HRT has moved its racing team into a warehouse in the western industrial suburbs of the city of Valencia, Spain, having failed to get the local government to provide it with one of the old America’s Cup bases in the harbour area.
It seems that the new workshop will be used as the team base in 2012, although it is not yet clear how HRT is going to have two cars built in the facility by the start of the new season. We have heard rumours in recent days that suggest that the team management has now realized that there are problems and is now trying to get permission to run its 2011 cars for at least some of the races. This is not as easy as it sounds. Modern F1 cars need replacement parts after a certain period of “life” and the 2011 cars were designed to end the season with the life of the parts used up. Thus a lot of parts need to be replaced. This means that the team’s sub-contractors need to build new old parts, but if they do that the progress of the 2012 car will be further delayed. And finding alternative suppliers at this time of year is going to be difficult as specialist suppliers are already working flat out to supply their F1 customers in the run-up to the new season and, in any case, there are not many companies in Spain that can produce parts of the right quality levels to be used in F1.
While it makes no sense at all to give new old parts priority over new parts, it seems that this is essential because the team has now reached a point at which it is too late to have the new cars finished in time for the new season and so the only option is to use the older chassis and to make new parts because they cannot safely run cars with parts that have gone beyond their projected lifing limits.
One hopes that the stories of such troubles are unfounded, but given the team’s unrealistic approach to decision-making thus far, it is entirely possible to see how this might have occurred.