As the man who has been parachuted in and tasked with both rescuing and turning around the fortunes of the ailing Campos Meta 1 outfit, Colin Kolles has arguably the toughest job in the F1 paddock heading towards the 2010 curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix
in three weeks' time – but whilst acknowledging that he has a fair degree of 'chaos' to clear up at the beleaguered Spanish operation, the German is adamant that the team 'will have two cars' in Sakhir.
Campos had been seeking external salvation for some time prior to the official confirmation late yesterday (Friday) that founder Adrián Campos has been bought out – and to all intents and purposes eased out – by chief shareholder and now team president José Ramón Carabante [see separate story – click here
], thereby guaranteeing the 2010 newcomer's future after it had looked to be on the verge of collapse before one of its cars had even so much as turned a wheel.
Having been largely absent from the top flight since his services were dispensed with by Force India
F1 during a management reshuffle at the Silverstone-based squad in late 2008, Kolles has now been entrusted with dragging Campos back out of the mire into which it has descended, with Carabante installing him at the helm, to be supported by the likes of widely-respected erstwhile Red Bull
Racing technical director Geoff Willis.
If he is facing what looks to be an almost insurmountable challenge to take to the track in Bahrain, the former Jordan Grand Prix, Midland F1, Spyker and Force India
team chief is insistent that it is one that he wanted and one that he is confident of being able to pull off, minor miracle as that might presently appear to be with little progress having been made on the chassis front in recent weeks as Dallara downed tools in response to repeated failures to pay.
There will likely be no chance to test or even shake down the new Cosworth-powered machine before the season begins – but if Campos can just make the starting grid in the desert kingdom, Kolles reflects that such an accomplishment would be almost a victory in itself.
“For two weeks I'm sleeping two hours a night,” he told esteemed F1 journalist Adam Cooper, published at adamcooperf1.com
. “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.
“It will be based in Spain as an HQ, but for now we will operate from Dallara, for the first race, and we'll see. At mid-term it will definitely be in Spain. The team will be based in Murcia. We have to build up a state-of-the-art factory, wind tunnel and everything.
“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, you understand.
“We will have two cars in Bahrain. 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, I tell you. They had nothing. They had one empty workshop with nothing inside…