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HRT to miss the Australian Grand Prix after failing to qualify

This is the second year in a row that the Hispania team will not have a car on the grid for the season opener.

Image: James Moy/James Moy Photography/Press Association Images

THE HRT FORMULA ONE team will not race in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday after failing to qualify.

The Spanish outfit will not feature after Pedro de la Rosa and team-mate Narain Karthikeyan failed to post a lap within 107 percent of the quickest time in the first qualifying session.

HRT requested to be involved but the stewards cited an FIA rule to stop their entrance into the main race.

“The stewards having considered all relevant material decide not to allow both cars to take part in the race in accordance with Article 36.1 FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations,” the stewards said.

HRT also missed the first race of the 2011 season and de la Rosa was naturally disappointed to be sitting out the first weekend.

“We did all we could today,” de la Rosa said. “The team put in a great shift and just making it to today was an accomplishment for us, because these days have been very hard for all of us, including the drivers.

“But there’s a lot of room for improvement and, although it’s true that we have to change many things, we know what they are, so all I can say is that we need to be patient.

“I already said it when I arrived on Wednesday, this is a test for us, it’s our pre-season. The downside is that we’re doing it in front of the cameras because everything is more evident.

“We should have done it before but we lacked the time, so now all we can do is work for Malaysia and the following races and focus on the important areas to make the car quicker.”

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Team principal Luis Perez-Sala added: “It’s obvious we still have a lot of work ahead to be where we should be, and even more to improve on that potential.

“Today was the first time we were able to complete both sessions with both cars and that is positive.

“Although today wasn’t the result we desired, we’ve fixed some of yesterday’s issues and were able to spot out the weakest points.

“Now we can work on them and find a solution. These solutions aren’t immediate but with every day and every session we’re in better condition.

“Time is precious, and next week in Malaysia we’ll have another four sessions to prepare for the next race.”

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