HRT out of Australian GP after appeal fails

Melbourne: An appeal from the HRT Formula One team to be allowed to race in the Australian Grand Prix despite not setting the required qualifying time was dismissed by the race stewards on Saturday.

The Spanish-based team struggled to get their two cars on the track at all and both Vitantonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan failed to get within 107 percent of the best time in the first qualifying session on Saturday.

"The stewards received a request to allow (their cars) take part in the race under exceptional circumstances," read a statement released on Saturday evening.

"The stewards, having heard the representations of the teams, decide to not allow both to take part..."

The 107 percent rule, which was dropped last year to help the new teams, allows for the stewards to let the team race under exceptional circumstances, which can include setting a suitable time in practice.

That was not the case for HRT. Liuzzi managed one practice lap on Friday and another on Saturday, while Karthikeyan cooled his heels for the first two sessions and set a time 17 seconds behind the quickest in Saturday`s third practice.

The team had blamed a hold-up in customs for their failure to test their cars in pre-season in Barcelona.

HRT also missed much of Friday practice in the season-opener at Bahrain last year as they rushed to complete the cars.

Their failure top qualify leaves 11 teams and 22 cars on the grid for Sunday`s race.

Bureau Report