Philippe Adams (born 19 November, 1969) was a former Belgian racing driver. After some success in junior categories, most notably winning British F3000, he competed in two Grand Prix for Lotus. He struggled in his two races and was soon dropped. His best finish was in the latter of the two, a 16th place in Portugal.
He continued his racing career in GT racing until his retirement in 1997.
Adams began his career in karts in 1981, aged 12, advancing to car racing by 1984. There is little known about his early career until 1988, where he competed in the German Formula Opel Lotus championship, failing to score in a championship dominanted by Heinz Harald Frentzen.
He simultaneously competed in the British version of the championship, sponsored by Vauxhall. He faired better, scoring three podiums and finishing eighth overall. He suffered a violent crash at Thruxton and was injured, although he didn't miss any racing action
In 1989 he competed in British Formula 3 for the Bowman racing team. The opening race was at Thruxton, the track where he broke his ankle, where he finished 11th. He was a somewhat regular points finisher, achieving his first podium at round 7 and won the 13th round at Brands Hatch. He also stood on the podium at the non-championship Jewson Scotland Superprix.
He ended up sixth overall ahead of future F1 champion Mika Hakkinen, although he was well defeated by teammate and that seasons champion David Brabham
He continued with Bowman for a second season in British Formula 3. It was a disappointing year in which he failed to stand on the top step of the podium, with his best result a pair of seconds at Donnington and Brands Hatch. He only managed 25 points across the year, 96 behind eventual champion Mika Hakkinen.
Adams boldly moved to Japan in 1991, to compete in Japanese F3. It was a poor season for him, and he only managed a best result of third and a measly nine points. He also competed in Japanese F3000 with little success, although he did score points in occasional appearences in Touring Cars that year. The Japanese move was a failure for Adams and he moved back to the UK for the following year.
The Belgian returned to British Formula 3, again with the Bowman team. He endured a difficult start to the season, only accumulating two fourth places in his first five races, and soon he left Bowman. He moved to Alan Docking's team to take the seat left available after the death of Marcel Albers, and stayed there for the remainder of the championship.
He immediately found more success, qualifying second and winning his first race for his new team at Brands Hatch. Another win paired with a second place at the Silverstone double header put Adams in serious championship contention, although it did not fully materialise due to the slow start to the season. He took another win later in the championship, which was overshadowed by second place driver Gil de Ferran securing the championship.
He ended the season in second place, but nearly 50 points behind the champion. However, it was Adams breakthrough year and most successful season to date.
For 1993, Adams competed in British F3000, in which he had great success. Despite missing four of the ten championship rounds, he won the championship by three points. He won the first four races of the championship and added a fifth victory from six races at Thruxton. He also took four pole positions in a very successful year for the Belgian. However, the field was much weaker than British Formula 3, with no other notable drivers competing. Nonetheless, he had proved his ability in single seaters.
He also competed in the 24 hours of Spa, from which he retired.
He began 1994 in the Belgian Touring Car Championship, where he again met great success. He scored 7 wins and 9 podiums from just 13 races, although he did end up only 2nd in the championship due to being less consistent than the eventual winner Thierry Tassin.
Formula One Career
Adams got his big break in 1994, agreeing a three race deal with Lotus for the Belgian, Portuguese and European Grand Prix. He was given the drive entirely based on finances, with a reported $500,000 paid to Lotus for the seat. He first drove a Formula 1, a Lotus 107-Mugen Honda, in a test before the announcement. He would replace Alessandro Zanardi.
As a pay driver, he was not regarded as talented enough for Formula 1 coming into his first weekend. Three minutes in to his F1 career in Friday qualifying, he managed to crash his Lotus into the pitwall after going over some white lines. He suffered a second crash on a drying track the following day. He qualified in last position over 6.7 seconds behind his teammate, and his dry qualifying time was embarrasingly beaten by Christian Fittipaldi's wet time. He lined up in the wrong gridslot and eventually retired from the race after spinning out.
After missing the Monza race for Zanardi, Adams returned in Portugal. It was a less eventful weekend for him and he qualified 25th and finished 16th. Although contracted for the following round, Adams was replaced again by Alessandro Zanardi, and the curtain came down on his Formula 1 career.
Post Formula 1 Career
Adams returned to the Touring Car Championship for 1995, where he took four wins for his final season of full competition. He ended up third in the championship, again defeated by Thierry Tassin. He also finished fifth in category in that years 24 hours of Spa.
Adams rolled back his racing program in 1996, only competing in three races. The most notable was the 24 hours of Spa, where he ended up sixth in his category. He also competed in two races of the Global GT Championship, with no points finishes.
His only race in 1997 was the 24 Hours of Spa, where this year he managed 10th in class.
Adams' final motorsports venture was the Belcar Zolder Masters race in 2002. He failed to finish.
Formula One Statistical Overview
Formula One Record
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|Front Row Starts||0|
|Distance Raced||397 km (247 mi)|
|Complete Formula One Results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||DNS||Did not start|
|18th†||Classified finish (retired with >90% race distance)||NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)|
|4thP||Qualified for pole position||[+] More Symbols|