Thesan Capital, the current owners of HRT Formula 1 Team, have made public their intention to sell the team in a statement on the team’s website yesterday:
“The current owners of HRT Formula 1 Team, TC II S.a.rl., would like to confirm that they are currently in talks with a number of groups interested in buying the team. HRT Formula 1 Team’s current management hopes to conclude the sale in the upcoming weeks and, with it, enable the team to continue progressing and become a reference in modern-day Formula 1 after the important achievements already accomplished in this 2012 season. HRT Formula 1 Team hopes to communicate the name of its new owner in the upcoming weeks.”
The team has struggled at the back of the field since entering the sport in 2010, partly through a lack of resources. HRT has never featured in pre-season testing with a current car, and failed to qualify for the season opener in Australia in 2011 and 2012. Development through the 2012 season has, however, been reasonable, and has allowed drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan to compete with the Marussias on occasion, although the HRT F112 is still clearly the slowest car in the field.
Thesan Capital’s statement suggests that it is close to concluding a sale, but it could also be an attempt to lure buyers by creating the impression that there is demand for the team. There certainly is reason to believe that the team would sell quite easily, as the FIA is currently not offering entry for new teams to Formula One.
In recent years, there have been a few attempts to launch new teams. An American team called USF1 was granted entry in 2010 but failed before the start of the season due to a lack of funding. A Serbian team called Stefan GP attempted unsuccessfully to enter the sport in 2010 and 2011, despite having purchased the chassis, engine and gearbox of the Toyota team that withdrew at the end of 2009. David Richards’ Prodrive team was also denied entry in 2010, along with a dozen or so other potential new teams. It is highly possible that investors connected to these teams could be interested in HRT, which already has a fully operational headquarters in Madrid, and a race team with three season under its belt. It is therefore an attractive proposition.
Rumours have surfaced that the team could be dissolved if a buyer is not found by 2 December 2012. While the team’s owners have not confirmed the possible dissolution, securing funding for the team’s 2013 campaign is now urgent, as the new car must be built and tested before the season begins in March next year. If a solution is not found soon, HRT will almost certainly occupy last place on the grid in 2013, if it features at all.