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Campos takes the emergency route as Kolles returns to F1
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Campos takes the emergency route as Kolles returns to F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Feb 2010   |  9:23 pm GMT  |  70 comments

The struggling Campos Meta 1 team has had a significant change of ownership with one of the partners, Jose Ramon Carabante, taking the majority shareholding. He has installed former Midland and Force India team principal Colin Kolles as team principal of the new team.

The move follows Campos’ abortive efforts to sell the team to A1GP boss Tony Teixeira.

Tonight Kolles issued a statement, announcing the development. It said that Kolles was tasked with making sure that “the team is fully operational and ready to make its Bahrain debut next month.”

Carabante said, “I would like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, who worked tremendously to support our efforts to keep the team viable. The whole rescue operation has been a race against time with the goal of always having the team run two competitive cars at the first Grand Prix of the F1 season in Bahrain. We have a lot of hard work still ahead of us but we are excited about making our F1 debut and looking forward to a competitive season.”

The move was described as a “rescue” and Kolles issued a bullish statement, “Over the next ten days we will review the entire operation, find the extra funding to ensure the team will make the first race in Bahrain, announce the line-up for 2010 in due time and make the operation viable under Jose Ramon Carabante’s new ownership.”

The team headquarters will remain in Spain. The move is good news for Bruno Senna, the only driver confirmed by Campos so far. He committed some time ago and has since seen other GP2 graduates land secure seats in F1. The car, designed and built for Campos by Dallara, has yet to be track tested and it will be a race against time to have the car ready for the start of the season. There is no word yet of whether the team might manage a shakedown or test before the first race. Either way, Bahrain and the fly-aways will be a very difficult public test for the team. But at least they will be racing.

Nor is there any word on whether the moves behind the scenes which brought this about will lead to an amalgamation of Campos and USF1, or at least the transfer of USF1′s driver Jose Maria Lopez to Campos.

Meanwhile Stefan GP is waiting in the wings for an opening on the entry list and for the FIA to grant it an entry.

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70 Comments
  1. Chris says:

    Seems like shades of Lola F1 in the Australia opener.

    It’s going to be a tough year for the rookie teams, notwithstanding the technical expertise they have bought in.

    I wonder if the urgency to compete, and the financial and marketing penalties that this will incur, will bring with it an added dimension of decreased safety?

    It doesn’t bear contemplating, but we all know the issue that stemmed from the underfunded Brawn team last season.

    There will be a lot more cars on the field travelling at high speeds. Surely there should be some sporting code against just turning up on race day with a chassis, engine, a few thousands nuts and bolts and hope?

    1. Adam Taylor says:

      I think this is a good point. I believe there should be a superlicense but for Grand Prix teams. Maybe they should have to complete a set number of kilometres before they can enter their first race. Another point considering is what happens if the team is way off the pace, should they bring back the 107% rule in qulaifying again??

      1. davidturnedge says:

        Didn’t think the 107% rule went away… did it?

      2. Gord says:

        I always thought they had that rule in effect, it was just that you have to be very slow for it to take effect.

        For example in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton had a pole time of 1:40.948 or about 100 seconds. Therefore for the 107% to take effect you would have to be a whole 7 seconds slower.

      3. Francis says:

        They did get rid of it – at the end of 2002 season.

    2. Tim says:

      The issue that stemmed from the underfunded Brawn team? Is that a reference to the spring falling off Barrichello’s car in Budapest?

      If so, I think you’ve made a mistake. The problem with the Brawn in Hungary was put down to finger trouble, not scrimping on costs. Any team can make a mistake like that, no matter how well funded they are.

      There are procedures in place to ensure people don’t just turn up with a car that could a danger to themselves and others. All the cars have to pass FIA-mandated crash tests and each car is subject to scrutineering before every race to make sure it’s safe.

  2. williams4ever says:

    This setup has started on “Classic Privateer” mode, where making to grid every weekend will be a big achievement, results will be the lowest on priority list. I am sure team will keep Media busy with speculations of “Closing” around the year…

  3. Tom Adams says:

    JV+ STEFAN GP = ME A HAPPY MAN :)

    1. John F says:

      I’m sure no one would ever accuse you of being a demanding person. ;-)

  4. Robert McKay says:

    “Over the next ten days we will review the entire operation, find the extra funding to ensure the team will make the first race in Bahrain…”

    Being cynical that rather sounds like the problem has merely been shunted on to someone else a bit.

