HRT owner José Ramón Carabante has rejected recent reports claiming that he is looking to offload his struggling F1 outfit to the highest bidder, amidst suggestions that his team is close to collapse.
A team spokeswoman had already rejected the latest rumours that the team wouldn’t make the 2011 grid, due to it not having a car after its chassis supply deal with Toyota Motorsport was terminated due to non-payment.
“We will be in Bahrain and also the February test in Valencia,” Carabante told Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “Just like the other teams, our car is moving forward and we are negotiating with drivers.”
Despite admitting that the sport is currently “complicated … global franchise” with respect to external sponsorship opportunities, he added that Formula 1 was still a viable business prospect.
“F1 opens doors and creates international contacts. It helps your business so I guarantee I will not give it up easily,” he added.
And despite heading the least competitive team in the 2010 season, he added that he did not regret his decision to buy the floundering Campos Meta outfit at the start of the season and enter F1 solo.
“Better times will come,” he insisted. “We are negotiating with partners either as investors or sponsors. But I have never thought about selling. I will always keep 51% [ownership].”
The team holds out hopes that it will be able to announce a considerable sponsorship deal with a multinational company, which is rumoured to be Telefónica, the very company that recently-brought-in investor Juan Villalonga was once the CEO of.
“As I say to all major companies, being with us is a great way to support a national project. What better way to carry the name of Spain throughout the world,” Carabante added.
Carabante also insisted that the team’s 2011 car was in fact being built, with construction responsibilities being split between England and Germany.
So just who is designing and/or building their cars?
[Original image via F1 Aldia]