“A commitment to be much more than a racing team. A commitment to be a platform for prosperity and sustainable development. To transform a sports competition and a global event into a tool for change, for global development, for human growth.” Campos Meta Team Presentation.
Well, I say. Campos Meta, the last of the new teams (and the only one with a name like a continental biscuit) to feature in F1 Badger’s pre-season guide, certainly isn’t backward in coming forward. You may have thought they’d just be racing cars, but oh no: they’ll be working to save humanity at the same time. It’s all in a day’s work…
Avoiding their laudable but rather portentous statements for the moment, let’s look at how the team is shaping up. Launched in 1998 as Campos Racing (by former F1 driver Adrián Campos), the team tasted success in lower formulas including GP2, Euro F3 and ‘World Series by Renault’, even having a young Fernando Alonso as champion in 1999. In an agreement presumably similar to Virgin’s collaboration with Manor GP, they’ve struck a deal with Spanish-based sports management and marketing company Meta Image to administer the commercial side of the team. If you’ve never heard of them, you wouldn’t be alone. They manage the careers of “elite athletes”, only one of whom the writer of this article had ever heard of and a number of whom appear to be retired. No doubt they’re big in the Spanish-speaking world.
Campos are collaborating with a couple of external suppliers – Italian company Dallara Automobili to design and build the cars and Berkshire-based Xtrac for transmission work. Dallara’s credits include producing chassis for a number of series around the world, including Formula 3, IndyCar, GP2 and GP3. As both are well-established companies they should, if given the right resources, be able to put something half decent onto the grid. Indeed, reports that the car passed its final mandatory FIA crash test are sure to boost hopes that they’re making real progress.
Confirmed to drive for the team is Bruno Senna and, well, no-one else at the moment. Coming with such a famous surname, expectations of Bruno will be high, quite apart from Uncle Ayrton’s famous quote “If you think I’m fast, you should see my nephew!” Bruno stopped racing after the deaths of his uncle and father and returned comparatively late aged 20 in 2004, competing in a few Formula BMW races before moving onto Formula Three, then GP2, and finally into F1. He also likes Duffy. Weren’t expecting that, were you? As for the other seat, it seems it’ll be going to someone with significant financial backing, with Dutch driver Robert Doornbos revealing both USf1 and Campos Meta are seeking $5 million in sponsorship money even to have a shot at nabbing a seat.
Interestingly, the team are still advertising for (amongst others) an Electric Technician, Hydraulic Engineer, Head of Electronics, System Engineer and a Race Engineer. So if any F1 Badgers fancy it, you know where to apply. Given the jobs still advertised on their website (whether by design or by lack of update), the lack of public information about the team, and the continuing press stories concerning their money problems, it’s easy to see why everyone’s favourite billionaire Bernie Ecclestone would doubt their viability. The team are naturally keen to play down their reported money problems, with Adrián Campos even alluding to an investment deal in the pipeline, but F1 Badger won’t be convinced till everything is signed and sealed. As can be seen with any business seeking new investment (and especially in the world of sport), people tend to talk a lot but very rarely stump up significant money. Let’s just hope when the talking stops and the racing starts, Campos Meta is there to enjoy the fun. After all, they’ve got a world to save.