Hispania Racing ‘on verge’ of 2011 Toyota partnership
Hispania Racing are close to sealing a lucrative partnership with Japanese manufacturer Toyota for the 2011 season, according to reports.
The Spanish team have struggled during their first season in Formula 1 and many have already cast doubt over their involvement beyond November, but it is understood a deal with Toyota could be finalised at this weekend’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
As well as the use of Toyota’s chassis and gearbox, the deal may also include engines. Hispania would also benefit from Toyota’s R&D team and their state-of-the-art facilities at their factory in Cologne.
The services of Toyota-employed engineers and mechanics would be a dream for any new team with a limited infrastructure.
Indeed, it is surprising that former world champion Jacques Villeneuve -who has submitted his own bid to race a team from 2011 -has opted for failed GP2 team Durango as his partner rather than the vastly more experienced Toyota.
Hispania’s current chassis is a standard offering from Italian manufacturer Dallara, but the team currently has no engineering or technical department.
With the 107% qualifying rule due to return next season, it is clear to everyone that Hispania would need a miracle to even make it to the races on Sunday. This latest news, however, might just be the miracle they have been waiting for.
Hispania have the opportunity to move forward with a vastly superior chassis and gearbox to their current option, as well as having the support they currently lack, but desperately need.
If the deal does include engine supply -it is not certain whether or not it does -it would be a welcome return for Toyota without the full operational burden, and it could potentially give other teams an option aside from the power plants of Mercedes, Cosworth, Renault and Ferrari.