Little-known former F1 driver Philippe Adams – one of the sport’s many mid-1990s pay drivers – is turning 42 today.
Belgian-born Adams was runner-up in the 1992 British F3 championship, and went on to win the following year’s British F2 championship.
His motorsport record was actually pretty decent, and in 1994 he was one of the frontrunning drivers in Belgium’s Procar championship, even winning the support race for the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix, where he would also make his F1 debut.
His opportunity came with a desperate Team Lotus – by now well and truly heading for oblivion – who were more than happy to bring Adams on board for his home Grand Prix (replacing Alex Zanardi) in exchange for the $500,000 Adams was bringing to the table.
Despite his commendable efforts in the tin-top scene, Adams was well and truly out of his depth in Formula 1 machinery, scraping onto the grid in 26th position after a multitude of practice spins and crashes.
Race officials didn’t care when he lined up on the wrong grid slot for the race, and Adams was out after just 16 laps when he spun while being lapped by the leaders.
He returned to the Team Lotus line-up for the Portuguese Grand Prix, qualified one spot better than his Belgian effort, trundling home in 16th place, four laps adrift.
Despite being contracted for the following grand Prix at Jerez, Adams’ services were not called upon again, and he dropped from sight again into national saloon car categories, where he has had little major success since.
[Image via F1 Nostalgia]
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