Today marks the 50th birthday of former Minardi pilot and oh-so-near Team Principal Adrián Campos.
Born in the suburbs of Valencia, Adrián had comparatively little motorsport experience before being announced a surprise call-up to the Minardi F1 team in 1987. Although unsurprisingly overshadowed by his more experienced team-mate Alessandro Nannini, he performed better than many people’s expectations in the very uncompetitive and unreliable turbo-powered M187.
He stayed on with the team for 1988, partnering Luis Perez Sala in F1’s first all-Spanish driver pairing. However, he quickly lost his motivation, and was sacked by the team after his third consecutive DNQ.
Despite considering retirement, Adrián continued to race and became a regular in the domestic touring car series, finally winning the Spanish title in 1994 and retiring from competitive racing in 1997.
After F1, the gravelly-voiced Campos became successfully involved in team management, running a team in the Open Fortunate by Nissan championship with his proteges Marc Gené and Fernando Alonso taking back-to-back championships in 1998 and 199 respectively. The Campos Racing team entered GP2 in 2005, and competed for several seasons with the likes of Adrian Valles, Giorgio Pantano, Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi on its driving roster over the years, achieving 6 wins during its operation and the Teams’ Championship title in 2008.
Campos Grand Prix lodged an entry for the 2010 Formula 1 season, which was accepted and the team became known as Campos Meta. With Bruno Senna on the books and a Dallara chassis in development, it was looking promising. However, the team seemed to be struggling financially and a takeover was performed in February 2010 to save the team from going under entirely. The reborn outfit – with Campos holding the honorary role of Executive Vice President – became known as Hispania Racing and now competes with Senna and Karun Chandhok as its main drivers.