“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.”
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.