Formula Zero: The Five Worst Teams In Formula One History.

Tom NikyadContributor IJune 22, 2009

In the glamorous world of Formula One, as with all sports, most of the attention is focused on the winners, the most successful, the most consistent, and the most impressive. Recent proposed changes to the sport of Formula One have sparked criticism from a number of current teams.

They claim that a large influx of second-rate, bottom-of-the ladder, undeserving teams will start forging a path into the pinnacle of motor sport. Due to these concerns, we will now take a glance at the five most pathetic, unprepared, ill-managed and underperforming Formula One teams ever to grace (or disgrace) the tarmac and pray to God that they will not return to the grid. Ever.


Number 5: Coloni

Nationality: Italian

Years in F1: 1987-91

Pricipal: Enzo Coloni

GP Entries: 81


Best Result: 8th, Canada, 1989

This well-run team lasted four years in Formula One. A partnership with Subaru and a shoe-string budget resulted in Coloni being crowned the DNQ/DNPQ kings.


The Bad:

  • Coloni racked up the most DNQ/DNPQ's ever.
  • In it's last 3 years of existence, Coloni entered 46 Grand Prixs and did not finish one of them. In their last two years, they did not even qualify for any races.
  • It had a ridiculously small budget.
  • On the odd occasion when their car made it to the grid, it rarely made it to the finish line.
  • It decided to run a Subaru engine similar to the very successful Ferraris and Alfa Romeos of the 1970's, unfortunately for them, it was now the late 1980's
  • Combine that with a Minardi gearbox, well, you can see the results.
  • The car was some 112kg over preferred weight, which made handling difficult to say the least.
  • Rumors in the paddock during the 1990 season suggested that Coloni was unwilling to pay his staff.


Coloni single-handedly proved that you need money to survive and be competitive in Formula One, and lots of it.

The team was well-managed, had a good amount of quality staff. and had worthy drivers over its history. The team, however, just did not have the money to purchase the right equipment. This was a common problem for many teams in that era.

The difference with Coloni was they would not give up. They knew they had a slow car, and they knew they lacked the money to make it faster. Yet, they showed up every weekend for their last two years despite never qualifying. This resulted in them having the worst record of DNQ's and DNPQ's ever, making them the fifth-worst Formula One team in history.

Number 4: Eurobrun

Nationality: Italian

Years in F1: 1988-1990

Principal: Walter Brun

Gp Entries: 76


Best Result: 11th, Hungary, 1988

Oscar Laurrauri brought together Euroracing and Walter Brun for a shot at F1, but pre-qualifying took it's toll. While there was some promise at the start, Eurobrun only qualified for two races in its final two seasons.


The Bad:

  • It had, possibly, the most unreliable cars ever. The drivers had no problem qualifying for the races in the first year, but once the red lights went out, so did the Eurobruns engines, gearboxes, batteries, and clutches.
  • The drivers tended to crash.
  • The team actually tryed to replace driver and founder Oscar Larrauri by signing Christian Danner only to later realise Danner did not fit inside the car. Larrauri retained his seat.
  • Major management squabbles between the two parent companies of Euroracing and Brun Group undermined the team.
  • Did not qualify for a single race in their second year.
  • It had at least one car finish in only eight races out of 46.
  • It used a 1984 Alfa Romeo chassis that was not even competitive in 1984 during the 1989 season.
Much like Coloni, Eurobrun had little money and a slow car. However, unlike Coloni, Eurobrun did not have good management and a generally reliable car. While they are to qualify for a fair amount of races in their first year, their cars would break by looking at them.
Combine that with major managerial issues resulting in one-half of the outfit (Euroracing) cutting its losses midway through the second year, and I present you with the fourth-worst team in Formula One history.



Number 3: MasterCard Lola

Nationality: British

Years in F1: 1997

Principal: Eric Broadley

GP Entries: 1


Best Result: DNQ, Australia, 1997

Easily the worst-planned entry into Formula One of the late 1990's, Lola's effort to enter F1 in 1998 was fast-tracked 12 months to the start of the 1997 season. They were 15 seconds off the pace in their one and only GP entry.


The Bad:

  • It entered one Grand Prix, and it failed to qualify by 15 seconds.
  • Listened to MasterCard when they said they wanted the car in the 1997 season in late 1996. This resulted in them starting to develop their car when Stewart were launching their car.
  • It took an Indy car, made it light, and called it an F1 car.
  • The team did not have enough time to test the car in a wind tunnel.
  • Lola said it would beat the Stewarts and the 107% qualifying mark.
  • It did not test the car before racing it.
  • The car had too much drag in a straight line, which affected top speed. It also could not generate enough down-force when cornering, which affected cornering speed.
  • The team collapsed with six million pounds of debt, which sent parent company Lola cars into receivership after one race.
MasterCard Lola provides us with proof that a successful Formula One car cannot be setup in a matter of months using the design and aerodynamic figures from a car in a different class of racing with no wind tunnel use and no testing. Not that we really needed proof of that.
One of the most farcical attempts to enter Formula One failed simply because an overconfident team listened to a major sponsor that knew little about racing and Formula One. This resulted in the near destruction of one of the most famous and successful names in racing.

