Q & A with Colin Kolles

The Italian Grand Prix weekend was full of rumours about the future of the Hispania team, with speculation going wild about the financial difficulties of the Spanish squad

Q & A with Colin Kolles

But Colin Kolles told AUTOSPORT that things remain under control and that the team is set to complete its first season.

Q. The Monza weekend was a hot-bed of rumour and intrigue about your team. There were suggestions that you could not turn your engines on on Friday morning because you had not paid your bills. There were wild rumours you would not let the team start practice because you had not been paid yourself. Then there were stories that you weren't going to do the next race, or that you were only going to make it to Japan. Can you clarify what the situation is for HRT?

Collin Kolles: Well, the engine bill is paid. It is paid in full for the whole year, the same as with the rest. I think actually we are in a better financial situation than many others. That we need more money is very clear, that is nothing to deny, but there are others who have many more debts and many more creditors than we have.

We have to pay everything up front, so the moment we are not running that means we have not paid. So, as long as we are running, we have paid. This situation [of paying upfront] has to change, because this has nothing to do with normal business. Every company has certain payment terms - but this is a matter of trust and confidence.

Q. Can you explain what happened on Friday morning at Monza then, because there were suggestions that you were not able to run in the first part of the session?

CK: To be honest with you, I don't really know. I was still in a meeting at the time, and I was not aware of a situation because when I got to the garage the cars were running.

Q. Is the financial situation the team is in now any more critical that it was at the start of the season? You've always been on the hunt for sponsors...

CK: Correct. But even if we had doubled the income, we would look to have more income.

Q. Were you expecting more money to have come into the team?

CK: Yes.

Q. But is it a critical problem now?

CK: No, I don't think so. For the moment and in the past I always resolved the problems.

Q. Are you secure to finish the season?

CK: I think so, yes. There are some crucial bills and most of the crucial bills and contracts have been respected. The engine is paid in full. We still have five races to go, so I think this shows already the situation we are in.

Q. But if you were not going to finish the season, would you not just stop it now rather than spend more money going to the expensive flyaway races?

CK: I can tell you that this was never a point of discussion and was never the plan.

Q. So how are things looking for next year?

CK: We had budget discussions over the Monza weekend and it has been approved. And it is business as normal. We have to achieve certain targets and to be honest with you there is nothing special.

Q. And the feeling you get from Mr. Carabante [team owner] is that he remains fully committed to the project?

CK: This is what he is saying. But the purpose of the exercise is not that Mr. Carabante is funding the team.

Q. So what is the purpose of the team?

CK: That you have external sponsorship that is covering the costs.

Q. Which you haven't got yet?

CK: Well, many others haven't got yet, but this is the target. And obviously Mr. Carabante agreed to fund and support the team to a certain extent obviously. It is his team and he wants to make it a successful team. That is his message.

Q. Lots of people in the paddock have been pointing fingers at you suggesting you are not going to finish the season. Does that make your life harder trying to attract sponsorship?

CK: We will see who will finish the season and who doesn't finish the season. And we will see who will be on the grid next year and who isn't on the grid next year. I am used to this. When I came in after Jordan [with Midland] everybody was saying we were not going to survive. That was through Midland, Spyker and Force India. The team is still here, it is competitive and others, like Toyota, BMW and Honda, who never were questioned that they would be here, aren't here any more due to financial reasons. So what shall I say to this?

Q. Looking at the driver situation, will your current line-up of Sakon Yamamoto and Bruno Senna finish the season?

CK: I assume so. There is no reason to change at the moment. Sakon did a good job in Italy if you look at the lap times, and compare them to Timo Glock, Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli - it is good - and these are not rookie drivers. I think he is not doing a bad job.

Q. Next season, is the driver situation open?

CK: Yes, totally. But the plan is to have a young driver and a more experienced driver.

Q. Earlier this season there were rumours of a technical partnership - and then rumours linking you with Toyota. What is the situation there now?

CK: We will have a technical partnership, but I am not going to disclose with whom. We have made some progress on this front in Monza.

Kolles says Hispania future is secure
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