Ex-F1 racer and team owner Adrian Campos dies aged 60

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

Ex-F1 racer and team owner Adrian Campos dies aged 60
Listen to this article

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 Formula 3, competing in the European series in 1983. He scored his first points the following year.

In 1985 he focussed 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 Formula 3000 event, but the race was cancelled due to snow.

In 1986 he made the fulltime 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 956 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, 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.

Adrian Campos, Minardi Cosworth M188

Adrian Campos, Minardi Cosworth M188

Photo by: Sutton Images

He stayed with the team as it switched to Cosworth power for the 1988 season, joined by countryman Luiz Perez Sala. He started the first two races, but after three non-qualifications in what was by then a packed field, 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 24 Hours start that year, before retiring from active driving to form his own team.

Focussing initially on Spain’s growing Open by Nissan series, Campos Motorsport won the title with Marc Gene in 1998, future F1 champion 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 team made a big step in 2007, finishing third in the series with Giorgio Pantano, who scored two wins. 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 saw a change of ownership and the team morphed into HRT before its first race weekend.

Having gone back to the junior categories in Spain, Campos moved into the WTCC 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.

Ralph Boschung, Campos Racing

Ralph Boschung, Campos Racing

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Campos had a difficult first year in the first year of the rebranded F2 series in 2017, when after running a revolving door of drivers it gave 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, 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 to Campos, who died of a sudden coronary disease, according to his team. 

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.”

Podium: Adrian Campos

Podium: Adrian Campos

Photo by: GP3 Series Media Service

shares
comments
Sainz hails ‘unforgettable’ maiden Ferrari F1 test run
Previous article

Sainz hails ‘unforgettable’ maiden Ferrari F1 test run

Next article

Could hydrogen power be F1's future solution?

Could hydrogen power be F1's future solution?
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Prime

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Prime

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Prime

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time F1 champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24. And now it’s happening again at his current team

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few would blame Leclerc if he leaves Ferrari in future Prime

Why few would blame Leclerc if he leaves Ferrari in future

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior.

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Prime

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Prime

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbon fibre? Prime

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbon fibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? Pat Symonds considers the alternatives to carbon fibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022
The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin F1 move Prime

The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin F1 move

Fernando Alonso’s bombshell switch to Aston Martin sent shockwaves through Formula 1, not least at Alpine that finds itself tangled in a contract standoff with Oscar Piastri. Not shy of a bold career move and with a CV punctuated by them, there were numerous hints that trouble was brewing.

Formula 1
Aug 4, 2022