Tag Archives: Campos

Campos officially changes name to HRT

Campos Grand Prix (no HRT logo yet)

Campos Grand Prix (no HRT logo yet)

The Campos Meta team has officially changes its name to HRT – Hispania Racing Team.

It’s a pretty bad name, let’s be honest. Anyone who follows the Australian V8 Championship will know of the Holden Racing Team, which happens to be a support race at the Australian Grand Prix. And if you’re not following motorsport, you’ll know of HRT as Hormone Replacement Therapy. Very nice move from Carabante and Kolles.

Their website has now changed into a holding page, which means it should be back up when it is changed to look like Hispania Racing (I’m not using the HRT name yet!)

The main problem for the team is that they have completely missed the testing season. According to Adam Cooper, their car will be officially presented tomorrow, only 8 days before practice sessions begin for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Campos to become Hispania Racing, and Lopez linked with team

Campos Grand Prix, whose name will soon be changed

Campos Grand Prix, whose name will soon be changed

The Spanish media are reporting today that Campos Meta is poised to be renamed as Hispania Racing F1 Team, after the takeover by Jose Ramon Carabante 2 weeks ago. As well as this, Karun Chandhok is still expected to partner Bruno Senna, with Jose Maria Lopez now linked with the reserve seat.

With Adrian Campos no longer involves with the team that has his name on it, a change of team name was imminent. The Spanish news agency EFE is saying that this name change will be implemented before the season starts.

It is also being rumoured that Carabante will present his plans for 2010 in the Victor Vellegas audotorium in Murcia on Thursday. It may be the case that the drivers are confirmed here as well. While they are only rumours, the Lopez story seems to have truth behind it, as Victor Rosso, part of his managment team, explains:

"There are many chances that he will become the reserve driver at
Campos.

"At the moment, Felipe McGough (Manager for López) is finalising
details to release him from his US F1 contract and retrieve his money
- it all now depends on how the termination of the contract goes.

"We have made it clear to the Americans that he should not be treated
like another businessman but instead like a person who has earned that
money thanks to much effort and that, furthermore, this is the last
chance he will have to race in Formula 1."

Ferrari rant attacks new teams

On their official website, Ferrari has attacked Max Mosley, the former FIA president, and the new teams entering Formula 1 this year.

Their statement is as follows:

Only less than three weeks to go until the ultimate form of motor
sport, the Formula 1 World Championship, gets underway, while
celebrating its sixtieth birthday this year. For many of the teams,
this coming week is a crucial one, as the bell rings to signal the
final lap, with the last test session getting underway in Barcelona.
It is one last chance to run the cars on track, to push reliability
to the limit and to try and find some performance. That’s the
situation for many teams but not for all of them. Of the thirteen
teams who signed up, or were induced to sign up, for this year’s
Championship, to date only eleven of them have heeded the call,
turning up on track, some later than others, and while some have
managed just a few hundred kilometres, others have done more, but
at a much reduced pace. As for the twelfth team, Campos Meta, its
shareholder and management structure has been transformed, according
to rumours which have reached the Horse Whisperer through the
paddock telegraph, with a sudden cash injection from a munificent
white knight, well used to this sort of last minute rescue deal.
However, the beneficiaries of this generosity might find the knight
in question expects them to fulfil the role of loyal vassal. All
this means, it is hard to imagine the Dallara designed car showing
its face at the Catalunya Circuit, with Sakhir a more likely venue
to witness the return of the Senna name to a Formula 1 session.

The thirteenth team, USF1, appears to have gone into hiding in
Charlotte, North Carolina, to the dismay of those like the
Argentinian, Lopez, who thought he had found his way into the
Formula 1 paddock, (albeit with help from chairwoman Kirchner,
according to the rumours) and now has to start all over again.
Amazingly, they still have the impudence to claim that everything
is hunky-dory under the starry stripy sky.

Next, we have the Serbian vultures. Firstly, they launched themselves
into a quixotic legal battle with the FIA, then they picked the
bones of Toyota on its death bed. Having got some people on board,
around whom there was still a whiff of past scandals, they are now
hovering around waiting to replace whoever is first to drop out of
the game, possibly with backing from that very same knight in shining
armour whom we mentioned earlier.

This is the legacy of the holy war waged by the former FIA president.
The cause in question was to allow smaller teams to get into Formula
1. This is the outcome: two teams will limp into the start of the
championship, a third is being pushed into the ring by an invisible
hand – you can be sure it is not the hand of Adam Smith – and, as
for the fourth, well, you would do better to call on Missing Persons
to locate it. In the meantime, we have lost two constructors along
the way, in the shape of BMW and Toyota, while at Renault, there’s
not much left other than the name. Was it all worth it?

Another Ferrari rant, and it gets more vicious every single time. Ferrari are in no position to criticise every single team, person and organisation that isn’t an exact replica of them. When Max Mosley left the FIA, we all expected relations between the teams and the FIA to get better. But, the team that makes themselves appear like the “good guys” now come out lashing at Mosley. While the other teams are looking forward to the future, Ferrari just seem to be wallowing in the past, just to take cheap shots at their enemies.