Number 2: LIFE

Nationality: Italian

Years in F1: 1990

Principal: Ernesto Vita

GP Entries: 14


Best Result: DNPQ, Everywhere, 1990

LIFE snatched up the chassis from FIRST's failed Grand Prix venture to showcase their groundbreaking W12 engine in F1. Yet, the only thing they showcased was how useless the engine and their entry into Formula One was.

The Bad:

  • LIFE could'nt pre-qualify for one race out of 14
  • The designer of the car (originally intended for the prospective FIRST team) later declared it a time bomb, warned drivers about going near it, and took legal action to prevent his name being associated with the deathtrap.
  • The very next year LIFE purchased this car, put there engine in it, and decided to race it.
  • The team made adjustments to the chassis to accommodate their engine which made the driver terribly exposed and, in turn, made the car even more dangerous.
  • Luckily for the drivers, the cars only ever managed between 1-2 laps in pre-qualifying.
  • At the San Marino Grand Prix of 1990, driver Bruno Giacomelli set a pre-qualifying time of 7:16.212 and was a mere 424 seconds off snatching pole.
  • The cars, on average, were around 30 seconds a lap slower than the Eurobrun entries.
  • It changed engines for the race in Portugal only to discover (at the track) that the engine cover no longer fit, resulting in the cars remaining in the garages.
One of the most amateurish Formula One operations in history. Conceived by a team that was only trying to showcase its engines for potential customers.
They jeopardised the safety of their drivers by putting them in a car that even the designer admitted was death on wheels. Thankfully, the cars were so terribly slow that safety was no longer an issue.
Most of the failed entries in Formula One  have at least once in their history managed to make it to the last round of qualifying. If not, then they were only a couple of seconds off the pace in pre-qualifying. LIFE however was around 20 seconds off the pace in pre-qualifying at every single race they entered.
They will not only go down in history as one of the worst Formula One teams ever, but as one of the most idiotic operations ever conceived in any field. They are the second-worst team in F1 History.

Number 1: Andrea Moda

Nationality: Italian

Years in F1: 1992

Principal: Andrea Sassetti

GP Entries: 16


Best Result: DNF, Monaco, 1992

It's hard to believe the story of Andrea Moda. While Williams were dominating F1 in 1992, the newest team in the paddock was beating a path from disaster to catastrophe before being banned from Formula One for bringing the sport into disrepute.


The Bad:

  • Team was owned by an Italian shoe designer.
  • Previously, they were Coloni F1 team.
  • Andrea Moda was scratched from their first race for not paying the championship entry fee.
  • They also had to withdraw from second race as car did not arrive on time due to freight delays
  • After the drivers complained about the teams less than impressive start to the season, Sassetti fired them both.
  • At the third race, new driver Perry McCarthy's superlicense was revoked, and the one car that did pre-qualify for Andrea Moda was 15 seconds off the pace.
  • They tried to replace McCarthy with previously fired driver Enrico Bertaggia only to learn they were only allowed two driver changes a season.
  • At Grand Prix of Spain, both cars retired in pre-qualifying. One car stopped in front of the pit exit before commencing its first lap and the other half-way through it's first lap.
  • Perry McCarthy was badly bruised at Monaco due to his crew not building him a proper race seat.
  • At the Canadian GP, both chassis arrived at the venue via freight, but the engines did not.
  • At the French GP, team got stuck in traffic on the way and did not make it in time to pre-qualify.
  • They tried to pre-qualify on a dry track a Silverstone with wet weather tyres.
  • Due to an ongoing feud with Sassetti, at Hungaroring, Perry McCarthy was let out of the pits with 45 seconds left to pre-qualify, which was not enough time for an outlap.
  • Team is rumored to have tried to kill driver Perry McCarthy after it was learned they allegedly knew about the flexing steering arm McCarthy experienced while hurdling through Eau Rouge at the Belgian GP.
  • Sassetti was arrested that weekend by Belgian police for fraud, and the team banned for bringing the sport into disrepute.
Take the worthless equipment of LIFE, the unprepared entry of Mastercard Lola, the in-house political issues that plagued Eurobrun, and the pathetic budget of Coloni, multiply by a factor of at least ten for stupidity, and we have Andrea Moda. They were the worst Formula One team ever.
Not only did it have all the down-falling traits of the previous four teams. It had a situation where a team owner tried unsuccessfully to get rid of a driver mid-season and, therefore, made it blatantly obvious that he would do everything in his power to undermine his driver. In the end, this resulted in the team allegedly trying to kill said driver. Enough said.





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