Adrian Campos obituary: Ex-F1 driver and F2 team boss dies aged 60

Team owner and former Minardi Formula 1 driver Adrian Campos has passed away at the age of 60

Adrian Campos obituary: Ex-F1 driver and F2 team boss dies aged 60

Over the years, the ever enthusiastic Campos played a role in furthering the careers of dozens of drivers, including Fernando Alonso.

The news was announced by his team, who said: "Today is the saddest day in the history of Campos Racing.

"Our president and founder, Adrian Campos Suner, has left us. His heart stopped beating, but his memory will be the engine that will keep us all fighting to continue his legacy ... Rest in Peace."

Born in Valencia in 1960, Campos competed with radio controlled model cars before moving into racing proper in his native Spain.

He quickly graduated to F3, competing in the European series in 1983 and scored his first points the following year.

In 1985, he focused on the German F3 series, in which he finished third behind Volker Weidler and Kris Nissen. He was also entered in a Tyrrell at the Nurburgring F3000 event, but the race was cancelled due to snow.

In 1986, he made the full-time jump to F3000 with Peter Gethin Racing. In a packed field, he failed to qualify his March several times, and his best result was seventh in his home race at Jarama, after a late switch to the Lola Motorsport team. He also drove a Porsche 962 for John Fitzpatrick in the World Sportscar Championship event at Jerez.

Despite his low-key F3000 season, Campos found the backing to jump straight into F1 with Minardi in 1987 (above), as team-mate to Alessandro Nannini. He had a difficult time with the unreliable Motor Moderni-powered car, and his only classified finish was 14th at Jerez.

He stayed with the team as it switched to Cosworth power for the 1988 season, joined by countryman Luis Perez Sala. He started the first two races but, after three non-qualifications in what was by then a packed entry list, he left the team and was replaced by Pierluigi Martini.

Later, Campos switched his focus to touring cars, winning the Spanish title in 1994 with an Alfa Romeo. In 1997, he raced a Ferrari 333SP, making his only Le Mans start that year, before retiring from active driving to form his own team.

Focusing initially on Spain's growing Open by Nissan series, Campos Motorsport won the title with Marc Gene in 1998, Fernando Alonso in 1999 and Antonio Garcia in 2000.

In 2005, the team entered the new GP2 category under the Campos Grand Prix name. After two low-key years, the squad made a big step in 2007, powering Giorgio Pantano, who scored two wins, to third in the series. The following year, Lucas di Grassi earned third and, with support from Vitaly Petrov, Campos won the teams' title.

Campos then took the bold decision to move into F1, and his GP2 team found new ownership under the Addax name.

Having gained an F1 entry as Campos Grand Prix, he began to prepare for the 2010 season. Ultimately, financial problems led to a change of ownership and the team morphed into HRT before its first race weekend.

PLUS: F1 2010's lost teams - Campos Meta 1

Having gone back to the junior categories in Spain, Campos moved into the World Touring Car Championship with SEAT in 2013, before joining forces with Chevrolet. The Campos name returned to GP2 in 2014, with Alexander Rossi among the drivers, before moving into GP3 in 2015.

Campos also became involved in the new Formula E category, partnering the NEXTEV TCR team and winning the first title in 2014-15 with Nelson Piquet Jr, before hooking up with Mahindra.

Campos had a difficult first year under the new F2 rules in 2017, when a revolving door of drivers led to it giving Lando Norris his first outing in the category in the Abu Dhabi finale.

In 2019, the team scored three wins with Jack Aitken, who finished fifth in the championship. Aitken stayed on board in 2020 (above), while Ralph Boschung, who drove for the team in Abu Dhabi last year, has been signed for this season.

Many former drivers and associates have been quick to pay tribute, including Alonso.

"One of the saddest days for the motorsport family," he said. "Thank you for dreaming about Formula 1. Thank you for believing in young people. Thank you and rest in peace."

Aitken, who was released by Campos to make his F1 debut with Williams last year, said: "Adrian, RIP. You were so kind, true to your word, competitive, mischievous, wise.

"You always knew exactly what to say to me, because at heart you were still a driver. And you created a family at Campos full of brilliant, talented people, who will miss you dearly. I will too."

The Mahindra Formula E team said: "Woven into the very fabric of motorsport, Adrian was a kind, decent man who was highly respected in the industry.

"He was an integral part of the growth and successes of Mahindra Racing in Formula E and we will never forget his contribution. We pass our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. He will be sorely missed."

shares
comments
Sainz: First Ferrari F1 test "a day I will never forget"
Previous article

Sainz: First Ferrari F1 test "a day I will never forget"

Next article

Norris found backlash after comments on Hamilton's F1 achievements "tricky"

Norris found backlash after comments on Hamilton's F1 achievements "tricky"
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023
Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Plus

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected Plus

The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected

The late Mauro Forghieri played a key role in Ferrari’s mid-1960s turnaround, says STUART CODLING, and his pretty, intricate 1512 was among the most evocative cars of the 1.5-litre era. But a victim of priorities as Formula 1 was deemed less lucrative than success in sportscars, its true potential was never seen in period

Formula 1
Jan 28, 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Plus

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023