There are some mixed messages coming from the Hispania Racing camp, with its The HRT drivers have mixed views on their prospects for the Australian Grand Prixdrivers offering completely different views on the team’s prospects heading into the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The team’s new 2011-spec F111 challenger hasn’t even turned a wheel in testing, leaving drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Vitantonio Liuzzi with just six hours of practice running to iron out any bugs with their new chassis.

This has led Karthikeyan to ponder the prospects of the car even being able to qualify for the first race, while on the flipside, Liuzzi is talking up the team’s prospects of scoring points! That’s a fairly considerable gulf between the two…

Describing the lack of pre-season running as “a concern”, Karthikeyan added: “We need a car that is a good step forward, so it should be a positive step but until you try it you never know. We will see what happens, I can go on and on.

“We had some mileage in the old car but the new car we have to see how it goes tomorrow, it will be the first time, we have to see what happens.”

But Liuzzi argues that the F111 could finish in the points if the new car proves reliable and others stumble into trouble.

“There is always a chance,” he answered, when asked by AUTOSPORT. “It seems that there are some teams struggling quite a bit for reliability, so seeing the chequered flag will be the most important thing for us.

“If there’s a bit of rain or a chaotic race like last year’s or in previous years, we have a good chance. It’s really important for us to understand how the car reacts and to finish the race.”

The Italian is pinning his hopes that the reliability of the Cosworth engine and the Williams gearbox it has purchased will prove enough of a stepping stone.

“I’m not worried about reliability,” Liuzzi added. “Last year, the team showed really good performance in terms of reliability when things were even harder.

“We have a proven rear end from Williams with the Cosworth engine and the gearbox, so the rest of the car shouldn’t be a bit problem in terms of reliability. But until you test it, you don’t know.”

[Original image via Speed Magazine]

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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.