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Sports News

INTERVIEW-Motor racing-A1 boss in talks to buy into Campos F1

LONDON, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Tony Teixeira, boss of the troubled A1 GP series, says he is talking to Campos Meta about buying into the new Spanish-based Formula One team.

“I am talking to Campos, but I’m not the only one,” the Portuguese-born South African businessman told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding that the situation should become clearer next week.

“There’s more than one group talking to Campos and for us it has got to be part of an A1 deal,” he added. “It’s all for A1. My ambition is to bring A1 into F1.”

Teixeira’s self-styled “World Cup of Motorsport” has had to cancel the opening three races of the current season due to problems stemming from its British operating arm going into liquidation.

The final Dutch A1 round scheduled for Assen in May has also been axed.

The A1 boss said last September that he had secured long-term funding after a financial restructuring. However, insiders expect the remaining five rounds to be cancelled before an attempt to re-launch the series later in the year.

Campos Meta founder and former F1 racer Adrian Campos ran Team Mexico in A1 and Teixeira said he was discussing anything from title sponsorship to part-ownership or full control with the Spaniard: “It’s whatever suits us best.”

The aim would be to use Campos to publicise A1 and to create a path from A1 to the Formula One grid as a feeder series.

PERSISTENT SPECULATION

Campos are one of four completely new Formula One teams this season but there has been persistent speculation about their finances and preparations.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, in an interview with Britain’s The Times newspaper, last month cast doubt on the likelihood of Campos being on the starting grid in Bahrain on March 14.

Serbian businessman Zoran Stefanovic has also emerged as a possible late entry, should any of the existing teams fail, after negotiating with departed Toyota to take over their Formula One assets.

However Campos told the BBC last week that he did not want to sell his stake in the team and was determined to stay as principal.

“The condition to be a shareholder is to accept all the existing contracts,” he said. “We are looking for investors and sponsors but the project is very much alive.” The team have signed Brazilian Bruno Senna, nephew of the late triple world champion Ayrton, for the season but have yet to sign a second driver.

Senna has said he is not being paid a salary by the team, relying instead on personal backers while being expected to help attract sponsors.

The car has been designed for Campos by Italy’s Dallara and Teixeira dismissed a report suggesting that the team could turn up in Bahrain without having taken part in any of the four scheduled pre-season tests.

“I am aware of that report but that’s not what the team principal tells me,” he said. “They may make the second test but definitely the third and they will make the race. The second test is the target.”

Campos is not the first Formula One team Teixeira has expressed an interest in.

He was linked to Honda, who eventually became 2009 champions Brawn GP and are now Mercedes, in early 2009 after the Japanese manufacturer announced they were pulling out.

Before that, he talked to Spyker in 2007 -- but they were bought by Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya and became Force India -- and Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso in 2008. (Editing by Sonia Oxley; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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