    Presumably this buy-out helps, but clearly it does not totally solve the current problems.

    1. Adam Taylor says:

      I believe with the buy-out it will point the team in a new direction, maybe a successful direction given the experience that Colin Kolles has within the paddock.

    2. Oliver N says:

      For those of you that follow the football, it sounds like Campos are doing a ‘Portsmouth’ find somebody…anybody to take on the problems.

  5. Henry says:

    James do you have any inside knowledge on campos’ development so far, Stefan GP have said they’re ready to shake down once they secure a tyre deal, are campos in a similar position, or do you think they’re going to miss the first race or two?

    1. James Allen says:

      I know that the car and engine are all okay, just lacked funding to pay for it and get geared up for racing. Hopefully that bit is sorted now

  6. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Just read Adam Cooper’s interview with Colin Kolles.

    It seems that Campos was a basket case from day 1. Were they really serious about going racing?

    Their lack of seriousness has denied someone a slot on the grid. Why was Dave Richards’ application never accepted?

    1. Aidan says:

      The end of Cooper’s interview strongly suggests American involvement with Campos, do you think Bernie’s been pulling some strings to allow all 3 teams (Campos, USF1 and Stefan) to race in some form?

    2. Chris says:

      It seems like Dave Richards is destined to always be a bridesmaid for F1. Perhaps Bernie doesn’t like him!

    3. Kenny says:

      Because he didn’t want to use Cosworth engines.

    4. Dave P says:

      It’s a total disgrace…

      Two of the 2 of the originally selected teams have failed. What does this say about the FIA selection process… Do they not do proper due dilligence?

      Also why can Campos just sell its entry and continue… The FIA said that it would not be an automatic right of entry for Stefan GP if one of the teams failed, yet it is an automatic right of entry if anybody turns up and buys the rights to a team.

      The FIA is a joke….

      Quality teams like Prodrive are refused entry, USF1 … a joke of a team… ( I have never seen such a poor setup, never mind they can’t launch because their server broke down…) somehow is asking to miss a quarter of the season…. what so after 4 races then they say they can’t make it.

      I say No – let Stefan GP have their place..

    5. second class drivers are the best team owners says:

      sure they were serious. There were some sponsors that turned their backs on them. And some they expected to get from brazil, that never materialized.
      They entered f1 at he worst possible moment, but they tried to make it work anyway.
      Campos will try in the future. It is unfinished business for the ex f1 pilot.

    6. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      I hope that Campos don’t end up making money out of this…..if they have taken the space after d hoodwinking the FIA that their application was serious and then go on to sell at a profit…..they are nothing but carpetbaggers.

      1. don't shoot at the mailman. says:

        It’s not the last you’ll hear from him. He’ll get a second shot when the economy climate gets better in spain. He is coming back, i don’t have any doubt about it.
        A second class driver, but not bad to be arround as a team owner.
        An ex-pilot, with understanding of motorsports history. A little bias, on the alonso-hamilton affair, but then again, who isn’t?.

    7. Tim says:

      Kolles has a vested interest in talking down Campos’ prospects – if they fail to make it to Bahrain it can be blamed on the previous regime, if they make it Kolles takes the credit for turning things round.

      It may be an utter shambles with nothing to show for all the months of lead in time, but if that’s the case even Kolles is not going to be able to do much in three weeks…

  7. Dale says:

    What a joke this all is, though it’s a joke that just isn’t funny in way whatsoever. If the FIA had done their job correctly we would not have two of the new teams in trouble like they are, Max Mosley should be brought to account for allowing such a shambles to happen on his watch :!:
    I challenge Todt to show us he’s his own man and come out and say what a shambles the selection process was and apologise to both Lola and Prodrive.

    1. Williams4ever says:

      Accountability & F1 :-O are you new to F1 :?:
      And to top Max/FIA to be held responsible for anything, not going to happen.

      I have never first understood FIA’s role in selecting entry applications for F1, selecting Tyre suppliers for F1 etc. It should be left to FOM/CVC/Bernie, how they want to run “Their” Racing series.

