F1 driver and team owner Adrián Campos dies, aged 60

F1

Adrián Campos raced for Minardi in F1, then set up his own team where he mentored a new generation of drivers, including Fernando Alonso

Adrian Campos portrait

Xavi Bonilla / DPPI

Adrián Campos 1960-2021

The former F1 driver and team owner, Adrián Campos, has died at the age of 60.

He started 17 grands prix for Minardi and went on to found Campos Racing where he mentored a new generation of talent including Fernando Alonso, Marc Gené and Lucas Di Grassi.

“One of the saddest days for the motorsports family,” said Alonso in a social media post. “Driver and great promoter of this sport. Thank you for dreaming about Formula 1. Thank you for believing in young people. Thank you and rest in Peace”

Campos Racing, which currently competes in F2 and F3, also paid tribute to its founder. “The whole Campos family and racing team feel his terrible loss, but also the immense privilege to have worked alongside a man as courageous and innovative as Adrian,” it said in a statement. “Motor sport was the way of life of Adrian: his determination and human quality will forever be the model and reference for each and everyone of 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.”

Gené, who visited Campos earlier this month, paid tribute to the man who kick-started his career. “Today an enormous sadness floods me. One of the people who has most helped motor racing in Spain has left us,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Without Adrián, I would never have reached F1. Great driver, main team and above all a very good person. My condolences to his children, family and friends.”

Adrian Campos as a Minardi F1 driver

Campos started 17 races for Minardi in F1

Grand Prix Photo

Campos’ first title was in the Spanish Championship for radio-controlled cars in 1980. He joined the European Formula 3 grid in 1983 and finished third in the German Championship two years later.

After a single Formula 3000 season, Campos moved up to Formula 1 with a Minardi team that hadn’t yet mastered the ability to finish a race.

In 17 starts, Campos finished twice — out of the points and was replaced during the 1988 season after failing to qualify for three races in a row.

Campos retired after winning the Spanish Touring Car Championship in 1994 and founded his own team, which began competing in the Spanish Euro Open by Nissan.

From the first season in 1998, it was a hotbed of talent, as Campos mentored a new generation of Spanish drivers starting with Gené, who won the title that year, Alonso, who claimed the championship in 1999, and Antonio Garcia, who won the following season.

Adrian Campos with Fernando Alonso

Campos guided Alonso’s career

Fernando Alonso via Twitter

By 2005, Campos Racing was competing in GP2 and Formula 3. Sergio Perez, Vitaly Petrov, Lucas di Grassi and Nicolas Prost are among those who raced for the team.

Campos had hoped to return to F1 as a team owner, under new proposals for a cost cap. But when the budget limit was dropped, he sold the team which became Hispania Racing, and later HRT.

Campos sold his GP2 team to Alejandro Agag, who went on to found the Formula E and Extreme E series. He thanked Campos “for bringing me into racing” following news of his death.

Campos Racing won three races F2 in 2019 with Jack Aitken, Williams’ current reserve driver. It had announced renewed plans to enter Formula 1 under the new regulations and budget cap.

Paying tribute to his former team boss, Aitken wrote: “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.”

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