Nov.30 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Bernie Ecclestone is happy that HRT, the back of the grid Spanish team, appears to have turned a corner.

Last year, the F1 chief executive described the team and fellow straggler Virgin as “cripples” that have been “an embarrassment” that the sport needed to “get rid of”.

A year on, HRT has new owners in the form of Thesen Capital and is working towards building a more Spanish identity and a permanent base.

McLaren’s highly experienced Pedro de la Rosa has been signed for the next two seasons, the gearbox deal with Williams has been extended, and a new Toyota link has emerged.

The BBC reported last weekend that the team is set to begin working with a Cologne company that is co-owned by Caterham’s Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne.

“It’s effectively the design office of the former Toyota team”, reported assistant editor Andrew Benson.

All the developments have been received as good news by Ecclestone.

“Yes, I have to say I am very happy with the direction being taken now,” he told Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

“It has changed, it’s a good project with the right steps being taken. They may start to be a good team to give joy to the Spanish fans,” added the 81-year-old Briton.