      As regulating body of “Motorsports” FIA should stop meddling F1 and limit itself to interpretation of regulations in case of dispute amongst stakeholders (FOM/CVC/Bernie, Teams, Drivers, and Racing Venue Operators), and ensure safety in Motorsports in General.

    2. Tim Lamkin says:

      How would one hold MM for anything?

      1. Brace says:

        Apparently he likes being held prisoner if anything! :)

      2. Tim Lamkin says:

        Now that is funny

      3. Dale says:

        Well I think he should be flogged for his mismanagement of the FIA when he was in charge – second thought why should he receive anything he’d enjoy :lol:

      4. Tim Lamkin says:

        I completely agree…when he ran the FIA it was all personal…know ow 90% HERE will disagree, however his actions speak way louder then his voice…..he is one sorry oxygen robber…sorry this is IMHO…..he single handedly hurt all of international; racing…time will tell if JT can fix it

  8. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Granting that we’ve had record snow everywhere over here – Alabama, and thus Barber Motorsports Park, where the shakedown and testing was supposed to be held, included – that has put a lot of tracks off limits, I fear for USF1. Fingers crossed, but it’s getting late.

    James, I think at last word some technical difficulty had things hung up; what goes? Crash test issues? Maybe they’re pounding around somewhere unannounced and unadvertised, or trying to get FIA permission to run at another track before doing so.

    1. second class drivers are the best team owners says:

      or trying to skip the first four races.

  9. SuperEddie says:

    James, you talk of US F1 and Campos moving towards being united is this just with the possibility of Lopez switching to Campos or is there something else in it??

    I do seam to remember that US F1 were going to have a base in the US and an off-shoot base in Spain, could this now be Campos??

    US Campos F1 Team?

    1. second class drivers are the best team owners says:

      he doesn’t have the money to save his own team. Do you think he has the money to buy someone elses?

  10. GP says:

    James, I apologize to be off topic here but I have to ask after reading about the new Ferrari.

    On Bernie’s web site’s “Technical Analysis” of the Ferrari F10 they write that the engine is mounted at a “3.5 degree angle to create more room for a larger double diffuser,” including a diagram showing exactly how it looks.

    How did they get that information? Did Ferrari provide it? If so, why on earth would they do that? If not, did the author (Giorgio Piola?)simply figure it out from photographs?

    I’m surprised that such information has become public so soon after its public launch, if at all. This is not exactly obvious like a new wing design.

    1. Rich C says:

      *I am surprised 3 degrees would make any diff. Over the length of the engine thats going to be… what – 1-2cm or so?

  11. Seisteve says:

    We could all take the High-Road on this one and say the selection process was wrong (which in my opinion it was with the Cosworth engine angle) but bottom line is that it takes us back to the heady days of opening the most technical sport to entrepreneurs and folks who have to be different if they are in anyway going to challenge the big boys. Jordon, March and Tyrrell all had their chance and I think it is great that we have an opportunity for others to follow in the same foot steps.

    Problem is that 26 cars in the current tracks will mean more care is needed and that baby teams will need nurturing in etiquette both on and off the track to ensure they do not cause themselves too much embarrassment by, for instant, taking out the top two drivers at the beginning of a race in the ardennes… but we must not forget, this is racing and the reason we read this great column…

    I for one am pleased that F1 is back in a position where small teams are able to join the ranks and not turned off by the huge budgets required in the past to race… it is the budgets that seems to have made the difference because for the last few years there has been space for new teams to join… but only the really rich boys was able to apply…

  12. KRf1 says:

    With due respect to both the outfits , How can we assume that Lola , Prodrive etc would have made to the grid ? They could have had their own funding problems .

    I agree they are great racing outfits with a wealth of experience but F1 is expensive business .

  13. Lilia says:

    James can you please answer me something that i’ve been wondering? Suppose everything go ok and Campos make it to the grid, how are they gonna upgrade there car? Is Dallara gonna be responsible for all the upgrades? How will this work? Will they make a deal with Dallara on a number of upgrades?
    Also am wondering how much have the late payments affected the car performance. I assume that Dallara stopped working on the car when there was a risk of not getting there money. That is a valuable time for development wasted.

