The new Campos Grand Prix team is understood to be evaluating a quartet of home-grown talents for when it makes its official Formula 1 debut next year – even if Adrian Campos is adamant that a Spanish passport is no guarantee of a drive.
Campos was named as one of three successful applicants to join the 2010 starting grid by the FIA last Friday – alongside USF1 and Manor – and the Madrid and Valencia-based outfit will enter the top flight with a strong pedigree in the GP2 feeder series in recent years and having run drivers of the calibre of double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso since its foundation back in 1998.
Spanish newspaper AS
has named four possible candidates for the two available berths at Campos next season – McLaren-Mercedes reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa, GP2 front-runner and race-winner Javier Villa, fellow GP2 ace and former Force India tester Roldan Rodriguez and new Le Mans 24 Hours winner Marc Gené, who triumphed in the round-the-clock La Sarthe classic for Peugeot alongside David Brabham and Alex Wurz at the weekend and claimed the Opel Fortuna by Nissan laurels for Campos in the team's first year of existence.
“I will speak with them,” revealed Campos, who himself made 17 grand prix starts for Minardi in 1987 and 1988. “I will try to support Spanish drivers, but that does not mean that anyone is going to drive for us just because he is Spanish.”
Gené, however – a man who began 36 grands prix for Minardi and Williams between 1999 and 2004, with a best finish of fifth place for the latter in the 2003 Italian Grand Prix in place of the concussed Ralf Schumacher – has suggested that he has somewhat loftier ambitions.
“Any driver who dreams about F1 thinks of Ferrari, McLaren, Renault,” the 36-year-old wrote in his regular blog for Spanish newspaper El Mundo
. “Nobody dreams about a private team.”
Reigning GP2 champion Giorgio Pantano, by contrast, has hinted that he would certainly be interested in driving one of Campos' two Dallara-designed, Cosworth-powered cars in F1, having achieved a brace of victories for the squad in 2007. The Italian previously raced for Jordan Grand Prix in 2004, before being dropped after his home outing at Monza in favour of current Toyota star Timo Glock.