Introduction It was always the wish of former FIA president Max Mosley to get some fresh blood in Formula One, he predicted that the manufacturer teams would leave Formula One as a result of the economic recession, and unfortunately he was right.
It was always the wish of former FIA president Max Mosley to get some fresh blood in Formula One, he predicted that the manufacturer teams would leave Formula One as a result of the economic recession, and unfortunately he was right. Honda, Toyota and BMW have turned their back to Formula One, only car manufacturers Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari will be present at the Grand Prix circuits in 2010. However, Renault sold out to investor Genii and is therefore not a real manufacturer team anymore.
Peter Sauber managed to save the BMW team and they will be competing under the BMW-Sauber name. Without the new teams there would only be nine teams or 18 cars at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14th. It could have been worse, without the rescue of Renault and Sauber, only seven teams with 14 cars would compete in 2010. It seems I owe Mr. Mosley an apology for not sharing his skeptic, but correct view on the manufacturer teams as he expressed earlier in 2009.
If we go back to 1989 and 1990, we will find a record number of teams in Formula One, twenty teams raced during those two seasons. A few names from those days: Lola, Eurobrun, March, Osella, Dallara, Minardi, Onyx, AGS and Coloni. With so many teams, the FIA was even forced to organize pre-qualifications with four drivers eliminated after pre-qualifying, and after the normal qualification another four drivers were eliminated. Like it is in the current format, only 26 cars were allowed on the start grid in those days. Engine builder Cosworth supplied 10 out of those 20 teams in 1990, in 2010 Cosworth will supply five teams: Williams and the four new teams.
In 2009 the FIA admitted the four new teams: Lotus F1, Virgin Racing, US F1 Team and Campos Meta. Let's now take a closer look at these new teams and the people who are behind each of them. In this finale of the four articles, we will examine Campos Meta.
Adrian Campos is a former Formula One driver who wants to try his luck with his own Formula One team. The Campos racing team is currently active in the European F3 Championship. The team won six driver's championships and five team championships in the GP2 series, the Nissan series and the Euro F3 series.
Campos Meta is a collaboration between Campos Racing and Meta Image, a sports marketing company that produces and manages sport events, identifies sponsorship opportunities and designs effective marketing platforms, and they will be responsible for the commercial side of the team. Campos' marketing and administration's headquarters are in Madrid, while their technical centre is located at the Campos Racing headquarters in Valencia.
Adrian Campos was active in Formula One in 1987 and 1988 and participated in 21 races. In 1986 he tested for the Tyrrell team, and during 1987 and 1988 he drove for the Minardi team. After his Formula One career Campos competed in the Spanish Touring Car series and won the title in 1994. After the 1997 season, he decided to stop as a professional racing driver, and got involved in team management, and also founded Adrian Campos Motorsport. Spaniards Marc Gene and Fernando Alonso started their career at Campos Motorsport (later renamed Campos Racing). In October 2008 he sold his GP2 team to Alejandro Agag and is currently active in GP2 under the name Barwa Addax.
Racing director Danielle Audetto is also a familiar name in the Formula One paddock. He started his rally career as co-driver of now Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and Sandro Munari for the Lancia factory team. After badly injuring his legs, he resolved to a management job at FIAT. In 1976 he replaced team principal Montezemolo at the Ferrari Formula One team, and in 1977 he won the championship with Niki Lauda. He also worked for the Ligier, Arrows and Renault Formula One teams.
Technical director Toni Cuquerella was the engineer of Robert Kubica during his time at the BMW-Sauber team. At Campos he will be working with Brazilian Bruno Senna, nephew of the famous Ayrton Senna, who won three Formula One titles and was killed during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Campos has not signed up a second driver yet, but Pedro de la Rosa has been named as a candidate, although there are also rumors he might join the Sauber team.
In November last year the Campos car designed by the Italian Dallara company, was homologated by the FIA following a series of tests. The homologation tests were carried out at the Dallara facilities in Parma, Italy, where Campos Meta is building its car. Like the other new teams we have sofar not seen a completed car, but Campos announced they would be ready to test their car on February 1 at the Valencia circuit.
According to the team "The car passed all required tests. The homologation of the cockpit is a critical point that defines the status and quality of a Formula 1 car. Dallara has done a great job in order to have everything on time and pass all the tests at the first attempt. We still have to pass the homologation of the rear structure, which follows the same process and has already passed our own previous internal tests."
Conclusion and expectations
So, what can we expect from these four new teams? For these teams it will be a steep learning curve, none of the four teams have ever built a Formula One car, or raced in Formula One before. All four teams have been admitted to the FOTA (Formula One Teams Association), and the existing FOTA teams could play an important role in a smooth integration of their new colleagues.
US F1 and Virgin rely heavily on the CFD technology, which is relatively new, and is still in its infancy. It is a relatively cheap alternative compared to testing scaled down or full sized cars in a wind tunnel, all testing is done in a virtual computer environment. The technology hasn't been perfected yet, a few years ago the FIA Center Downwash Generating (CDG) wing was designed using the CFD technology, but did not function as expected when tested in real scale in the wind tunnel, and the FIA plans for the CDG wing were quickly abandoned. CFD technology has improved over the last few years, but still has to prove its reliability.
It also must be said that the CFD technology requires a lot a of computer power, and to fully exploit the benefits of the technology, you need a sort of super computer, very much like the super computers universities and major design companies have, and they cost many millions of dollars. The development of the technology could mean it could end up being just as expensive as wind tunnel testing.
We have also seen that the new teams will be outsourcing the fabrication of various parts of the car and the chassis, while the present teams still fabricate most parts, and certainly the chassis, themselves. And with the Resources Restriction Agreement between the FIA and Formula One team, the outsourcing trend could very well become the future shape of the sport. And last but not least, much of the success of the new teams will depend on the power and reliability of the Cosworth engine, will they be able to match the power of the Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault engines?
Some teams have set themselves a goal for 2010, Virgin is aiming to become the best newcomer of the season, and Lotus immediately responded by declaring they are aiming to beat Virgin, and so it seems, the pressure and the spirit of competition is on, right from the start.
But what we can't expect for instance is that the new Lotus team would live up to the expectations of the former Colin Chapman owned Lotus team, which enjoyed so many successes in Formula One. Jarno Trulli is a very experienced driver, he has worked with Mike Gascoyne before and together they will be able to develop the car, and the interaction between driver and engineer will be of paramount importance for all new teams.
Bruno Senna has tested for Honda, but lost his chance on a race seat after the demise of the team. He has to live with the heritage of his famous uncle, which means people will have very high expectations, however, Bruno Senna hopes he will make his own name in Formula One, one thing is sure, he has the same passion for motorsport as his uncle.
Lotus has hired two experienced drivers, while other teams opted for the more traditional approach, they hired one experienced driver and give a rookie or an inexperienced driver the chance to prove himself. Virgin Racing have signed Timo Glock, who does have experience in Formula One, and Lucas di Grassi, who has plenty experience as a GP2 driver.
Unfortunately none of the four new teams have sofar produced a finished car, and in February all teams are allowed to test their cars, so they have less than three weeks to complete the car. This year there are 15 pre- season test days allowed, February 1 to 3 in Valencia, February 10 to 13 in Jerez, February 17 to 20 again in Jerez, and February 25 to 28 in Barcelona.
Bernie Ecclestone and ex-FIA president Max Mosley were very pessimistic about the progress of some of the teams, and predicted that at least one team wouldn't make it to the start grid of the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14, so let's wait and see if they will have to take back their words or not.