Although A1GP Tony Teixeira appears to be waiting in the wings to take a part or controlling interest in the nascent Campos Meta Formula One team, the Spanish outfit continues to explore all options in its search for the finance needed to make its debut in 2010.
Teixeira this week confirmed speculation that he was interested in taking a stake in the team in order to promote the ailing A1GP circus [see story here
] but, while any doubt remains over the possibility of a rescue, rumours abound as to where Campos is going to find the money to avoid his entry being canned in favour of other hopefuls looking to join the grid in Bahrain.
The latest ruse, according to media sources in both Spain and Italy - where the team's chassis is currently being built by Dallara - is to consider employing a female driver, either as a test and development pilot or to join Bruno Senna in the race line-up. While both A1GP title winner Adam Carroll and F2 champion Andy Soucek have been named as candidates for the second seat alongside the Brazilian, Italiaracing.net
reports that the team is seriously examining the possibility of giving Maria de Villota a chance to prove herself.
The 31-year old daughter of former F1 pilot Emilio de Villota impressed on a handful of outings in the Superleague Formula series last season, and has previous experience in touring cars as well as junior single-seaters, and would bring not only the lure of being a Spanish driver in a Spanish team, but also the expectation of attracting sponsors not previously interested in F1.
The move has been hastened by reports in Germany that Campos Meta's situation will be examined by the F1 Commission next week, with the possibility that it could be asked to rescind its entry for 2010 should a full season's budget not be in place. The sport's commercial supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, has already cast doubt on the viability of both Campos and USF1, and is known to favour switching their entries to other candidates should there be any doubt over whether they will make it through the 2010 campaign, with Stefan GP among those pressing for inclusion, having snapped up elements of Toyota's stalled F1 programme, including its chassis designs.
de Villota would not be the first female driver to compete in grands prix - the late Lella Lombardi scored half a point in the truncated 1975 Spanish GP, while Maria-Teresa de Filippis raced in both 1958 and '59 - but follows the abortive efforts of Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify for three races with Brabham in 1992, Davina Galica and Desire Wilson, whose sixth place in South Africa in 1981 was scrubbed from the record books. Britain's Katherine Legge was the last female driver to sample F1 power, when she tested for Minardi in 2005.