Ecclestone sees hope for F1 strugglers HRT

Struggling Formula One newcomers HRT will make some big announcements about their future in the next few days, team boss Colin Kolles said on Friday.

The sport`s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone had earlier told Reuters at the Brazilian Grand Prix that a new backer had apparently appeared on the scene.

"I believe HRT, the people from Spain, have now got a guy that I know, a financial backer," the Briton told to reporters.

"If they have it, super. We need the teams if they are financially sound," added the 80-year-old, who has made disparaging comments in recent weeks about some of the newcomers.

"There should be some release very soon. I think Mr Ecclestone knows what he is saying," Kolles told Reuters.

"I think that people will realise what is the potential of this partnership," he added.

"I think in the next couple of days there will be a few big announcements."

HRT, or Hispania Racing, are one of three new entries to the Formula One grid this season who have all struggled to be competitive.

Neither they, Virgin Racing or Lotus Racing have scored any points and HRT have been through four drivers in their 17 races.

HRT split with Italian chassis designer Dallara early in the campaign.

Linked in the past to Toyota`s former F1 operation, they announced this week that they will use gearboxes supplied by Williams next season as well as Cosworth engines.

One senior paddock source suggested to Reuters that the gearbox deal could include the services of Williams` Finnish test driver Valtteri Bottas, a protege of former champion and compatriot Mika Hakkinen.

However Williams co-owner Patrick Head told Reuters he was not aware of that while Kolles said there were a lot of opportunities for drivers at the team.

"I think Valtteri is a very talented driver but maybe there is also some other driver who will be driving our car," he said.

"We are now making decisions who will test our car in Abu Dhabi," added Kolles, referring to the post-season young driver tests later this month.

HRT`s presence in the season-opener in Bahrain last March was a race against time, with mechanics and Kolles working around the clock to get the cars ready after a late rescue of the Spanish-licensed team.

Originally entered in the championship as Campos Meta, they changed their name to HRT after Spanish businessman Jose Ramon Carabante took over in February.

Brazilian Bruno Senna and Austrian Christian Klien will be the team`s race drivers on Sunday.

Bureau Report

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