The logo of the Hispania Racing Team is no longer visible on the official website of the Formula One Teams’ Association, prompting speculation of divisions within the group ahead of crucial commercial negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone.
One suggestion is that the Spanish squad is no longer supportive of the sport’s more established teams, amidst allegations that Red Bull Racing is alleged to have breached FOTA’s self-imposed Resource Restriction Agreement to the tune of over €60 million.
Latest speculation also suggests that Mercedes GP might struggle to keep its budget under control, with rumours of a cost blowout trying to develop its KERS system ahead of the 2011 season.
Reports within Spain claim that HRT’s departure could trigger more of the smaller teams to break away from FOTA, effectively undermining the group’s seemingly united front as the it enters the latest chapter in negotiating a more equitable slice of the sport’s commercial revenue.
Another equally plausible explanation is that HRT – which has a history of being late with paying its bills – has been suspended FOTA because it is late paying its €100,000 annual membership fee.