It's never good to lose a team off the grid, but there will be some benefits should HRT fail to find a buyer soon.
As Mark Twain said, "the news of my death has been great exaggerated". Last week we heard that HRT would be missing from the grid in 2013 after failing to come up with their entry fee in the requisite time.
It's not a sign of robust health, obviously, but it doesn't mean to say they can't still persuade the FIA to open the door at the last minute if they find a financier between now and early February. Given that the rules aren't changing an awful lot for 2013, any newly created team could probably adapt the 2012 car and get going straight away - as Aguri Suzuki tried once.
But what if they are as dead as a Norwegian Blue, nailed to their perch, pushing up the daisies, what then for the rest of the grid?
For a start, the other teams will want to leap onto the spare cash from the Formula One prize fund, like a bunch of sharks in a feeding frenzy. HRT's absence will help make the remaining teams more secure, providing they can get their hands on the money that was due to be paid to the team, had they continued.
Bernie Ecclestone has set up an arcane system of cash rewards with money for this, money for that and money for consistency of finishing. This is a system where the most money always goes to Ferrari, being the longest and most prestigious brand in the sport (providing they don't finish around 11th or 12th, which isn't going to happen).
As you can imagine, Bernard Charles isn't a natural socialist and the rewarding of any spare cash to the bottom two teams isn't going to happen any time soon, and while they will benefit from some extra cash, they are also going to take a drop in status.
Because whereas HRT could always be relied upon to prop up the timesheets, very soon it could be Caterham or Marussia or even Toro Rosso. Next year Marussia will get KERS, Caterham will have settled into their new facility at Leafield and they should be making strides forward. Come March, Tony Fernandes will certainly not want his Air Asia brand to be plastered all over the slowest car in F1 and the bottom team in the Premiership.
With stable rules, the field invariably closes up to make more exciting racing, and the most significant aspect of HRT's loss will shows itself in Q1. In the past it's always been the three new teams plus a Toro Ross, or occasionally a Sauber and the odd time a Merc or Mclaren. Now that chance of jeopardy will increase.
If there are only 22 cars on the grid next year, the chances are that six will be eliminated from Q1 and six from Q2, meaning that at least two from the older teams will go, plus the bottom four cars, which should be closer in performance.
The irony of this is that putting Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren under more pressure in Q1 will mean that they are forced to run the faster tyre, when before they could save a set. This will mean that the fastest time will get faster in Q1 and we could see more teams missing the 107% cut-off, because the P1 time is that much quicker.
One of the suggestions that my colleague Andrew Davies (who watches a lot of NFL and goes on endlessly about the draft) is always banging on about is that although the FIA could never award the bottom two teams extra cash, they could allow the bottom two teams extra tyres in 2013, or extra testing days. He even likes the idea of them being able to sell their extra testing days to the top teams. That way they could hope to join the ranks of the other teams and there wouldn't be such a polarity between the top and the bottom.
So, should HRT fail to make the starting grid in Melbourne in 2013 (as in 2012 actually) it's not all doom and gloom. Obviously the more seats there are available the better for the diversity of the sport and getting more nationalities and young drivers involved etc. But it could make it a bit more exciting. Having been critically slowed in the USA and punctured by an HRT in Malaysia Sebastian Vettel won't miss them at all. F1 can possibly afford to lose one team, losing another would be a different proposition.