Words Can Hurt: Hispania Targeted by Spains' Automobile President's Comments

Antony HerbertAnalyst IIIMarch 29, 2011

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 26: Vitantonio Liuzzi of Italy and Hispania Racing Team drives during qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 26, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

In the wake of the Spanish Automobile Federation president Carlos Gracia's derogatory comments towards Hispania Racing, the pressure is firmly on the team to prove their worth.

After a season at the foot of the grid, the Spanish outfit are now required to work towards creating a more worthy existence. The 10-second deficit to the front of the pack in Melbourne was simply unacceptable. 

They do not need reminding of the pitfalls of late '90s teams, Lola-Ford and the Forti-Ford team, who found an inability to perform their ultimate outdoing. In fact in terms of the ill-fated Lola project in 1997, it left two drivers' racing careers in tatters and the founding company itself in financial ruin.

In essence, the Hispania team looked nothing more than a throwing together of body parts. They are the racing equivalent of Frankenstein. 

For Carlos Gracia it is an absolute disaster for the reputation of Spain within Formula 1. For sure they have Fernando Alonso, but he is just one genius behind the wheel, whereas Hispania is a whole collective. 

I bet now corny girl group Las Ketchup and their aptly titled Ketchup Song appear as a stroke of magic and not an embarrassing imprint on the Spanish culture in comparison. At least that craze turned out to be a worldwide smash despite its cringe-worthy dance routine. 

So, can Hispania Racing get back on track—or at the least—to their end point from last season?

Their driver choice did not help. Choosing outcasts like Narian Karthikeyan and Vitantionio Liuzzi meant that the car had to be more of an earner than the drivers.

Why they did not keep the consistent and at times pacey talents of Christian Klien is beyond me. Even Bruno Senna began to emerge towards the end of last season and could have been a solid number two. However it is obvious neither could have fared that much better in either car. 

Maybe it should be for the F.I.A to leave Hispania out in the cold.

They were given one chance and failed. In their second opportunity, they belly-flopped their way through the opening weekend and left with their heads held in shame. It is not worth thinking about their involvement had the season started in its original destination of Bahrain two weeks earlier.  

At least if the team turns up in Malaysia they will go one better than Lola who failed to show for their second Grand Prix. 

A realistic possibility, sadly, is that the team could go a full season with both drivers outside of the 107 percent limit for qualification. Certainly with the progress McLaren seem to have made, you can only see the gap widening if Hispania does not improve.

If that turns out to be the case then there will be no joy in the "its the taking part that counts."

Last season they could at least be aided by the fact they weren't too far off the other rookies—Lotus and Virgin—who both had experience within the sport.

The road is now long for Hispania and Gracia needs to be impressed. You cant help but feel that if Spain needs an embarrassment they might as well just let Las Ketchup emerge onto the grid with their infamous moves and gut-wrenchingly infectious ditty. 

Either that, or Hispania at least do something to warrant a future within Formula 1.