Cristea was born in Bucharest, Romania.
Having a passion for motor vehicles, he forged his ID card in 1925 and obtained his driving licence even if he was only 16 and a half. He started racing in 1930 and entered his first Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo in 1931, finishing 11th with his team mate, driving a Dodge Victory Six. He pursued his driving career in parallel with joining the Bucharest Polytechical University, of which he dropped out after 3 years for medical reasons. He entered the 1934 and 1935 Monte Carlo Rallies, finishing 18th and 15th driving in both races a modified Ford V8.
He entered three Grand Prix races. The first of these was the 1936 Hungarian Grand Prix, in which he failed to appear. He final two entries were in 1939, at the Finnish Grand Prix (second place) and Frontières Grand Prix (retired).