Hispania Racing owner José Ramón Carabante has indicated his tail-ender outfit will Could Telefonica get back on board in F1 with HRTsoon announce it has secured the backing of a major sponsor, claimed to be among the top-five Spanish companies.

Rumours suggest that the team’s major sponsor will be none other than Spanish telco giant, Telefónica, which was a title sponsor of the Minardi team between 1999-2000 (pictured) and a leading sponsor with Renault when it ran Fernando Alonso.

Another connection to Telefónica is through its former CEO Juan Villalonga, who was recently brought in as an investor with the team.

This is a rare dose of positive news for the Murcia-based outfit, which has been beleaguered of rumours surrounding its financial position and the loss of a major technical partnership with Toyota Motorsport to design and build its 2011 chassis.

Other rumours that suggested the team would be put up for sale have been categorically denied by figures within the team.

“We will soon announce a major sponsor. Negotiation are well-advanced at the moment. It is one of the five most important companies in Spain,” Carabante told Radio Marca.

Despite any clear assurances on its 2011 prospects from a chassis and driver line-up perspective, Carabante aims for HRT to be “a step ahead of [2010],” where it arrived at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix with both of its F110 cars still to be assembled.

Incredibly, both cars made the grid and demonstrated the best race reliability of the three rookie outfits in 2010, getting it to eleventh in the Constructors’ Championship, ahead of the better-funded and quicker Virgin Racing outfit.

But the team’s constantly changing driver line-up led to suggestions that it’s very existence was rather race-by-race, dependant upon which of its assortment of pay drivers could bring the biggest cheque to drive on any given weekend.

And as for 2011, Carabante adds: “Our team is a long-term project and we will try to be a well established team in two or three years. That was the initial idea of our team.”

He also revealed that the squad is currently in negotiations with “five or six” prospective drivers to pilot its cars in 2011.

The team recently tested GP2 drivers Josef Král and Davide Valsecchi during the end-of-year Young Drivers’ test session at Abu Dhabi, and are reportedly keen to sign the latter to the outfit next season.

[Original image via F1 Rejects]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.