Kolles: HRT 'will catch' Lotus, Virgin

HRT team boss Colin Kolles sees no reason why his squad cannot overhaul fellow 2010 newcomers Lotus and Virgin in the future, and believes its new F111 will bring up to date with contemporary Formula 1 design after its poor debut year

Kolles: HRT 'will catch' Lotus, Virgin

The 2010 HRT - which was originally created by Dallara before the relationship between the Italian constructor and the team broke down - was the slowest car in the field throughout last season.

But Hispania is close to finishing an all-new 2011 car, the design of which has been led by former Williams, BAR/Honda and Red Bull man Geoff Willis.

"There are experienced people working on the car. For sure we had no optimum winter, but we have a completely new car, and we will work on it and try to improve it," said Kolles in an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT.

"The car doesn't look too bad; it looks like a modern F1 car. We'll see where we are - I cannot tell you at the moment. I think we'll be better in performance than last year, and this is what the indications are at this stage.

"We have to face reality. It's not just having a new car, we have to see what we do with the new car in the future. I think that we will have a good CFD programme in place, a very strong one, and then we'll see where we will be. You have to have an efficient development programme.

"For me one of the surprises last year was that we were running the same car, but the gap was getting smaller and not bigger. I cannot explain it. Maybe our drivers got better! This is a fact, you can see that the percentage that we were slower got smaller.

"I think that if we have the time and if we have our programmes in place, Lotus is not going to be an issue for us. And also Virgin. Because I trust in the people we have, and also the quality of the people I have. I'm not scared at all..."

Despite regular rumours about HRT's financial health last year, Kolles believes there are other teams in worse positions than his.

"People said you are not going to make it Bahrain, we made it," he said. "Then they said you are not going to end the season, and we ended the season. They said you are not going to be in the Abu Dhabi test, and we were in the Abu Dhabi test. Then they said you are not going to be at the Valencia test, and we were.

"What shall I say? Of course we need sponsors, of course we need investors, and of course we need partners. Like everybody else. I have been criticised for having a lot of test drivers in the past. I mean, what are the others doing, with third class drivers? I'm very sorry, but people have to face reality, and see the facts.

"I think that other teams are in deeper trouble than we are, that's number one. I don't know why we are always asked the same question. I repeat myself, I think that in terms of budget and in terms of budget requirements and in terms of debts and so on, we are in very good shape compared to others.

"Our main strategy is to be long term in F1. How you reach this point, we know there are maybe different ways, but this is the goal. Maybe others have different goals. I cannot judge on this."

AUTOSPORT PLUS subscribers can click here to read the full interview with Kolles - including his thoughts on drivers for 2011 and why Geoff Willis is the team's secret weapon.

shares
comments
Trulli: Pirellis lacking development

Previous article

Trulli: Pirellis lacking development

Next article

Inside testing: Daily Barcelona blog

Inside testing: Daily Barcelona blog
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021