Adrian Campos, the founder and owner of single-seater outfit Campos Racing and former Formula 1 driver, has died aged 60.

His death was announced by his Campos Racing team in the early hours of Thursday morning.

“Today is the saddest day in the history of Campos Racing,” the team said in a post on social media. “Our president and founder, Adrian Campos Suler, has left us.

“His heart has stopped beating, but his memory will be the engine that will keep us all fighting to continue his legacy.”

After finishing third in German Formula 3 and a single-season in Formula 3000, Campos graduated to F1 with Minardi in 1987 but only finished one of the 16 races he contested that season in the team’s hugely unreliable car.

He left F1 five races into the 1988 season following another difficult start but later found success in the Spanish national Super Touring Championship, winning the title in 1994.

Following his retirement from racing, Campos established Campos Racing in 1997.

Campos handed Fernando Alonso his car racing debut in the 1999 Euro Open by Nissan, with the Spaniard, who was just 17 at the time, going on to claim the championship for the team. Campos continued to support Alonso on his rise up the ranks to F1.

Campos Racing joined the GP2 grid back in 2005 and won the teams’ title with Lucas di Grassi and Vitaly Petrov in 2008, before control of the team was passed to Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag, who renamed the team Addax.

The Campos name returned to the championship in 2014 as well as entering GP3 and still competes in both series - now known as Formula 2 and Formula 3 - to this day, taking its most recent race victory in 2019 with current Williams F1 reserve driver Jack Aitken in F2.

Aitken, who raced for Campos in F2 in 2019 and 2020, winning three races across the two seasons, was among those to pay tribute to Campos.

“Adrian, RIP,” he wrote on Twitter. “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.”

Campos was among the successful bidders to form a new entry to join the F1 grid for the 2010 season along with Virgin Racing and Lotus, but when the budget cap failed to be introduced, the team was sold and renamed as Hispania Racing before it entered the championship.

His ambition of racing in F1 with his own team did not end there and in 2019 Campos announced his intention of returning to the grid in 2021 under the now delayed technical regulation overhaul.

Campos even went as far as naming a potential driver line-up consisting of now IndyCar racer Alex Palou - who he handed his single-seater bow - and Porsche Formula E driver Pascal Wehrlein.

The Campos operation also ran the NEXTEV TCR team and Mahindra during the early years of the Formula E championship, helping the now NIO333 squad claim the title with Nelson Piquet Jr in the series’ inaugural season in 2014/15.

 

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