    1. la oreja de lauda says:

      Development?!! They are fighting for survival. Just being on the grid, will be a major acomplishment.

    2. Brace says:

      That’s a great question actually. I never thought and never read anything anywhere on the question of upgrades for Campos.
      Although I guess they had bigger problems so public didn’t really care too much about it since they don’t even have the car yet. :)

  14. auto says:

    An enormous shame to lose the team identity in Adrian, and I’m also sad to see Audetto out as well. As a guest in the country it seemed only right to lend my support to the first Spanish F1 team, it’s a pity so few in the country felt so inclined, or Meta have been singularly lacking in fufilling their brief. One wonders if they had the original restricted budget funds in place before fota moved the goalposts.

    Campos led by Kolles just won’t be the same, still I guess this what team presidents are for? Saved or in the shop window to sell on?

  15. monktonnik says:

    I agree with my fellow posters above, and thanks to Mike from Medellin, Colombia for the mention of the Adam cooper interview. I honestly don’t know how a team can get to this stage and still have not employed any engineers. Where they intending to take the car to Kwikfit to get it built?

    I am a fan of Max and Bernie, but I think this highlights a couple of issues.

    1. The new teams just haven’t had enough time to put together a serious programme. The fact that the Lotus team only had 5 months makes their achievement all the more astonishing!

    2. Bernie hasn’t really helped the situation by consistently bad mouthing the new teams, particularly USF1. That kind of talk wont help anyone get investors on board.

    3. The selection process of the FIA was fundamentally flawed. I think that there should be some sort of escrow arrangement whereby a team has to demonstrate its financial position by lodging the majority of their budget with the FIA who can then hold it in trust. That way we wont have 2 teams saying that they need to find the money to start the season in 3 weeks. I know that this is the way that privateer teams have often operated, but as they are supposed to contribute to the future of a healthy F1, it is important that they are viable for at least one season.

    4. It is pretty clear that the new teams have been used as pawns in Max’s power games with the manufacturers. They have been told that they will be competing under one set of rules, then it turns out they aren’t.

    5. Prodrive and Lola have been robbed.

    1. la oreja de lauda says:

      a fan of mosley and bernie!!! are you a fan of briatore as well?
      I can’t understand how can anybody be a fan of those. Respect bernie, it’s fair, but mosley? come on…

      1. Martin P says:

        Say what you want about Max, but I’m damn sure that if he was still in charge there wouldn’t be all this uncertainty about what’s happening – he’d already have made a statement about what USF1 can and can’t do and the consequences.

        Bernie’s right… dictatorships work. All this pretence of playing nicely under the new regime will end in tears in a couple of years.

      2. monktonnik says:

        Ok, perhaps fan is too strong a word. But they have both done a lot for Formula 1, albeit for not entirely altruistic reasons.

        Mosley really did a lot to improve safety and his road awareness campaigns have probably helped to save lives.

        I am surprised that 2 prime movers such as these guys have allowed their actions to appear so transparent. Their motives are still a little unclear.

        No, I am not a fan of Briatore, although he was a character. What he, Piquet, and most shockingly, Symmonds conspired to do still makes me shake my head in disbelief.

  16. Chris C says:

    Exclusive pic of the USF1 car. http://twitpic.com/145psf
    Looks ace!!!!!

    1. Looks good, but they might need to rethink a couple of details. The wheel covers being the most obvious one.

    2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      Excellent! But where’s the Confederate flag on top of the airbox?

    3. Andy C says:

      Now that is very funny. I laughed for ages when I saw that.

      The latest news is that Ronald MCDonald is the no 1 driver.

      Surely it should have the 00 numbering. And be painted orange?

    4. Rich C says:

      roflmao
      That sure looks like a Kenworth front bumper! Ya dont want them to get too close to you with *that!

  17. Boltonjon says:

    I’ve never been a huge JV fan, but wouldn’t it be funny of Toyota had designed a stonker of a car (just like a certain other Japanese manufacturer in late 2008…), couple this with sticking accelerator pedals, the A3 sized diffuser which the Toyota designer brought to Ferrari and a grouchy Canadian with something to prove and we might have the dark horse of the year!

    I know i’m dreaming, but i’d love to see this happen!!!

    Bring on Bahrain!

