HRT F1 Thingamajigger: Where They Were Then (Updated 2x)


All images in the photo gallery below are courtesy of Tony Hall’s picture archive.

Yai yai yai, muchachitos! Let’s talk about something responsible, sustainable, green, vegan, eco-friendly, social – today is the world’s first official HRT F1 Remembrance Day. Remember them? I do.

I tend to call the mysterious Hispano-German or Germano-Spanish Italian-flavoured (is that even a word?) outfit a “thingamajigger” as opposed to the “Mercedes juggernaut”, as Zak Brown’s pro spin writers so often oftentimes do do. It would appear, I share the same b-day with ZB, what a downer. Had no clue, just bing’ed him and surprise-surprise & all that jazz.

Yeah, why HRT? You know, at present, whenever I cast me eyes over a motorsport-related website, all I get is this tedious rubbish, there’s no joie de vivre factor any more. Drivers planting trees or answering children’s questions about the the birds and the bees. Hello? Has the world gone mad or what? They’re spending their entire time trying real hard to not offend anybody. That won’t do. I want rivalries, I want spats, I want pugilism up and down the paddock. Senna on Irvine, yeah.

They are plugging almost monk-like quality to F1 nowadays, seemigly guys can’t even express themselves any longer and/or start issuing public apologies on social media right after the slightest slip of the tongue, meh.

Think back a decade ago… Enter the HRT: an amoeboid, puzzling, incomprehensible, deformed/unfinished and struggling with self-identity racing entity (not to be confused with Aussie V8 Supercars’ HRT thingy, on top of everything) that moved the game on from the likes of Forti, ATS, Osella, Rial, Scuderia Italia (in spite of their lucky podiums, etc.), all that lot, but having managed a few decent finishes (well, at least one in the crazy 2011 Canadian GP, with poor old Liuzzi’s P13 final result), we reckon Hispania fared somewhat better than I-knew-them-Horatio Andrea Moda, Lola MasterCard, Pacific or Coloni for that matter. And they had a cool livery in 2011, to boot. Wait a minute, I’m a poet and I don’t know it: identity-entity!

They didn’t obtain the cult status – plus a religious following – belonging to Arrows or Minardi, they did good though. You had your classic perennial backmarker ethos of competing on a shoestring budget which harked back to the old days of, I dunno, pre-qualifying or maybe even as epic as Italian marques going against the well-funded Germans in the 1930s. You can clearly see I fancied the HRT when they were still in business. I had a bit of a soft spot for the long defunct team, guilty as charged.

Using Dallara’s technology wasn’t an industry first or last, Haas have been doing it rather more successfully and it simply goes to show that with a bit more cash to burn HRT could’ve lasted a couple of more seasons. Alas, they didn’t. All three “new” 2010 teams disappearing from the F1 landscape shouldn’t be celebrated in any way, it was a take stock moment, a disconcerting occasion.

Sure, stories of that fabled upgrade package never truly materializing had been doing the rounds at the time, thus confining most HRT proper and pay-drivers to P-last along the way. But we tend to overlook flaws, they had to go against the corporate might of car companies and already established well-oiled operations.

What HRT-type team does is it allows you to have a bit of a giggle trackside, these days people heap praise on silent hybrid power-units for enabling you to have an educated and quiet conversation at a Grand Prix. Why the f*** would you? You gonna talk Shakespeare, Wordsworth or what have you at an F1 race? What sort of twisted, morbid person are you? You should be relishing this absolute (white noise) joy machine that is the Cosworth V8, pick your nose in a sudden fit of rhinotillexomania, have a strong beer and watch the real cars go by. Try to pretend it’s the 1970s and you’re about to be kicked out of the paddock by Bernie or Max (not that they would ever do that or were ever known for committing such wild atrocities, of course not, both are nice gentlemen indeed).

HRT might have been a comparative F1 flop, however you slice it, we totally didn’t mind at all. You see what I did there: the plucky HRT squad was good at being bad, and that, my friend, is a form of art.

Remember to follow this link to check out some vintage HRT legacy photos from 2010. And this is what the press said in period about NK’s last F1 ride.

Bruno Senna putting pressure on Red Bull, bet you didn’t know about it!

PS Glory, glory! Rejoice, peeps! This very morning, on my digital doorstep, I have discovered a zipped parcel with inscription in ancient Aramaic (because naturally, I’m a dude of many talents, with polyglottery being one of them). It said (I’ll translate for ya, alright): “Aye, the moon has thirty thousand cycles and behold the lava of phacochoerine lophodont kangaroos. Easy-breezy, late apex, bopple nut. Shan’t I say my name, enjoy these pics. Ahoy! HRT was the best.”

image by uknown donor

You won’t believe it, but inside I’ve found what I’ve been looking for: 2011 HRT stuff. Take a look, click here. Tanks, unknown donor!

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