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F1 HRT Team - successful start to the season: Spanish lucky numbers: 54 and 8

F1 HRT-Team - successful start to the season
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For H RT F1 the Olympic principle still applies. Being there is everything. 16 days before the start of the season, the racing team with its Spanish roots and management from Germany was rescued. That Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok were able to take part in the race in Bahrain was a small sensation.

Team principal Colin Kolles' squad achieved something that USF1 hadn't managed to do despite a year-long attempt. The lucky number of the newcomer in Bahrain was 54 and 8. It wasn't about placements, but about laps.

The HRT racers got further than many had expected

Pessimists had expected that HRT F1 would end after the technical inspection on the Thursday before the Grand Prix. But then Bruno Senna drove 54 laps over the three days in scorching hot Bahrain. More than Timo Glock, who did not even cover a race distance despite twelve days of testing. Karun Chandhok in the second HRT F1 only rolled out of the pit lane during qualification, completed seven laps and was last, 10.3 seconds behind the leaders.

In the race, the Indian only came one lap. Then the GP newcomer landed in the tire wall. With the fully fueled car, he had underestimated the bump in the new route section. 'I lacked experience. I only drove five flying laps before.' Senna parked after 18 laps with a water leak. The Cosworth V8 suffered a heat collapse.

Cars were only built on the track

The road to the first race was full of drama and it involved many nights without sleep. The team, renamed from Campos to HRT F1, was the first to pass all crash tests, but the last to drive a meter in the new car. Chassis supplier Dallara had already completed its crash tests in December 2009, but then had to withhold the material in Italy because Campos could not pay for the second chassis. When José Ramon Carabante and Colin Kolles took over the shop and paid the bills, there were only two weeks left to make two cars from individual building blocks.

That happened in the pit garage in Bahrain. The 45-man force worked day and night. The mechanics slept along the route and worked in shifts. Half of it was placed on the ear every three hoursand the other was building the cars. Chief engineer Jacky Eckelaert struggled with tiredness on Friday: 'Since Tuesday morning, I've only got five hours of sleep.' On the night from Wednesday to Thursday, a Cosworth V8 was started in Senna's HRT-01 for the first time.

In the Chandhok chassis, the electronics have long braced themselves against a successful marriage between chassis, motor and transmission. It worked at the last minute, just in time for qualification. The lap times were not looked at. Bruno Senna was 2.5 seconds short of the rest of the newcomers. The indefatigable troops received their greatest reward on Sunday morning. The Spanish King Juan Carlos paid his respects to Hispania Racing in the pit garage.


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