29 January 2013
Thesan Capital's bid to sell on the assets of HRT may have succeeded, but can Scorpion Racing really be on the grid in Melbourne?
The prospect of an American-owned F1 team has been revived amid reports that the assets of the defunct HRT operation have been acquired by a group of transatlantic investors.
According to Autosport, the process has reached the due diligence stage, and Scorpion Racing has expressed an interest in filling the vacant twelfth entry for 2013 but, with the season's first group test just six days away, and the first race looming in mid-March, a push for 2014 is more likely.
Scorpion Racing has emerged somewhat out of the blue, but apparently consists of a group of Canadian and American investors interested in reviving the former HRT team, complete with Cosworth power and Williams gearboxes as used in 2012. The team would be based at Silverstone. HRT struggled on to the end of the season, but folded almost as soon as the Brazilian Grand Prix was over, with its determination to try and make a go of being based in Spain being partly blamed for its failure.
Logistical complications aside, Scorpion's rescue bid appears to have been welcomed by Bernie Ecclestone, who has said that the team would be accepted into the F1 fold, but remains sceptical about its chances of making the grid in Melbourne for the season opener.
Although Ecclestone has written to the investors enquiring whether they had bought what remains of HRT and saying 'if you have, [the FIA] would be accepting you', the Briton's personal view on its imminent appearance on the grid tends to be a little less positive.
"I've spoken to them and told them to get in touch with the FIA and ask for an entry," he said, "They want to buy all the bits from HRT, then form a company and ask for an entry, but I personally don't think it will happen. It's all a bit too late. Maybe they could do it for next year."
Of course, entering F1 in 2014 will be a vastly different prospect to doing it this year, with a new set of regulations and all-new engine package to be taken into account. While the majority of teams will be running evolutions of the 2012 cars this season, they will all be working on new designs for 2014, when costs are also set to rise with the introduction of 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines. Very little of what Scorpion appears to acquiring from the ruins of HRT will carry over in twelve months' time, making their quest much harder.
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