Hispania Racing heads into its second season of competition in, truth be told, not much better shape than they were when they made their debut a year ago.
While it has secured a more experienced – and perhaps quicker – driving line-up for 2011, the new car has no pre-season testing mileage.
At least the drab livery has been lifted, with the Daniel Simon colour scheme offering plenty of real estate for prospective sponsors, of whom there seem to be few…
So what are HRT’s chances for 2011?
HRT’s 2010 track record
Hispania Racing only just made it last year’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, and spent much of 2010 fending off rumours about its financial wellbeing.
The Dallara-designed F110 was lacking in development and the cars were generally occupying the last row of the grid.
But the achievement of keeping the outfit going was it’s greatest success of 2010, having been reborn from the ashes of the Campos Meta 1 outfit just two weeks before the season got underway.
A quick buyout saw new owners come in and former Jordan and Midland team boss Colin Kolles was hired to run the show.
The relationship with Dallara quickly broke down – not the best of starts! – but the team steadily improved despite the car having no in-season development.
By dint of better reliability rather than outright pace, the team finished ahead of fellow rookies Virgin Racing by the end of the year.
Finances were always in question, and the team worked through a rotation of drivers – Bruno Senna, Karun Chandhok, Sakon Yamamoto and Christian Klien – with the changes occurring with next-to-notice or explanation.
Talks of a technical tie-up with Toyota were dead in the water after the team allegedly defaulted on payments to the carmaker, and the new F111 looks like little more than a carbon copy of its predecessor.
It could be a long and painful season at the back of the field…
Watch the Richard’s F1 pre-season vodcast as Richard and Jen engage in some crystal ball gazing for HRT’s 2011 season:
[Images via Hispania Racing; video via Matt Lennon]