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HRT closing in on deal with experienced designer Jorg Zander

Tonio Liuzzi, HRTHRT is closing in on a deal for experienced designer Jorg Zander to head up its technical operations, as part of an effort to ramp up facilities in Munich.

With HRT's new owners Thesan Capital helping team principal Colin Kolles push forward with plans to help the outfit move forward, a rethink about its technical operations has been under way over the past few months.

AUTOSPORT understands that an original plan to set up a design office in Brackley has been abandoned, and that the idea now is to base the operation out of Munich, which is just an hour's drive away from the team's race factory at Greding.

A deal put in place for the team to use the Mercedes-Benz wind tunnel facility in Brackley will continue.

As part of his new technical role, Zander is set to be put in charge of the Munich facility to help push forward with the design of the 2012 car, and he will work in tandem with new chief aerodynamicist Stephane Schosse, who has worked at Toyota, Sauber and Ligier in the past.

Zander has a depth of experience in F1, having worked at Toyota, BAR, Williams, BMW-Sauber, and then Honda/Brawn GP - leaving in the middle of the team's title-winning 2009 campaign.

The technical shake-up at HRT appears to point towards technical director Geoff Willis no longer being part of the team's plans, having originally joined the outfit in February 2010 as a consultant.

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Liuzzi downplays Willis's exit from HRT