HRT misses Aus first practice
CAR WOES: HRT is struggling to get their car ready for the Australian Grand Prix.
MELBOURNE - Formula 1 strugglers Hispania (HRT) worked through the night to get their cars ready for Friday practice for the Australian Grand Prix, but drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Vitantonio Liuzzi failed to get out of the garage for the first session.
HRT personnel had been found within the confines of the Albert Park circuit, the FIA said in a statement on Friday, breaking a new rule barring mechanics from circuits for six-hour periods before Friday and Saturday practice sessions.
The rule is aimed at sparing mechanics from all-night shifts, but teams are permitted four individual exceptions in a season.
"This was the first of four individual exceptions permitted for the HRT team during the 2011 Formula 1 Championship season and therefore no action should be taken," the FIA said.
The Spanish-owned team have brought a completely untried car, blaming a hold up in customs for their failure to test it in Barcelona.
HRT also missed much of Friday practice in the season-opener at Bahrain last year as they rushed to complete the cars.
Karthikeyan, who signed to HRT in January after six years away from F1, conceded at a news conference on Thursday that the cars faced an uphill battle to qualify for Sunday's race.