Then, they take their anger out at Campos, calling their cash injection supplier a “munificent white knight”. It’s called a buyout. After this, they take a little shot at Jose Maria Lopez, initaially referring to him just as “the Argentinian”. Ferrari can’t slag off other drivers, only 6 months after they start throwing around their own just to get a few points which they didn’t get anyway.

And, as for calling Stefan GP “vultures”, they aren’t in a position to talk. We are talking about a team which sat behind the FIA for years, poking them into making moves to benefit themselves, and they now seem to think that Stefan GP waiting for a team to drop out (when everyone knows at least one will) is worse. Having said that, they are right about the employees hired “with a whiff of past scandals”. We are of course referring to Mike Coughlan, the McLaren engineer who stole Ferrari data from Rob Smedley, and (supposedly, never proved) tried to sell it on to Renault. The thing is though, why would Ferrari drop criminal proceedings against him, and then whinge years afterwards? But Coughlan did pay Ferrari €180,000 in settlements to drop the case, so it’s all right. Pathetic.

Carabante and Kolles take over Campos

Campos Grand Prix

Campos Grand Prix

Jose Ramon Carabante (left) and Adrian Campos

Jose Ramon Carabante (left) and Adrian Campos

It has been announced that Jose Ramon Carabante, a previous shareholder in the Campos team, has taken over from Adrian Campos. Colin Kolles takes over from Campos as team principal and managing director.

There are many rumours-probably true- that Jose Maria Lopez is now set to join Bruno Senna at Campos, as the USF1 bid in F1 appears to be on the verge of collapsing. Then, if USF1 fall, Stefan GP would have the way cleared for them to become the 13th team. It seems that everything is falling into place.

Colin Kolles is the former boss of Midland and Spyker, two F1 teams that completely failed after a year. He has also run operations in Jordan and Force India.  However, any F1 experience is good in a team that needs good structure in order to survive.

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 having always been to run two competitive cars at the first Grand Prix of the F1 season in Bahrain.”

Kolles said: “I could not resist this tremendous challenge and am very excited to join forces in this new team. 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 José Ramon Carabante’s new ownership.”

So it appears to be looking good for Campos. If Lopez (or someone else, there’s pleanty of other good pay drivers around) is announced soon, the team may well make the grid in Bahrain. Now if only they could make it to testing in time…

FIA states new teams can’t miss races

The FIA has clarified the rules regarding some new teams not being able to attend the first few races. Jean Todt recently stated that Campos and USF1 could skip the first 3 races, if they were not ready, and would avoid punishment.

This statement has been overturned by the FIA, however, who have released a short statement:

“From a sporting and regulatory point of view, each Team that has registered for the Championship is obliged to take part in every event of the season. Any failure to take part, even for just one Championship event, would constitute an infringement both of the Concorde Agreement and the FIA Regulations.”

The Concorde Agreement is, of course, the agreement of all the teams competing in Formula 1. If this contract is broken, the FIA have the power to disallow that team from competing in the sport.

This is good news for Stefan GP, who have already announced that they are sending equipment to Bahrain, in hope that either Campos or USF1 cannot make it. However, it seems that the team have overlooked the completely obvious. If a team drops out, the FIA don’t instantly hand another team their spot. Still, we might as well wait and see can Campos and USF1 get to the grid in time.

Stefan GP to launch on 25th, and test 2 drivers

Zoran Stefanovich with Mike Coughlan

Zoran Stefanovich with Mike Coughlan

Despite still having no entry for the 2010 world championship, Stefan GP have now announced that they are to test their new car at Portimao, Portugal, on the 25th February.

The car will be launched a few days before this test. I talked earlier today about them sending equipment to Bahrain, now they have moved forward with the news that they will spend 3 days testing in Portimao.

Stefan GP have also said that they are to test two drivers at this 3-day test. If they get a place on the 2010 grid, these two will probably become the team’s drivers. It is understood that Kazuki Nakajima will be one of the drivers.

The car, called the Stefan S01, has been developed by the team, but with technical support from Toyota, ever since Stefan GP bought their data, parts, and chassis. The engine, to be called the Stefan RG-01, has also been serviced by Toyota.

Clearly, the team are very confident, but will it pay off? It is understood that Zoran Stefanovich, the team owner, believes that two teams (probably Campos and USF1) are in trouble financially. He and the team believe that at least one of these teams will not make it to Bahrain, so Stefan will be ready to take their place. That is, if the FIA give them the place.

After all this effort, Stefan should be given a chance, but not while there’s 13 other teams on the grid. I’m getting a bit tired of all the rumours of the new teams struggling, so a stable new team would be a welcome sight.

Petrov moving in on deal with Renault

Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov

There are reports that Russian Vitaly Petrov is closing in on a deal that will see him race at Renault this season alongside Robert Kubica.

The 25-year-old, who finished 2nd in the GP2 Series last year, has many reports from Enstone that he is in consideration for the job. He has a huge amount of backing from the Russian government (another example of politics in these situations) and current Renault sponsor MegaFon, who are also Russian.

