D in the centre of Madrid."

Remodelling and adaptation of the space will begin immediately and it is reckoned that the first employees will be able to move in around a month. The technical and operational sectors of the team won't follow until F1 returns to Europe, but the base is expected to be fully operational by May. The technical design Office is anticipated to move in progressively as of early June, completing a programme calculated to generate more than a hundred jobs.

However, the headquarters won't only be a technological and R&D centre, and will provide a means of getting closer to the public, sponsors, suppliers and collaborators with plans for a museum and conference area, amongst other ideas.

"For us, it is fundamental to have a headquarters that, apart from uniting the team and ending with the dispersion, is beneficial from a logistical and industrial point of view, but also enables us to maintain a closer relationship with our fans, suppliers and sponsors," team CEO Sa?l Ruiz de Marcos commented.

"Madrid and the Caja M?gica facilities fit perfectly with the standards we were looking for. In the last few months, we have assessed different options, looked at their pros and cons, and we feel that the decision to establish our permanent headquarters in Madrid was the best one. I want to thank Madrid Espacios y Congresos for the interest they have shown in this going ahead and I'm sure that this relationship will be very beneficial for everyone."

Despite the optimism exhibited in the announcement of the move to Madrid, rumours continue to circle the team's future like vultures over a dying antelope.

According to Germany's Die Welt, Thesan Capital is already eyeing up opportunities to off-load the team, with the world's richest man, Carlos Slim, apparently on the radar.

The report suggests that Kolles' departure - which deprived the team not only of staff loyal to the former team principal but also a lot of technical equipment that had been at its disposal over the past couple of years - is behind the new desire to off-load, and Slim's toe-in-the-water interest in F1, generated by his involvement with Sergio Perez and Sauber, is thought to have made him a target for the current owners.


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