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FIA Decides – HRT Out of 2011 Australian Grand Prix

by F1Fan on March 26, 2011

During Qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix today just one team failed to meet the reintroduced 107% rule.

That team was the HRT F1 Team. After missing the first practice on Friday the team managed to get one car ready but only completed one lap in the second session of the day.

Working over night HRT managed to get both cars operational in time for the Saturday qualifying session, but to no avail. The cars were so far off the pace they missed the critical 107% lap time qualifying criteria of 1.31:266 by over 1.5 seconds.

After qualifying the team appealed to the FIA stewards to make an exception and let them race in the first race of the season but to now avail.

The FIA stewards released their decision later today:

The Stewards received a request from HRT F1 Team to allow car number 22 Narain Karthikeyan and car number 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi to take part in the race under exceptional circumstances having failed to set a lap time within 107 % Q1.
The Stewards having heard the representations of the team, decide to not allow both cars to take part in the race in accordance with Article 36.3 of the 2011 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.

Bad news indeed for HRT, all Formula One teams rely heavily on sponsorship and you have to wonder how long the sponsors will hang in if the team isn’t racing and getting the TV exposure that the sponsors are paying for.

With the no testing rule it is going to be hard for HRT to find the additional pace required given their limited development budget so you have to wonder if this is the first nail in the coffin.

I hope not but it certainly isn’t looking that promising at the moment.

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