A Monaco-based firm with links to the Campos junior squad has announced its intentions to enter Formula 1 from 2021, with Pascal Wehrlein and Alex Palou as potential drivers.
Campos previously attempted to enter Formula 1 in 2010, having been enticed by a proposed budget cap, but was bought out amid financial difficulties by the organisation that eventually joined last-minute as HRT.
That team collapsed at the end of 2012 following three unsuccessful seasons in the championship.
On Thursday a press release was issued outlining that MIM – Monaco Increase Management – is eyeing a 2021 Formula 1 entry, in association with Campos.
It stated that “from the first meeting with Chase Carey at the Spanish F1 Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 11th, and through the following meetings at F1 Group Headquarters in London with Ross Brawn on May 15th, and July 31st, it was clear that a Spanish team would fill a void left by the retirement of Fernando Alonso, and increase the interest of the Spanish fans and the TV and Media audience.
“Further, the support of the Spanish Federation, the availability of the Campos Racing Facility, as well as the know-how of the Campos Racing Team, already competing and winning in Formula 2 and Formula 3, make Spain the perfect home for a new Formula 1 Team.”
Campos CEO Salvatore Gandolfo and team founder Adrian Campos initiated the project, aligned with MIM, and have hired Peter McCool as Technical Director and Ben Wood as Chief Aerodynamicist.
McCool spent time at the Honda-linked Super Aguri outfit in the mid-2000s while Wood has been Chief Aerodynamicist at Prost F1 and Mercedes.
MIM was founded by Gandolfo in 2018 and it currently looks after a handful of young drivers, including ex-Manor and Sauber racer Wehrlein and Super Formula front-runner Palou.
Wehrlein, formerly of Mercedes’ young driver scheme, raced in Formula 1 through 2016/17, and has since occupied a development role at Ferrari, alongside his Formula E duties with Mahindra, which Campos supports.
Palou, a long-term Campos protégé, has previously raced in GP3 and Formula 2, and this year moved to the Japanese scene, where he holds third in the Super Formula standings.
An engineering crew hired at the end of July started work “on a preliminary study for the new F1 entry project, which will be completed as soon as the new regulations [for 2021] are published at the end of October.”
It stated that the organisation is “now at an advanced stage of negotiations with current Formula 1 Teams and engine manufacturers to ensure the best possible partnership for a competitive Spanish Formula 1 Team from 2021 and onwards.”
“Joining the Formula 1 World Championship in 2021 shall be a long-term project,” said Gandolfo, the founder of the Vexatec company that produces data-tracking sportswear.
“We are aware of the big challenges ahead of us, but we have a team of experts working day and night and the financial solidity required by the FIA to make this project a success.
“With the new budget cap, the new distribution of incomes and the new technical and sporting regulations, there is a great opportunity for smaller teams to compete and ultimately to make the FIA Formula 1 World Championship more interesting and balanced again.”
Campos currently competes in Formula 2 and Formula 3, with Renault F1 tester Jack Aitken its highest-placed driver, holding fifth in the Formula 2 standings.
Formula 1 has not featured a new team since Haas entered in 2016; Liberty Media has been keen to reduce costs long-term in a bid to entice new entrants, with the first stages of a budget cap set to be implemented from 2021.
However it was outlined by Brawn in August that any potential new team was unlikely to be ready until 2022 at the earliest.
“We have a surprising number of teams that have shown an interest," Brawn told Sky Sports F1 at the Belgian Grand Prix.
“But what we have said to those teams is let's get these rules introduced, let's stabilise the situation. Let's get everything working properly before we seek more teams.”