The worst teams in Formula 1 history – GPfans



The worst teams in Formula 1 history

For every success story in Formula 1, there are many more who tried and failed.

GPFans has taken a look back through F1’s 70-year history and come up with 10 teams who clearly found life tougher than they would have expected.

To narrow down our list, we chose teams who competed in 20 or more grands prix as it would be unfair to expect those who took part in less to make an impact.

Coloni

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After its one-race debut in 1987, with Nicola Larini at the wheel in the Italian Grand Prix, albeit failing to qualify, Gabriele Tarquini took up the reins for the ’88 campaign, and at least managed to finish four races. But the car’s failure to qualify, or even pre-qualify became the norm in the three seasons that followed.

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Across the 1989, ’90 and ’91 seasons, running a car barely worthy of F1, in 47 grands prix in which it entered, cars managed to take part in just five.The team was sold at the end of ’91 and became the equally as inept Andrea Moda Formula for ’92, which was banned by the FIA for the final four rounds.

Osella

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After starting out in single-seaters with Formula 2, with Eddie Cheever winning three races in 1979, owner Enzo Osella opted to enter F1 from 1980, and it is remarkable the Italian team survived as long as it did through to 1990.

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Unable to attract major sponsors or drivers with a significant brand behind them, it was effectively run on a shoestring budget throughout, and as such was only able to accrue just seven points from 132 starts, while failing to qualify in an additional 40 races.

Lotus Racing/Team Lotus/Caterham

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Operating under a licence from Lotus Cars owners Proton, the team founded by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes ran as Lotus Racing in 2010 and Team Lotus in 2011 before the licence was withdrawn, forcing a further name change to Caterham for the 2012-14 seasons prior to the team falling into administration.

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Despite starting off with drivers of the calibre of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, across its five seasons the team failed to score a single point in 94 grands prix, with its best finish being 11th from Vitaly Petrov in the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hispania Racing/HRT

Like Lotus Racing, the Spanish team was another new entrant to F1 in 2010 as the sport sought to enhance the grid following the global credit crunch that had accounted for two major manufacturers in Toyota and BMW.

It provided a certain Daniel Ricciardo with his first race drive in F1, as he was loaned from Toro Rosso for half a season in 2011, but the team’s cars rarely ventured from the back of the grid. From 56 point-less starts, Vitantonio Liuzzi achieved HRT’s best result of 13th in the 2011 Canadian GP.

Minardi

It was a brave venture that saw the team somehow compete for two decades in F1 from 1985 through to 2005, starting 340 races before it was eventually sold to Red Bull to form what was initially Toro Rosso, and now AlphaTauri.

Throughout its time on the grid, the team encountered numerous hardships, and while there were a handful of points finishes in 1993 and ’94, they were ultimately few and far between during its time in the sport, amassing a meagre 38 in total.

Automobiles Gonfaronnaises Sportives (AGS)

Entering 80 grands prix, AGS only managed to escape pre-qualifying on 47 occasions and saw the chequered flag just 22 times. A combination of F3000 and Renault F1 parts were used to construct their initial entry which failed to finish either of the two races entered in 1986.

The following year was the team’s best as there were eight finishes before it scored a point in the final race of the campaign in 1987.

But constant changes at the top did nothing to aid a team that from the midpoint of the ’89 season barely managed to qualify a car over its remaining two and a half seasons before the factory closed its doors in ’91 with two races remaining.

ATS

Despite scoring a point on its debut in 1977, using a Penske Racing PC4 chassis, from ’78 it became evident the venture would not be a productive one. That year alone, when changing your driver was common practice, seven were used, including future champion Keke Rosberg.

After then running with the engine of choice at the time, the Ford Cosworth DFV, for six seasons, ATS grew tired of a lack of reliability and team principal G√ľnter Schmid pulled some strings in Germany to secure turbocharged BMW M12/13 engines.

They may have boosted the one-lap pace, but reliability nosedived further and, after BMW decided to stop the team from using its engines due to the negative PR, the ATS team folded, finishing with just eight points from 101 grands prix.

Forti

A strangely well-remembered team considering its relatively short-lived time in F1, Forti failed to score a point in 28 races and were not even classified in the constructors’ standings in either season in which they competed.

After experiencing moderate success in F3000, owner Guido Forti decided to make the jump to F1 for 1995 after securing significant backing, notably from Brazil after hiring driver Pedro Diniz but, as with many other cases on this list, reliability hurt the team badly.

Following a woeful start to the ’95 season, with the cars finishing several laps down, improvements were made but not enough for Diniz who left at the end of the year, leaving the team bereft of funds for ’96 during which Forti withdrew his team from F1 due to legal battles behind the scenes over ownership.

Pacific

Pacific is another shining example that you cannot buy success. Entering F1 in 1994, a year later than planned, the Pacific PR01 had been designed using drawings of an unused Reynard 1991 attempt.

However, Benetton had also purchased the plans and had won races with the car in 1992. By the time Pacific arrived on the scene, the designs no longer conformed to regulations and, without the basic understanding of the design, updates failed to improve the situation.

Pacific failed to finish any race in 1994 and, despite a small improvement in 1995, the team elected to drop back to F3000.

Zakspeed

In a bold move, Zakspeed moved from DRM – the precursor to DTM – into F1 in 1985 and naturally suffered during its debut campaign, competing in 10 of the 16 races and retiring on nine occasions.

Although there was an improvement the following year with six top-10 finishes and a fifth-place for Martin Brundle in the second race of ’87 in San Marino, it proved the team’s only points finish and so began a steady decline.

When turbos were banned in ’89 and Zakspeed was forced to use an uncompetitive Yamaha engine, in 16 races its cars failed to pre-qualify on 30 occasions, signalling the end and a return to touring cars.


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