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Luis Perez Sala

Full Name:
Luis Perez Sala Valls-Taberner
15th May 1959 (Age 61)
Barcelona, Catalunya
Most recent race (in database):

The first Spaniard to score a world championship point for 30 years, the urbane and popular Luis Pérez Sala ultimately proved unable to retain his place in Formula 1 after just two seasons.

Early racing career

He was part of Ravarotto Racing’s two-car Campsa-backed team in the 1984 European Formula 3 Championship. While Luis Villamil showed little to impress, Pérez Sala improved consistently with his Ralt RT3-Alfa Romeo second at Knutstorp and fifth at Járama.

He drove for Luciano Pavesi in the 1985 Italian F3 Championship and won at Varano before both team and driver graduated to Formula 3000 for 1986. Little was expected of the team but Pérez Sala developed into a consistent points scorer and won at Enna-Pergusa and in monsoon conditions on the streets of Birmingham. Team-mate Pierluigi Martini won three times and finished as runner-up with Pérez Sala fourth overall.

Previously all-but-unknown, Pérez Sala was among the favourites for the 1987 F3000 Championship. He moved to the works Lola team with backing from the Formula Barcelona consortium. Strong early season form was interrupted by a frightening accident at Spa-Francorchamps when he crashed with compatriot Alfonso de Vinuesa when entering Eau Rouge. However, dominant performances at Donington Park and Le Mans helped him finish as runner-up behind Stefano Modena.

Formula 1 with Minardi

Lois Jeans funded an all-Spanish team for the 1988 F1 World Championship with Pérez Sala and Adrián Campos joining Minardi. Martini soon replaced the out-of-his-depth Campos and Pérez Sala also struggled. Despite that, he was retained as Martini’s team-mate for 1989. That year’s highlight came at Silverstone when Martini and Pérez Sala finished in fifth and sixth positions – the first Grand Prix in which both Minardis had scored points.

Overshadowed by Martini for the balance of the season, Pérez Sala lost his place on the F1 grid after those two years with Minardi. He returned home to race in the national touring car series which he won twice before switching to the Spanish GT Championship.

Retired from racing since 2008, Pérez Sala was appointed as Team Principal of the Hispania Racing Team in December 2011 but the team closed its doors at the end of the following season.

Championship seasons