Speculation is mounting that Vitantonio Liuzzi could follow in team-mate Narain Karthikeyan’s footsteps if rumours of HRT’s merry-go-round policy of driver rotations ring true.
Karthikeyan found himself cast aside from his seat in the F111 when Red Bull stumped up enough cash for its protégé Daniel Ricciardo to get some racing mileage, and now there are rumours that HRT’s new owner, Thesan Capital, is looking to fill the Italian’s place with a Spanish driver.
And the latest speculation suggests that World Touring Car Championship driver Javier Villa could be in the pound seats to pick up a Friday driver role with the team, which could lead to replacing Liuzzi before the end of the season.
The 23-year-old currently drives a BMW 320TC for Scuderia Proteam in the WTCC. The leading rookie driver in the series (having jumped straight from GP2), he currently lies ninth in the overall standings with a podium at Hungary being his best finish to-date.
Despite having previously denied having had any contact with HRT, Villa confirmed the speculation over the weekend when the WTCC ventured to Donington Park for the latest round in the championship.
“Yes, it’s all true,” he is quoted as saying by Italiaracing. “I have a good chance to debut in F1 with Hispania.”
And Villa’s manager, Jose Ramon Galan, added: “F1 is a great and definitely unexpected opportunity. We’ll see how the situation evolves.”