Just as the overwhelming majority of race fans had finally written off A1GP’s World Cup of Motorsport as over and done with, its promoter Tony Teixeira has claimed to be in talks to reposition it as a feeder series for F1 team Campos.
Earlier this year the South African claimed to have secured funding to see his cash-strapped series, which features around 20 national franchises racing a spec car based on the F1 championship-winning Ferrari F2004, through another four seasons.
But the funding failed to materialise and a dispute over the assets of its UK-based operating company saw the cars impounded and unable to fulfil the opening date of the 2009/10 season calendar, a high-profile and partially government-funded showcase on Australia’s Gold Coast.
The no-show damaged Teixeira’s stock badly since he and other members of A1GP’s management had given repeated public assurances that the date would be honoured and that the series’ future was secure. The cancelled five-year contract to appear in Australia has been made the subject of two separate public inquiries.
Nothing much has been heard from Teixeira since the Gold Coast fiasco in October – until rumours surfaced that the Campos Meta F1 team was seeking funding to help it fill its newly allocated grid slot this year.
Today he gave an interview to Reuters’ motorsport correspondent Alan Baldwin, in which he confirmed he is one of several parties talking to Campos, and that his motivation for doing this is to provide a route for A1 champions to break into F1.
He said: “For us it has got to be part of an A1 deal. It’s all for A1. My ambition is to bring A1 into F1.” Read the full interview here.
Teixeira makes no explicit claims for the future of A1GP in the interview and offers no explanation how he might be able to transform its fortunes to a position where it could provide a launch-pad into F1 for the likes of Adam Carroll or Neel Jani, its last two champions.
But the article quotes insiders suggesting the series could be re-launched later this year, and it is clear that Teixeira would not be bothering to negotiate with Campos on the series’ behalf unless he felt there was some point to the exercise – and some chance of its survival.
It’s safe to say that motor-racing fans are probably feeling pretty sceptical on this subject by now. Teixeira built up a store of credibility during the four years his series successfully operated, but the Gold Coast fiasco used it all up.
Rebooting A1GP and buying into Campos will require more than just a verifiable guarantee of cold, hard cash from him – it will also require some very good answers to quite a few difficult questions.