Op Ed: What is HRT doing? And why?

HRT has made a statement regarding the Senna/Yamamoto swap for Silverstone this weekend. It seems, according to the BBC, that Senna will drive for the team in the remaining races.

“Hispania have decided to give an opportunity to one of its four drivers, Sakon Yamamoto, for this race, the British Grand Prix.

“Bruno Senna will continue to drive in the remaining races.”

Sakon Yamamoto and Christian Klien comprise the two reserve drivers for HRT and it was announced yesterday that Yamamoto would be doing all the driving this weekend in the British Grand Prix. Apparently much to Bruno Senna’s surprise.

So what, exactly, is going on over at HRT? Yamamoto finished today’s free practice almost one second adrift of his teammate, Karun Chandhok, and one has to wonder what HRT is getting out of the substitution for one weekend only.

The first thing that comes to mind is money. Money for a paid weekend drive from Yamamoto backers? There is no secret that the new teams could use more sponsor and investment dollars in their operations but this seems a tad drastic to me and I cannot imagine any financial backer paying for a weekend drive.

Senna’s manager, Chris Goodwin dismissed rumors that his client had been sacked but has yet to make any comments today on the odd arrangement. Senna has only been placed in three of his race with 16th his best finish.

If I am speculating, which I am, I submit that it is a wake-up call for Senna. The team may have found a sponsor/financial-backer to fork over cash to give Yamamoto a shot this weekend promising better results than Senna is delivering in the hopes of a full-time ride with lots of cash behind it. Perhaps it is enough money to make the team concede the fact and give it a shot?

It’s a thin–pathetically thin–theory but why do you think HRT would change drivers mid-stream for just one weekend? Does this make sense? Is there something prompting this on the Senna part of the equation? Is he injured? Is he being difficult with the team? Has the team felt Senna is giving it his best? Does the young Brazilian need a stark wake-up call to get his head int he game? Is this just a money-grab for some of Yamamoto’s financial backing?

It’s hard to know and HRT nor Goodwin are saying much but something is certainly odd about the whole situation. A friday testing role such as Force India’s Paul di Resta makes more sense if you wanted to shake down a driver for future potential so I am wondering if Senna’s camp isn’t sharing some other reason the young man may not be able to participate this weekend. Otherwise, this is a very odd move in my estimation and needs some clarification in order to further understand the logic.

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