The cancellation of the 2011 Bahrain season opener was a god-send for the HRT team, technical boss Geoff Willis has admitted.
Both Hispania cars failed to qualify in Australia two weeks ago, after the new front nose failed the FIA crash test and the Cosworth-powered F111 completed only a handful of laps with a plethora of other problems.
But so troubled was the Spanish team two weeks earlier, when Bahrain had been scheduled to host the first race of the season in mid-May, Willis admits HRT would not have been able to travel to the Gulf Kingdom at all.
According to the Concorde Agreement, if a team skips a race for any reason other than genuine force majeure, it can be thrown out of Formula One.
"We know it's been a difficult start," Briton Willis is quoted as saying by f1today.nl from Malaysia, where both Vitantonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan managed to qualify on Saturday.
If the season had started in Bahrain we may not have participated
"If the season had started in Bahrain we may not have participated because we were not ready. We were lucky it was turned into a test in Barcelona," he admitted.