* HRT F1 cars sold to auto-breaker
* Pirelli to use one for promotional purposes (Adds Pirelli comment)
By Alan Baldwin
LONDON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The HRT Formula One team hit the sporting scrapheap on Friday with five of their cars, minus engines and gearboxes, sold to a Spanish auto-breaker and another going to Pirelli for promotional purposes.
Teo Martin, owner of a Madrid-based auto-recycling and parts company that bears his name, told Reuters by telephone that he had bought most of the material assets of the failed Spanish-registered team.
He said the direct sale included three 2012 cars raced by Indian Narain Karthikeyan and Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa, without the Cosworth engines and Williams gearboxes which have been returned to those companies.
A Cosworth spokesman, whose only remaining customer on the Formula One grid is HRT’s former tail-end rivals Marussia, confirmed the engines had been recovered by them.
Martin said he also had two 2011 cars, one complete, and a scale model of the 2012 car as well as most of the garage equipment.
“The other 2011 car has gone to Pirelli,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Italian company said it would be repainted in Pirelli’s black and yellow colours and used as a static ‘show car’ on display in dealerships and at promotional events.
Pirelli have a 2010 Renault car for use in private tyre testing after entering the sport as sole supplier in 2011 and using a 2009 Toyota.
Martin, whose company posted a photograph of one of the cars on the Twitter feed @DesguacesTeo, would not reveal how much he had paid for the cars but said he intended to sell them on to any interested parties.
HRT, who struggled with a shortage of resources and parts, failed to score a point in three years in Formula One and missed a November deadline to pay entry fees of $500,000 for this season.
The team’s rented headquarters at the ‘Caja Magica’ facility near Madrid has been cleared out, according to reports in Spain.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Reuters in December that he understood HRT had gone into liquidation, after owners Thesan Capital had put the team up for sale that same month.
However Formtech Composites, one of the team’s suppliers owed a “substantial” amount of money, said in a statement in December that they believed the ownership of the team had been transferred to a Luxembourg-registered fund.
De la Rosa has now moved to Ferrari as a test driver helping compatriot Fernando Alonso while Karthikeyan is still exploring his options.
Despite the apparent demise of HRT, media reports last month claimed a group of Canadian and American investors were trying to revive the team and secure an entry slot using the 2012 cars with Cosworth engines and Williams gearboxes.
The new season starts in Australia on March 17. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by John Mehaffey)