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GP Week : Issue 151
HRT faced criticism last week after announcing that they would not be running in the Mugello in-season tests scheduled for 1-3 May. The Spanish team had a slow start to the season, thanks in part to manufacturing delays resulting from the change of headquarters, a process which began over the winter and is only now being completed. Because their cars had not passed the full gamut of FIA crash tests before winter testing, manufacturing time allocated to the development programme had to be used to ensure the cars were ready to race. “The start to the season was a little bit rushed for us and, since the cars were set up for the first time, we have been working on them at the grands prix,” team principal Luis Perez-Sala (left) explained. “The team and the material have just got back from Bahrain after leaving for Australia in early March. And they return, for the first time, to the team’s new headquarters at the Caja Mágica in Madrid. “This move is very important for us and by not going to Mugello we can work thoroughly on the car to prepare for the Spanish Grand Prix. We won’t have the new upgrade package until then so we’ve preferred to focus on what can contribute more to us, which is teamwork at the headquarters. And there is a lot to do.” While the decision not to run in Mugello has led to some criticism, it makes sense that a team in HRT’s position – with no upgrade package to run, and work to be done back at home base – to use the break between Bahrain and Barcelona to regroup, refresh, and return ready to fight the likes of Marussia. Their drivers agree. “I think now we have some time to go back to base, and when I say base, it is our new base, which is important because finally we have our home,” Pedro de la Rosa told Autosport. “We need to still develop the car, but we can now spend time in the wind tunnel, and spend time optimising the set-up. We know our weaknesses, and these few races have been like the pre-season for us. We were three months too late and have been paying the price for that.” HRT SKIP MUGELLO TESTS TO MOVE HOUSE 3 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS