There’s no stopping Hall of Fame in 2016: he met with Tatiana Calderón, had an Iberian tête-à-tête chat with Álex Palou and finally tracked down and interviewed a heavy hitter of the industry, none other than Adrián Campos himself in Valencia’s cosy paddock at the recent GP3 test. Bernie Ecclestone next, that’s what I’m saying!
Tony Hall: Adrián, over 40 years in this sport both as a driver and team owner/manager. What keeps you going?
Adrián Campos: You know, in the end in all my life all I did was racing, so it’s the only thing that I know how to do. I have in front of me 10 good years I think physically and mentally. Sometimes I think of my retirement and I think of the new young people that can take my place. This is one of the things that I would like the company to continue doing motorsport and doing good things for the young drivers. I think I have around me the best people in Spain, not only Spain but Europe as well. We fight and we keep working every day.
TH: If I can ask you, the last time we met you had Facu Regalia driving for you. He is back in Argentina racing. Is there any reason for him leaving Europe?
AC: He is the kind of driver who was not in the right place at the right moment. The situation in Argentina is very difficult and he didn’t find the right support.
TH: Will we see him back in Europe do you think?
AC: Like many drivers, many drivers are in the same situation. The economic situation in the world is very difficult and there are many drivers, good drivers in the world without a chance.
TH: Moving on, Álex Palou is in his second year with Campos Racing in GP3. Tell us about Álex and where you see him in the future?
AC: When Alex arrived at Campos Racing, he surprised me like Alonso or Antonio García did when they started to work with us at 16 years old. Alex, he knows how to lead the people, he is very mature, he is the kind of driver to arrive in single-seaters with more than a 1,000 races in go-kart, so he knows how to be a racing driver and he has a great opportunity in the new season in GP3, and in my opinion he will be at the gates of Formula 1 at the same time as Alonso will start thinking about his retirement. Maybe Alonso will be number one at the time, it is not a problem, but it is not forever maybe he will have this one-year chance. You never know: it depends on him, it depends on his results, but honestly I am very happy. After Alonso and García, he is the best one I have.
TH: Campos Racing has been in several categories of racing over the last few years. You are now in GP2 and GP3, are you encouraged by the type of rules, regulations and management of these two series?
AC: I think we are all in a very difficult situation in the world. Racing outside of Formula 1 is very difficult and we have to find the best way to involve sponsors, but to involve sponsors we have to offer some things. I think the organizers of these categories have to think what we can do to improve in order to give something more to the sponsors. Because if we are not creative, we are thinking only about putting stickers on the car, then we are wrong. We have to offer many other things to be attractive for the sponsors. It’s not my responsibility but it’s the responsibility of the organizers of the series. They are in big problems, including Formula 1.
TH: Adrián, regarding the state of Formula 1 today. I speak as a fan of many years watching drivers such as Stirling Moss and later in the 80s the likes of Prost, Senna, Mansell and many more great drivers. Where do you think it’s all gone wrong in Formula 1?
AC: Probably it is the change of many little things. You know, it is difficult to say but I think that there are a lot of politics, political things. The teams are very difficult to be together because of the budgets of every team which are different, so it must be someone with the power, like Bernie back in the 90s. This is what I want, this is what I see and what I look for it to be, but I am not anyone to say anything. It’s the little things it’s the change of many things, it’s not easy. I don’t have the answers. If I start to think, for sure it’s possible to find a way.
TH: Recently a TV commentator said that Fernando should perhaps retire. Do you think he should have said it?
AC: Oh Johnny Herbert, yes. Honestly, I think there are many journalists that are frustrated drivers, many, many. I am not saying that Herbert is one of those, but there are a lot, and probably Johnny suffered this in his career because there are people who can criticize or say things regarding drivers just because they have a pen or they have a microphone. In my opinion, it was a mistake from Johnny.
Fernando is very strong and you have to be in the body of a driver and he must know that. You have to be in the body of any driver with his own circumstances for you to have an opinion. A really good journalist will never permit himself to speak about a driver by only seeing what is happening on the track.
Fernando and his character, like every driver, reacts in his own way and the way of Fernando was that (to confront Herbert) and everybody knows what happened; but really Fernando is himself in every moment. If you write something, maybe the driver can say something different. In the end, if you have the ‘two balls’ to write something about a driver, then you have to have the ‘two balls’ too for the driver to answer you.
TH: Will see Fernando up there, leading a race and winning races once McLaren and Honda have a better car?
AC: That is what I would like. For me, Fernando is one of the people I really respect in my life. I only want the best for him.
TH: Thank you Adrián and we wish you and your team every success in GP2 and GP3 this season.