Santander Buys Part of Hispania Racing
According to the aforementioned source, it seems that Santander, who is also an F1 sponsor for Ferrari and McLaren Mercedes, has purchased 40 percent of the Spanish team. Under the circumstances, Carabante will maintain majority of his squad, with sources hinting that the 40 percent in question translates into a “reasonable” amount of money.
Just before Christmas, Carabante had told the media that he and the management of HRT F1 were in advanced talks with “one of the five most important companies in Spain.” At the same time however, he also pointed some fingers at the smaller Spanish companies that refuse to support his project in Formula One, despite the low cost of a potential sponsorship deal.
The HRT-Santander deal might lead to some important changes in the next few weeks. First off, the improved financial situation of the team might resurrect its business relationship with Toyota Motorsport GmbH, which ended a while back due to delayed payments from the Spanish organization. In case the two parties will decide to reopen discussions, HRT might indeed field a developed version of the Toyota TF110 in F1 next year.
Additionally, the new tie-up should lead to a name change in the team's official designation, while also opening the door to a future partnership with Ferrari. As Santander are the official backer of the Scuderia, its new team will likely benefit from Ferrari power starting the 2012 season, although that report is solely a rumor for the time being.
Also, it is believed Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa has returned to pole position for a spot in the 2011 HRT lineup, but the team is expected to make that announcement midway through the month of January.