Campos Racing confounded many external expectations in Sakhir at the start of the 2023 season. Ralph Boschung was the Sprint Race victor as both he and rookie teammate Kush Maini were vying for points in the first round.

The Swiss led the Championship in fact at one point, though the heights of March quickly gave way to disappointment later in an ultimately disappointing campaign.

For Team Principal Adrian Campos Jr, their fast start came as no surprise after seeing promise during pre-season testing, but the substantial performance drop off derailed an otherwise promising year.

“It wasn’t what we were expecting, especially after what we saw in the Feature Race in Sakhir,” the eponymous team boss explained. “There were a lot of ups and downs. I think we saw a lot of speed and potential with Ralph and with Kush on most race weekends, he was fighting for poles with strong pace.

“The result was surprising in Bahrain for many, but we knew that we had the potential. When we were at testing and it went really well, we knew we had a plan and it was going to be a very good race weekend for us, so we weren’t surprised by that.

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“Then in Jeddah, it wasn’t that bad either, we were up there but then in the following races we went from winning races to being further back. That was very, very challenging for us.

“There were some issues, accidents and misfortune that didn’t allow us to get better results, but the performance was there. But I was definitely expecting a lot more from 2023.”

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One of the standouts in the first half of the season, Maini hit the ground running as a rookie in Formula 2, scoring consistently in eight of the opening 10 races. He was the best point-scorer in F2 since Lando Norris’ 2018 run of scores to start the year, but the Indian driver’s form wasn’t a shock to Campos.

Confident since his first time in the F2 car in post-season testing after the end of the 2022 season, Maini’s fast start was one of the high points for the Spanish team in 2023, and his speed was demonstrated as he fought for multiple poles through his maiden campaign.

“Formula 2 is so difficult and it’s very hard to be consistent throughout the whole year. Kush was very consistent in the first part, always in the points and up there.

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“Then we arrived in Europe and were lacking a bit of luck and performance that we had in the first few rounds, but by the end, when Ralph started to rebound too, he was fighting for poles, we were just missing a few results. It’s a shame we didn’t manage to put it together.

“With Kush, since the first time he jumped in the car, we knew that he was going to be quick and going to be strong. I was surprised during the test to see how quick he was but then once we arrived at the first weekend of the season, I wasn’t surprised to see him do well.”

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Focus now switches onto next year and the team has confirmed an all-new line-up for 2024. Isack Hadjar makes the switch to the Spanish team after completing his rookie F2 season with Hitech Pulse-Eight and he’ll be joined by Josep María Martí, a more than familiar presence for Campos.

Making his graduation from F3, Martí has been a race winner in all but one of his full-length single seater campaigns with the Spanish team, and Campos Jr is hopeful of replicating more success with him and Hadjar next season.

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A new car to learn will give the team an opportunity to transform their F2 fortunes, and engineers are very excited to get stuck into the learning and development of the car for next year.

“Next season is going to be a challenge for everyone. We are going to have a new car and there are a lot of very important things that are going to be very different. We are going to work as hard as possible to develop and try and be in front of the rest.

“We have two drivers that on paper should be good from the beginning. There’s going to be a rookie again in Pepe, but then Isack is going to bring that experience and we’ve already seen that in testing that they’re both able to do very good things.”

“The engineers are very motivated, I want to see what the drivers are capable of but I trust them all. I’m excited because I know we have good people in the team and that they’re going to do a good job, so I can’t wait to start the season with a new car and new drivers and to see how we’re going to do.”