The first Spanish team to be accepted to Formula One in the modern era has conceded that the dumping of plans to run the sport under a budget cap will leave it at a disadvantage compared to its rivals.
Campos Meta managing director Daniele Audetto has revealed that, while the team has the finances in place to be on the grid in 2010 - something that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone doubts about other potential newcomers - the scrapping of plans to curb spending means that it could be operating with half the budget of some others on the grid.
The proposed £40m cap played a major part in attracting the many bids received by the FIA to fill three vacancies on the F1 grid for 2010, but was scrapped as part of the resolution to the FIA-FOTA 'war' that kept F1 intact for the foreseeable future. As a result, Campos, along with US F1 and Manor Grand Prix, are now faced with having to contend with established teams that can continue to spend what they like - and Audetto admits that it was a blow, despite investors from Madrid having pledged a budget approaching €40m to sit alongside the €10m 'seed money' provided by FOM.
"Next year, we calculate that teams will still be spending around €100m," the former Arrows, Renault and Super Aguri man revealed to Auto Motor und Sport
, "We obviously stand with an inferior sum than if the budget cap would have come in the next year as originally planned. The abolishment of the upper spending limit threw our plan into disarray - we counted on €45m and, suddenly, teams can spend double.”
Rumours insists that Spanish mobile communications giant Telefonica will be Campos' title sponsor, potentially bringing experienced McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa back into competition to lead the line-up, but plans to add Repsol to the list - reuniting two former Racing Engineering GP2 sponsors - appear to hinge on the plans of Jaime Alguersuari, who is currently engaged to Scuderia Toro Rosso. GP2 frontrunners Vitaly Petrov, Sergio Pérez and Pastor Maldonado, along with the ubiquitous Bruno Senna and, perhaps surprisingly, Nelson Piquet Jr have all be mentioned in connection to the second Campos seat, with Audetto revealing that 'the list for the second cockpit covers ten drivers'.
With the team's first car already well underway at technical partner Dallara, Audetto has announced that it is aiming at a first run on 10 January - 'probably at Jerez or Valencia' - but admits that the recent Renault furore has caused potential partners to rethink their plans.
“The scandal around Renault did not do us well,” he conceded, “Sponsors held themselves back until clarity in the case prevails and, since [Fernando] Alonso was involved [via his association with Renault], Spanish backers are particularly sensitive."