    1. Dale says:

      As much chance of that happening as pigs flying

      1. Rich C says:

        I am reliably informed by those who know that, indeed, pigs *will fly if you get them going fast enough! Just so u know…

    2. Rich C says:

      I’m just the opposite: I’ve always been a huge JV fan. But I just don’t see a snowball’s chance in Hades of any sort of comeback. Where does all this talk come from??

  18. john g says:

    am i right in thinking that the concorde agreement still says that it’s only the top 10 teams that get any prize money (additional to race prizes). in which case, even if campos and USF1 do make it this year, they probably won’t next year…

  19. John Snow says:

    I think the FIA should review their team selection process. I dont think Prodrive or Lola would have been in this situation had they been given an entry each

    1. Rich C says:

      I think I see a ‘movable’ aero device – it’ll never be approved!

      1. J.S. says:

        Did you know there was actually an Osella F1 car called the FA1L in the 1980′s. XD

  20. Shane says:

    This is all becoming a joke. How can a team win the right to join the elite and then change hands before the season started? What’s the point of a selection process, if all you need to do is make out that your good enough?
    Any new team should have to prove they are ready, prove they have the funding, prove they know what they are doing!

    It annoyed me when manor was rebranded, it should have stayed manor and had virgin as title sponsor. Sir rich never worked his socks off to get the right to race, but it’ll be his name everyone remembers.

    And now you have campos meta, that isn’t anything to do with the original outfit, and usf1 that should be thrown out for being so unorganised. Can you imagine starting a new job and asking to miss the 1st 4 shifts coz your not ready……how can these teams qualify to join motor racings elite?

    1. la oreja de lauda says:

      not sporting decision but political. Thanks mosley.

    2. Dale says:

      A joke that’s not at all funny, god that Mosley knew his business didn’t he :?:

  21. Brace says:

    James, is text on USF1 latest development in the works? I wonder what went wrong. I’m sure they did have a plan and it was viable but I suppose it went wrong somewhere. Probably more smaller things than just one big.

    Thanks, I’m enjoying reading your texts. :)

    1. Dale says:

      Me thinks they got their plan from a flying pig, they called their plan ‘pie in the sky’.

  22. HowardHughes says:

    God I’m getting SICK of these constant, daily ‘xxxxxx team in trouble!’ headlines…

    Not a dig to the F1 media though – you gotta report what’s going on; no, my ire is reserved for the clowns and idiots at the FIA who were supposed to apply the most stringent selection criteria possible to ensure that the most elite, glamourous, aspirational and expensive sport on the planet retained at least a shred of dignity, rather than being presented continually as some kind of joke box where prospective entrants have to engage in some kind of financial disaster movie where they’re teetering on the brink of insolvency all the time.

    This is ridiculous, and to the non-fans or merely casual fans of F1 it resembles nothing more than comedy hour. Shame on Mosley for not ensuring that precisely this scenario didn’t ensue. But then trying to associate the concepts of credibility, repute, dignity and Mosley in the same sentence would stretch even the abilities of Shakespeare.

    This whole thing is a FARCE.

  23. Agent 47 says:

    USF1 are asking the FIA if they can miss the first FOUR aces. To me this is blatant grid squatting now in an attempt to stop the Stefan Team from “potentially” taking the spot.

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/81616

    The FIA should deny the request.

    1. grat says:

      Well, since the rules basically say that the selection process for new entries has been closed for months, why should the FIA make an exception for Stefan GP?

      If the rules are followed to the letter, I expect that means 11 teams on the grid– No Campos, no Stefan, no USF1.

  24. Brent says:

    I am lways amazed by the group that coose to totally ignore that Prodrive was granted entry to F1 in April 2006 for the 2008 season. Prodrive had almost 2 years to prepare and they never made the grid. Why should they get another chance 2 years later. JAMES was Lola not granted the reserve spot should one of the teams not make the grid?

  25. Rich C says:

    This whole selection ‘process’ is silly anyway and just Bernie trying to increase the value of ‘his’ racing series and his own bank account.

    They should open it up wide just like Saturday night at the local dirt track and let anyone that shows up and passes tech inspection try to qualify. If they make it they race if not they go home. *Then there’d be some excitement in qualifying!

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