Vitantonio Liuzzi's current predicament is related to Mercedes and KERS, according to a British report.
Ahead of Melbourne qualifying - preceded by an available four hours of free practice - the Italian has completed an out-lap and four corners at the wheel of struggling HRT's untested 2011 car.
He had a contract to be with Force India this year, but the Silverstone based team ousted him in favour of Paul di Resta and is believed to have compensated Liuzzi financially.
According to The Independent newspaper, Force India owner and boss Vijay Mallya decided to oust Liuzzi because di Resta, who won last year's DTM championship, was Mercedes' favoured choice for the seat alongside Adrian Sutil.
Mercedes, with a long-term relationship with the rookie Scot and also Force India's engine supplier, is believed to have told the team that it could save a multi-million KERS bill if di Resta was given the drive.