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Critics hit out at 'on the cheap' HRT

ESPNF1 Staff
March 29, 2011 « Lewis Hamilton: Fernando Alonso is my Alain Prost | »
Tonio Liuzzi watches on from the pit wall after his HRT failed to make the track in first practice ... his and his team's weekend did not get any better © Sutton Images

The head of the Spanish motor racing federation has slammed Hispania after its drivers failed to qualify for the 2011 season opener.

In the untested F111, Tonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan kicked off HRT's second season in F1 with a handful of practice laps before failing to meet the new 107% qualifying rule.

Carlos Gracia, also a member of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council, told Radio Marca he was "annoyed at the attitude" of HRT's team bosses.

"I wouldn't say disappointed, because you could see this coming," he said. "Like this, I would prefer there was no Spanish team in Formula One. I want a Spanish team that is serious and with the necessary budgets, not a team that is made a fool of.

"Hispania has not done its homework. You cannot be in Formula One in such precarious condition."

Meanwhile, Johnny Herbert, who in Australia was the driver representative on the stewards' panel, said his fellow officials had no choice but to uphold the 107% qualifying rule.

"I felt bad but you cannot compete in Formula One on the cheap," he said. "Hopefully this setback will give the team the kick they need to get ready to compete properly in Malaysia with the right funding."