Spanish FIA chief slams Hispania team image

( 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 the Spanish team’s second season in F1 with a handful of practice laps before failing to meet the new 107 per cent qualifying rule.

Carlos Gracia, also a member of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, told Radio Marca he is “annoyed at the attitude” of HRT’s team bosses.

“I wouldn’t say disappointed, because you could see this coming.

“Like this, I would prefer there was no Spanish team in formula one,” he said.

“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,” added Gracia.

Meanwhile, former grand prix winner Johnny Herbert, who in Australia was the driver representative on the stewards’ panel, said his fellow officials had no choice but to uphold the 107pc qualifying rule.

“I felt bad but you cannot compete in formula one on the cheap,” he wrote in a column for The National.

“Hopefully this setback will give the team the kick they need to get ready to compete properly in Malaysia with the right funding,” added Herbert.

Their best time was two seconds off the pace of next slowest car, and Karthikeyan’s quickest effort was more than 10 seconds behind Sebastian Vettel’s pole position time in his Red Bull Racing car.

HRT had failed to test their car in the pre-season and assembled their car in Melbourne test session after making an exemption request. They insisted on special circumstances for being responsible of the poor times but FIA turned it down and disqualified the team from Sunday’s race.