The Hispania Racing game of musical chairs will continue in next weekend's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim – again without any obvious explanation – with the F1 2010 newcomer having announced that Karun Chandhok is this time to be replaced by reserve driver Sakon Yamamoto, who similarly substituted for Bruno Senna at Silverstone.
Yamamoto stood in for Senna after the Brazilian rookie was dropped at the eleventh hour on the Thursday before the British Grand Prix last week, with two schools of thought on why the nephew of three-time F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna was 'rested' at such short notice – from talk of a sponsorship shortfall to rumours of an errant e-mail [see separate story – click here
Both Senna and Chandhok have been the subject of speculation this season that they could lose their seats to drivers with greater financial backing – with the well-heeled Yamamoto one such example – and now it is the Indian who has found himself ousted, with a statement from the struggling Spanish outfit praising the Japanese ace's 'very positive performance' at Silverstone whilst stressing that the Madras native 'is still part of the HRT F1 Team family and is likely to be in the car at some later races this season'.
“I have a lot of good memories of the circuit at Hockenheim,” revealed Yamamoto. “I like the track layout with the passing-point at the end of the long straight and also the Stadium sector, which is very challenging. There is always a nice atmosphere with the spectators in the grandstands, and I always look forward to going back to Hockenheim.
“Compared to Silverstone, I think we are more competitive and we can achieve a good result again. The last race weekend was very exciting for me. Now, the team has given me another chance to race on Sunday – and I will do my best to prove that it was the right decision.”
“I am looking forward to the race at Hockenheim, as I had a podium finish [there] in GP2 in 2008 and I really like this track,” added Hispania returnee Senna. “It is a very interesting circuit with a mix of a wide-and-fast new section and a twisty-and-technical old part, which makes it challenging to set the car up.
“The Stadium area is extremely difficult to get right [with regard to] how much speed you can carry and how much of the track you can use. Hockenheim is one of the circuits where downforce is not as important as Silverstone or Barcelona, though, so I believe we will be slightly more competitive against the other new teams and I hope to have a good battle against them.”
Indeed, the Murcia-based operation's target for the German Grand Prix is to secure its third straight two-car finish and fifth of the campaign to-date, and team principal Dr. Colin Kolles is hopeful that between them, Senna and Yamamoto will prove capable of doing just that.
“After the solid result we could achieve at Silverstone, we want to go on like this and show a good performance again,” affirmed the German. “The circuit at Hockenheim has a mix of slow and medium-speed corners, and it requires strong measures of downforce. Because of this mix, it will be challenging to find the right set-up for the car. About 60 per cent of the track is run under full throttle, and it is especially demanding for the aerodynamic efficiency of the car, as well as the engine.”