New Campos Meta 1 team principal Dr. Colin Kolles has confirmed that he is now 'close to finalising a deal' with GP2 Series race-winner Karun Chandhok for F1 2010 – as the former Jordan, Spyker, Midland and Force India chief revealed that the under-pressure Spanish outfit is 'moving in the right direction'.
Late last week, it was announced that the team's eponymous founder Adrián Campos had been bought out by key shareholder and business associate José Ramón Carabante in an effort to financially secure the beleaguered Madrid-based operation's future and guarantee that it will be on the starting grid come the curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir in just over a fortnight's time [see separate story – click here
Given that production on the Dallara chassis' had stopped prior to Carabante's takeover due to a repeated failure to pay, the team is now facing a race against time to make the field in the desert kingdom – and the first move made by Campos' new owner was to install Kolles at the helm, recognising the German as a man well-equipped to deal with the arduous and unenviable task of trying to turn the squad's ailing fortunes around from his previous experiences in the top flight.
And in-turn, it would seem, Kolles' own first move has been to try to procure the services of the man who would become only the second Indian ever to compete at the highest level, following in the wheel tracks of compatriot Narain Karthikeyan with Jordan Grand Prix five years ago and a year ahead of the anticipated first Indian Grand Prix close to New Delhi.
“We have been very impressed with Karun's performance in GP2 and are close to finalising a deal with him,” the 43-year-old acknowledged. “India is a great country, and it would be great for the sport to have an Indian driver on the grid. However, we will be in a better position to comment on this over the next few days.
“My aim now is to make sure that we are there on the grid in Bahrain, which will be a huge achievement in itself. We are moving in the right direction and will do everything in our power to make sure we are running in Bahrain, with Karun in the car.”
Chandhok has spent the past three seasons racing in the feeder GP2 Series, triumphing once for Durango and once for iSport International where in 2008 he partnered his friend Bruno Senna, who on paper at least, already has a contract in-place at Campos to make his grand prix debut in 2010.
The 26-year-old from Chennai impressed on his maiden F1 test outing to-date with Red Bull Racing at Barcelona in late 2007, and has been on the fringes of graduation ever since – and now, finally, it appears he could be set to receive his big break.
“We are in talks with Colin and hope to confirm a deal very soon,” affirmed his father and manager Vicky Chandhok, a senior figure in Indian motor racing circles. “We have known Colin for a number of years, and we are absolutely amazed by his determination and passion to get the car on the grid in Bahrain. We have utmost faith in him and are hopeful to confirm things in the next few days.”