Former Grand Prix driver Luis Pérez-Sala has been appointed as Colin Kolles’ replacement in the role of HRT F1’s team principal with immediate effect, the Spanish outfit has announced.
Pérez-Sala, 51, drove for two seasons with the Minardi team between 1988-9, achieving a best finish of sixth at the 1989 British Grand Prix.
Having held his post since the start of the 2010 season, the Murcia-based team announced its split with Kolles yesterday, sparking a raft of concern over the wellbeing of the team, especially given that much of the team’s workforce and assets were owned by the Romanian.
But an upbeat press release from the Spanish team is insisting that all is well, with Pérez-Sala’s appointment being one of several steps that new team owners Thesan Capital were taking to shore up the team’s future, with the biggest being a relocation of the team’s entire operation to Spain.
Pérez-Sala joined the team as an advisor when the investment group bought out the shareholding previously owned by the Carabante family in July.
“From the moment we took control of the team last July, the first thing we did was to study and value where we were, whilst also set ourselves a target and establish a strategy,” the team’s CEO Saul Ruiz de Marcos said in the press release.
“We have been working discretely but relentlessly towards this for the last few months.
“We’ve always made it clear that our priorities were the car, the headquarters and our drivers. The car is evolving, Pedro [de la Rosa] has been a great asset to the team and we have always wanted to settle the team in Spain and have everybody working under one roof. Since we began working with Luis our connection has been great.
“Now he takes on a much more key role in the team but the decision was an easy one given his knowledge and his way of doing things. It is the best decision we could make.”
“This naming is an honour but also a great responsibility,” added Pérez-Sala.
“I joined the team as an advisor to the new owners and to contribute with my experience in any possible way. We had to establish a base from which to grow slowly and we are now seeing the first rewards of that work.
“But we mustn’t lose our perspective and be aware that assuming responsibilities such as designing the car or moving the headquarters to Spain are huge tasks and we still have a lot of work ahead. We must be patient and keep in mind that we cannot expect to achieve great success in the short term, but we can take a team forward that we can all feel proud of.”
The team is yet to announce the identity of the second driver who will partner the recently-signed Pedro de la Rosa, who has enjoyed a long friendship (dating back to the 1990s) with Pérez-Sala.
[Image via Autopos]