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Kolles confident Campos will make Bahrain

ESPNF1 Staff
February 22, 2010 « Briatore steps down as football chairman | »
Colin Kolles is the man in charge at Campos © Sutton Images

New Campos team principal Colin Kolles has insisted his squad will have two cars at the first race in Bahrain, despite admitting that he arrived at its HQ to find nothing more than the bare bones of an F1 team.

On Friday Jose Maria Carabante announced he was taking full ownership of the team by buying out Adrian Campos' share. For months the team had been all but written off as a serious prospect for the season opener, but the new deal appears to have put the team back on track. Kolles is not underestimating the size of the task but is certain he will succeed.

"We will have two cars in Bahrain," he told journalist Adam Cooper on adamcooperf1.com. "I don't know how we will have them, and I don't care, but we will have two cars on the grid. If this is going to be achieved, I think this is one of the most amazing things. They had nothing. They had one empty workshop with nothing inside

"For two weeks I'm sleeping two hours a night, it's the most incredible time. I push more and more, and I'm not giving it up until I'm there. I want to succeed in bringing the team on the grid, and to survive the year and to stabilise it and then to build it up.

"My role is to clean up the chaos. They had basically nothing, only chaos. The only department which basically exists is a software department, with eight guys who never saw an F1 car in their lives, and who are doing software simulation programmes. Then there are two or three engineers with F1 experience, and that's it. The real story is a crazy story."

From 2005 to 2008 Kolles worked as managing director and team principal at the ex-Jordan team, overseeing its evolution from Midland, to Spyker and finally to Force India. He is confident that his extensive contacts within the sport will ease Campos' progress and see it turn a Dallara-built chassis, a Cosworth-supplied engine and an Xtrac-produced gearbox into a working F1 car.

"There are things which will be very last minute, because to form a team in two weeks is not easy. It's only possible because I have the infrastructure. I have people working for me like Mike Krack, who was chief engineer at BMW for example. Geoff Willis [ex-Williams, Honda and Red Bull designer] is a kind of consultant at the moment, and we'll see how we proceed with him.

"I have a big network, but this is the smallest problem, the mechanics and engineers and so on. This is almost sorted out already. There are other issues. You have to find agreements with Cosworth, Dallara, Xtrac, all the other suppliers, discussions with drivers, with Bernie [Ecclestone]. You have to eliminate the 'race-stoppers,' that's the point."

Bruno Senna looks set to hold on to his race seat at the team, with the identity of its second driver less clear. There is speculation that Jose Maria Lopez might jump ship from US F1 and bring his personal sponsorship to Campos. It is also rumoured that principal US F1 backer and YouTube owner Chad Hurley could bring his money to the Spanish-based team. Although Kolles didn't speak directly about the rumours, when asked if Campos would remain a Spanish outfit, he hinted at some future American involvement.

"Maybe [it will have] an American flavour," he said. "Maybe an American-Spanish flavour."

Kolles added that the Campos name is likely to change subject to approval from the FIA and FOM.