Campos boss Colin Kolles says his team is close to finalizing a deal to bring Karun Chandhok into Formula 1.
The Indian driver has been strongly linked with Campos since Kolles took the helm last week as part of the restructuring that saw founder Adrian Campos step aside and his partner Jose Ramon Carabante assume full control. On Friday, Kolles confirmed that a contract with Chandhok could be agreed to imminently. Sources suggest that the 26-year-old had a seat fitting with Campos' car builder Dallara yesterday.
"We have been very impressed with Karun's performance in GP2 and are close to finalizing a deal with him," said Kolles. "India is a great country and it would be great for the sport to have an Indian driver on the grid.
"However, we will be in a better position to comment on this over the next few days. My aim now is to make sure that we are there on the grid in Bahrain, which will be a huge achievement in itself. We are moving in the right direction and will do everything in our power to make sure we are running in Bahrain, with Karun in the car."
Chandhok's father and manager Vicky shared Kolles' optimism that an F1 deal was close. "We are in talks with Colin and hope to confirm a deal very soon," said Chandhok. "We have known Colin for a number of years and we are absolutely amazed by his determination and passion to get the car on the grid in Bahrain. We have utmost faith in him and are hopeful to confirm things in the next few days."
Bruno Senna had already been announced as Campos' first F1 driver, but his position could depend on the Brazilian finding additional sponsorship. Jose Maria Lopez, who had signed with the troubled US F1 squad, has been strongly linked to a move to Campos amid the American outfit's problems.
Chandhok has some F1 testing experience from runs with Red Bull two years ago, and has spent the last three seasons in GP2, winning his first race with Durango in 2007 and then taking another victory on the way to 10th in the championship with iSport the following year. But he only managed one podium in a difficult 2009 campaign with the Ocean team.
If his deal with Campos goes ahead, he will become India's second F1 driver, following Narain Karthikeyan's season with Jordan in 2005.