10 F1 Teams We'd Love to See Return to the Grid
The current Formula One grid is only sprinkled with team names with true pedigree and history. Of these, only Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams spring immediately to mind.
Lotus isn’t really the true Lotus of the Colin Chapman era but a rebranded reincarnation of Benetton, then RenaultF1 after a lengthy naming rights legal dispute. Likewise Red Bull Racing, which was previously Jaguar Racing and Stewart Grand Prix before that.
It seems a little sad that so many great F1 team names have disappeared into the annals of history for differing reasons, be they financial or political.
Here then are 10 of those historic names we’d love to see back on the grid to add a bit more history and glamour to proceedings.
There are, of course, several great teams of yesteryear out there that haven’t made the cut.
These include Shadow, a U.S.-founded and British-based team that graced the F1 grid from 1973-80. Alan Jones won the team’s only race at the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix, but the cars looked great, so much so that black and white Shadows came with the first ever Scalextric set I was given.
I also have a soft spot for Leyton House not only because their Adrian Newey design and sky blue livery made them look the real beauties of the field.
Other privateer teams including Hesketh and Toleman also deserve mention purely because legends James Hunt and Ayrton Senna began their journeys to F1 stardom in their machines. And Jordan must also go down as unlucky not to make the final 10 as one of the most successful privateer teams of the 1990s.
10. Aston Martin
If you think about it, there isn’t one team on the grid you could point to as being quintessentially British.
McLaren and Williams are UK-based and founded, but for some reason don’t really get the patriotic juices flowing.
Think Aston Martin or Jaguar, and you think of British sports cars. Sadly, neither has been a success in F1, relatively speaking.
Jaguar Racing was something of a disaster before being rescued by energy drink Red Bull, and Aston Martin competed in the 1959 and 1960 seasons for only five races, with Roy Salvadori achieving a best finish of sixth.
Having acquired the Matra team’s assets, Ligier entered F1 in 1976 and stayed there until 1996 when it was bought out by Prost.
Think Ligier and you think France, with its Gitanes and elf sponsorship and drivers such as Rene Arnoux, Patrick Depailler, Jacques Laffite and Olivier Panis.
Team owner Guy Ligier was famous for his explosive pit-lane histrionics that added greatly to the character of the team and the sport in general.
The team achieved nine victories, all with Frenchmen behind the wheel. The last came courtesy of Olivier Panis at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix, with only three cars running by the end of the race.
It just doesn’t seem right for a Japanese automotive giant not to be in the sport as a team in its own right.
Honda entered the sport in 1964 only four years after producing their first road car with their own engine and chassis. In only their second season, Richie Ginther piloted the beautiful RA272 to victory in the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix.
Another race victory for John Surtees followed at Monza in 1967, but the team withdrew from F1 after the death of Jo Schlesser the following year only to resurface in 2006.
Jenson Button scored the last of the team’s victories the same year before it was sold to Brawn GP in 2009 and subsequently to Daimler-Benz AG.
Founded by Max Mosley among others in 1970, March Engineering cars not only competed in F1 but also enjoyed success in Formula Two, Formula Three, IndyCar and Sportscar racing.
Some of the greatest drivers have sat behind the wheel of March machines. Chris Amon and Jo Siffert were teammates in 1970 and Ronnie Peterson and Niki Lauda joined forces for the following two seasons.
The team managed only three race victories but will be remembered for weird and wonderful designs such as the elevated "tea-tray" front wing on the 711 chassis and the weird experimental six-wheeled March 2-4-0, which proved more popular as a Scalextric model!
Founded by Tony Vandervell, the Acton-based Vanwall team achieved the first victory for a British-built car in the 1957 British Grand Prix with Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks sharing a VW 5.
Vanwall also won the first constructors’ championship in 1958, with Moss and Brooks winning three more times apiece.
Sadly that was to be Vanwall’s last full season due to the owner’s failing health, with Brooks competing just once in 1959 and 1960.
Although the Cooper Car Company is probably best known for the famed Mini Cooper, its rear-engined single-seat racing cars dominated and changed the face of Formula One when previously engines had been placed in front of the driver's cockpit.
Jack Brabham became the first driver to win the F1 world championship in a rear-engined car in 1959 and repeated the feat in 1960, with Cooper also taking the constructors’ title.
Bruce McLaren, John Surtees and Pedro Rodriquez would also win behind the wheel of a Cooper before the team exited the sport in 1968.
Founded after the second world war by Raymond Mays, British racing Motors (BRM) participated in F1 from 1950 to 1977.
Many of the sport’s greatest drivers have competed for BRM including Sir Jackie Stewart, Dan Gurney, Mike Hawthorn and John Surtees. But the man who really made BRM into the success story it is was the great Graham Hill.
Hill recorded 10 of the team’s 17 Grand Prix victories, his most successful season coming in 1962 when he secured both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles.
Don’t you think it’s a shame that, of the great Italian marques, only Ferrari remains in Formula One?
It seems odd that Maserati boasted just nine Grand Prix victories from 1950-1960, but the team did cement the place of Juan-Manuel Fangio into the record books, as the Argentine achieved the fifth and final of his world titles behind the wheel of a Maserati 250F in 1957.
Financial difficulties saw the team withdraw from the sport shortly afterwards, and it has not returned since.
Founded by three-time world champion Jack Brabham and designer Ron Tauranac in 1960, the Brabham team won four drivers’ and two constructors’ titles in its 30-year F1 stint.
Brabham took the title driving his own machine in 1966, and New Zealand teammate Denny Hulme beat him to the title the following year.
Nelson Piquet also secured the last of Brabham’s titles in 1981 and 1983 under Bernie Ecclestone’s team ownership, but when the team changed hands again towards the end of the '80s, Brabham was never as competitive again and left the sport at the end of the 1992 season.
Brabham’s 1966 title win remains the only such achievement of a driver with a car bearing his own name.
1. Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo will go down in the sport’s history as the first manufacturer to win a world title, Nino Farina winning the inaugural 1950 drivers’ championship in a 158 with supercharger.
The following year saw the emergence of an Argentine who would go on to dominate the sport, Juan Manuel Fangio piloting his Alfetta 159 to his first of five drivers’ titles.
But Alfa was a state-owned company running on a tight budget and, in the face of stiff competition from former employee Ferrari and with the government refusing to fund the development of a new car, Alfa withdrew from the sport.
The team returned for a relatively unsuccessful stint from 1979-85, achieving two pole positions and five podiums before withdrawing from the sport once more.