Ecclestone to seal Campos fate?

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If Spanish paper Diario AS is correct, I’ll let you be the judge of the veracity of their story, then Campos Meta is in trouble. The paper suggests that commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has convinced Campos backer Jose Ramon Carabante to exit the team and run his own squad which will be sold to VW in 2011.

ecclestone

This all seems like a grand speculation to me as VW has always been luke warm on the prospect of entering F1. VW have nothing to prove from an Audi stand point as the brand has dominated the Le Mans series in the last decade. But could Porsche be looking at a comeback? Could VW want to increase their brand and image in 2011?

Is it implausible that Ecclestone would do this? Maybe not. The venerable Englishman knows that the likelihood of another Fernando Alonso championship is possible and he is keen to exploit that fact in Spain, which has become a real burgeoning market for F1 with Alonso’s arrival in the series (most recently moving the European grand prix to Valencia). There is little doubt in my mind that Ecclestone is navigating some choppy waters with Campos Meta and USF1. He will not be happy with a “no show” in Bahrain from either team. His interest lies in setting up a season of terrific excitement and that means all the teams being on the grid.

Mr. Carabante is certainly a wealthy man with investments in land, development, sport, healthcare and expanding markets into the US. Ecclestone convincing him to leave the Campos stable and going it alone with the endorsement and help of Ecclestone may be enticing to him. Chances are, like Chad Hurley, he is frustrated with the Campos situation. The lynch pin is if VW are truly interested. IF this is the case, Carabante’s investment for 2010 may make more sense than ever.

The paper also suggests that Colin Kolles may be in play as a team boss and Kolles has ties to Audi but is that enough to vet the rumor? In the end, Ecclestone is not happy with USF1 or Campos and one has to wonder how the FIA allowed the two teams in the 2010 season with such think backing? What was the vetting process or due diligence that allowed these teams a spot on the grid? Teams like Lola and Dave Richards Prodrive surely made more sense?

Ecclestone will be keen to fill the grid and will arrange whatever back-room agreements that need to be made in order to do it. His interest, ironically, in the Campos/Carabante deal is tied to a future carrot of VW investment. I thought the manufacturers were falling out of favor in F1.

A key issue is a chassis and according to Diario AS, Dallara still has their F1 chassis available for Carabante to purchase. This suggests the rumors of the Stefan GP acquisition of the Dallara rights to the F1 chassis were perhaps unfounded?

All speculation but who can blame Diario or anyone else from trying to figure out just what is going on in F1? At this point the only thing that will definitively tell us is Bahrain in 30 days.

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