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HRT wants R448m for F1 team

2012-11-14 13:01

HRT CARS UNSAFE?: HRT drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Pedro de la Rosa have suffered technical issues at the recent Indian and Abu Dhabi grands prix with no word yet as to when the team's issues will be resolved.

The current owner of struggling HRT is seeking the Rand equivalent of R448-million for sale of its Formula 1 team.

Talks with potential buyers from India and Abu Dhabi are underway.

HRT, currently owned by Madrid-based investment company Thesan Capital, confirmed that "the time has come for the team to continue growing with new financial backing".

FINANCIAL AND TECHNICAL WOES

Media reports suggested HRT was in the process of sacking 32 employees and needed a buyer before December 2012 to avoid closure.

The situation has become dire, to the point that engineers are concerned that Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan are being put into grands prix at the wheels of unsafe HRT cars.

At the Abu Dhabi and India races, Karthikeyan and de la Rosa retired with technical failures.

De la Rosa crashed due to brake failure, while Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was sent airborne when Karthikeyan slowed claiming his steering wheel "locked solid".

Rosberg said: "Narain told me that his steering broke and he needed to brake which I didn't expect in a high speed corner."

HRT has considered withdrawing from the 2012 championship but is pushing ahead for now due to its commitment to the F1 Concorde Agreement.

According to a report, HRT was hoping its association with Chinese reserve driver Ma Qinghua would bear fruit.

Chief executive Saul Ruiz de Marcos reportedly wrote a letter to China's motor racing federation, saying Qinghua would make his F1 debut in 2013 if he could bring R336-million in backing.
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