Ride-buyer with bigger check means Liuzzi unlikely to keep HRT seat UPDATE #2
(GMM) Jerome d'Ambrosio, Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna are all in the running to complete HRT's driver lineup in 2012, according to the Belgian newspaper La Libre.
|HRT needs a ride-buyer who brings a big check and Liuzzi's check just isn't big enough|
According to the struggling Spanish team's technical boss Jacky Eeckelaert, ousted Virgin/Marussia driver d'Ambrosio is towards the top of the list.
"I don't think it's in the interests of the team to have a second Spanish driver," he said, effectively ruling out Jaime Alguersuari or Dani Clos to be Pedro de la Rosa's teammate.
"The same goes for the drivers approaching retirement," added Eeckelaert, thereby also scratching Rubens Barrichello from the shortlist.
With an existing contract for 2012 is Vitantonio Liuzzi, but Eeckelaert also spoke against the Italian.
"He hasn't really confirmed himself after several chances. We are looking more for a young driver with a lot of potential," he added (A lot of potential? Read that "a lot of money").
HRT, formerly Hispania, has had a troubled young history and ahead of the 2012 season is still looking to find its feet with new management and ownership.
"We hope to continue our battle at the back of the pack with Virgin (Marussia)," said Eeckelaert.
"It is difficult to aim higher. The Dallara chassis we used in our first two seasons was clearly not good enough. So in our German workshop we have built our own HRT to be powered by the Cosworth V8.
"We started fresh in September, later than the others, and so we cannot have fantasies.
"The new owners decided to move the team with the result that 90 per cent of the staff in Germany will not follow us.
"This is unfortunate because even if the car did not work, the team was beginning to work well together. Now it's as though we are beginning again with a new team," he said.
(GMM) Vitantonio Liuzzi has acknowledged that he is looking into an "uncertain" future despite possessing a contract for 2012.
The 30-year-old joined HRT last year before the Spanish team was sold by Jose Ramon Carabante to its current owners, Thesan Capital, and boss Colin Kolles was replaced by the former Minardi driver Luis Perez-Sala.
Sala said before Christmas that HRT is in "advanced talks with several drivers" as the team considers the identity of Pedro de la Rosa's 2012 teammate.
Liuzzi, however, insisted recently that he inked a "long term" contract in early 2011.
"It would have made no sense to sign with a team at this level on just a one year contract; you have to make it a project for the future", he told Australian Motorsport News.
He now acknowledges that his future is in doubt.
"I have a contract to race next season with HRT but the agreement was concluded with the previous owner and now the future is uncertain," Liuzzi conceded to Brazil's Totalrace.11/25/11 (GMM) HRT will have to buy out the remainder of Vitantonio Liuzzi's contract if the Spanish team wants to replace him for 2012.
That is the claim of the Italian magazine Autosprint, after HRT announced that Pedro de la Rosa has been assigned one of the two race seats for next year.
It has been reported that several candidates are in the frame for the other seat, with HRT needing to sign a pay-driver because Spaniard de la Rosa does not come with lucrative backing.
Autosprint reports that the decision to sign de la Rosa was made by HRT's new Spanish management and had "nothing to do with (boss) Colin Kolles".
"Liuzzi has a three-year contract and a buyout clause in his favor," said the magazine. "If the team decides to let him walk, they must pay a large sum."
But if Liuzzi stays, then Daniel Ricciardo and the Red Bull dollars that come with him will go.
Australian Ricciardo could instead end up in Jarno Trulli's Lotus/Caterham seat , with Toro Rosso looking increasingly likely to keep both Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi for 2012.
Italiaracing reports that Jean-Eric Vergne might therefore have to spend next season as Toro Rosso's Friday driver.
"A few of us are not really sure what's happening next year," Ricciardo said at Interlagos. "Hopefully I'll keep Dr (Helmut) Marko and the guys at Red Bull happy and see what opens up for next year."