HRT F1 team to increase Spanish focus

Abu Dhabi: The HRT Formula One team plan to have a Spanish or Latin American driver in the next few years as part of plans to cement ties with their home country.

Saul Ruiz de Marcos, whose Thesan Capital recently took over the team, said at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that HRT (Hispania) wanted to get closer to sponsors and would also be moving their headquarters to Valencia.

"We know that from an economic, logistical thing (having a Spanish base) is not the most efficient thing to do but I think it is in our ID," he said.

""We have a Spanish licence and it is a way to get closer to our sponsors, which will be a Spanish and Latin focus."

HRT, who made their debut in 2010 as one of three new teams that have yet to score a point, have evolved from what was originally set up as Spain`s first Formula One outfit.

Their first car was designed by Dallara in Italy and this year`s has been built in Greding, near Munich, at a facility owned by team principal Colin Kolles.

The current driver line up is Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi and Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

The majority of F1 teams are based in Britain within easy reach of Silverstone.

Malaysian-owned Team Lotus, to become Caterham next year, and Russian-backed Virgin Racing, who will change their name to Marussia, are both planning moves closer to the British Grand Prix circuit.

Ruiz de Marcos said HRT had to do something different and would be moving the race and test team and back office to Valencia. The technical office will remain at Greding where the 2012 car is being designed.

"We will see if I was wrong but I think it is the right strategy to try to do an approach which is slightly different to what everybody`s doing," he said.

"Obviously if I was one of the leaders I wouldn`t do it, but I have to try to do something different."

HRT will be running Spaniard Dani Clos in a young driver test in Abu Dhabi next week and, while he is set to race in GP2 next season, "eventually the team will have one Spanish or Latin American driver," said Ruiz de Marcos.

Bureau Report

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