It is understood that Petrov is being considered alongside an F1 driver with recent experience. This may be Romain Grosjean, but I doubt it. Jacques Villeneuve hasn’t got recent experience, so he is out of the picture also. It seems that USF1 is the only option left for JV. The other driver may also be Christian Klien or Takuma Sato.

If Petrov fails to get the seat at Renault, he may also get a role in Campos. This is because he used to race for them in the GP2 Series (2007-2008) and Gp2 Seies Asia (2008-2009). Also, Campos seem to be in difficulty financially, so Petrov’s huge backing will be a large incentive.

Petrov also seems to have a good amount of talent along with his backing. In the complete GP2 series, he finished 13th and 7th in 2007 and 2008 with Campos. He then moved to the GP2 Asia series, another popular series for upcoming F1 drivers, and finished 3rd and 5th in 2008 and 2009.

Whichever team he may join, it is my opinion that we will almost definately see the first Russian Formula 1 driver in 2010.

Campos car passes final crash test

The Campos Meta logo

The Campos Meta logo

The Campos F1 car, which will make its debut next month, has passed its final mandatory FIA crash test.

The team’s 2010 car is being designed by Italian firm Dallara, and is technically nearly finished before the testing begins next month.

Team boss Adrian Campos has said:

“The car is now homologated and we are still working very, very hard. We are very confident about our position, and we are close to a deal with an investor that will help us even more.”

Campos will probably make their debut on the second Jerez test,on the 17th-20th February. They will also announce the team-mate to Bruno Senna within the next fortnight.

Piquet had F1 offer for 2010

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet Jr has revealed that he had a firm offer of a drive in F1 for 2010.

The Brazilian, who has not raced in F1 since the crash-gate scandal last year, has announced that he is to race in a NASCAR series, having previously tested a Toyota Tundra truck.

Piquet claims that he left F1 because of all the politics. He said:

“I could’ve been there (Formula 1) if I wanted to. A team offered me to be there.”

“I just thought I was sick and tired of all of the stuff over there. I just took a decision of starting a new step in my career and a new challenge in coming to NASCAR.”

“For a lot of people who are outside of America, it’s a downgrade. But for people that really understand – maybe it’s a downgrade in technology of the car — but in terms of career, of how big the sport is in a lot of ways it’s even a tougher step than F1.”

“For me, I compare it side by side. It’s just two different types of cars. The level of competition and the seriousness and the business of both series are very, very high. I was just sick and tired of things over there. I got a very, very good opportunity over here to start my career here and I’m here.”

It is not known which team made the offer, but Piquet was heavily linked earlier with the new Campos team, having already signed fellow Brazilian Bruno Senna.

Even if he had taken the offer, he never would have survived in F1. Very few people will forgive him for what he did, and I doubt I ever will. Anyways, he would have crashed.

De la Rosa joins BMW Sauber

Pedro de la Rosa testing for McLaren in 2009

Pedro de la Rosa testing for McLaren in 2009

BMW Sauber have announced that Pedro de la Rosa will race for the team this year, alongside Kamui Kobayashi.

The 38-year-old has been the McLaren test driver since 2003. He has competed in 71 Grands Prix since 1999.  He started his F1 career with a point in Melbourne with Arrows. He spent 2 years with them, until he moved to Jaguar in 2001. After 2 years there, he became the McLaren test driver. His last Grand Prix was at Interlagos 2006, when he was substituting for Juan Pablo Montoya.

It is believed that De la Rosa was signed so as to bring experience to the team and his team-mate, Kamui Kobayashi, who has only raced in 2 Grands Prix so far.

Also, it appears that he has backing from Universia, which is a network of 11,000 universities in 15 countries. This orginisation is itself heavily supported by the bank Santander, who have a sponsorship deal regarding fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

“Pedro has spent many years working for a top team at the highest technical level,” said team principal Peter Sauber. “We as a team stand to gain from his experience, and the same goes for young Kamui. The combination of a seasoned racer and an up-and-coming young driver has repeatedly proved a very fruitful one.”

“I don’t expect either of them to disappoint in 2010. Of course it is also crucial that we provide them with a decent car; I feel positive about our in-house progress on that front too. We were able to continue work on our 2010 car as scheduled throughout the recent period of uncertainty.”

De la Rosa said: “I always firmly believed I would be given another chance as a team driver. Since the number of test drives were radically reduced, this was what I was working towards. I’m really excited about the season with Peter Sauber’s team, which has been a solid fixture in Formula One ever since 1993.”

I’m looking forward to seeing Pedro back, as he certainly deserves a good drive after many faithful years of testing. The fact that he got the fastest lap in Brazil 2006 (only raced 8 races that season, and not since) proves that he has lost little of his expertise.

However, I am now much more concerned about Nick Heidfeld. The German is now left with very few drives available: Renault, Campos or USF1. I would be very surprised if he didn’t get a seat for 2010, as his experience and dependability are surely valuable for many teams.

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