Updated: Sep 5, 2020
A personal feature on five teams I would feel would make a welcome return to Formula 1
I love Formula 1, but I love the history of the sport even more. Since F1 started there have been 136 teams and currently only 10 survive. With the new 2021 rules fast approaching, here are five teams I would like to see return to the sport.
CLASSIC TEAM LOTUS
The first team I would like see make a return to the sport is the most successful team that currently does not compete in F1, Team Lotus. After making their debut in 1958, Lotus entered 491 races with an incredible 122 drivers until the end of the 1994 season when the Norfolk based team ceased trading.
During their history, they achieved 79 victories and six World Drivers’ Championships from drivers such as Jim Clark and Graham Hill all under the watchful eye of founder Colin Chapman. Lotus’ final World Drivers’ Championship was in 1978 when Mario Andretti took the Lotus 78 to the series win. Incidentally, this was the last World Championship win for an American driver.
Although they never the heights of the sixties and seventies again, the team continued to be a strong contender right up to their demise. Throughout their history they were also known for giving drivers such as Nigel Mansell and Mika Hakkinen their debuts. In addition to their determination to promote youth, Lotus were also known for their iconic JPS and British Racing Green liveries which were used during their glory days in the sport.
A team with such pedigree should not be absent from the grid, surely someone out there shares the same passion for their return as me?
The second team I would like to see return to Formula 1 spent the majority of its time in the sport at the other end of the F1 spectrum however they equally popular to the petrol heads among us. Unlike Team Lotus, Minardi never got near World Drivers’ Championship glory, in fact, they never really got near a win during their 20 year history.
The team made their debut in 1985 and entered 346 races up to the end of 2005 when they were bought by Red all, being rebranded Toro Rosso. During their 20 year stay in the series, they accumulated a total of 38 points, with a best result of fourth in 1989.
Despite their limited success, I, along with many others out there, loved Minardi for their never give up spirit and when they did score a point, the celebrations that ensued. An example of this would be 2002 when local hero Mark Webber made his debut at his home race and managed a 5th place, ensuring 2 World Championship points. Albert Park erupted as Webber made his way to the podium to celebrate the occasion.
Similar to Team Lotus however was Minardi’s reputation for giving promising drivers their debuts, most notably, a young 19-year-old Spaniard by the name of Fernando Alonso in 2001.
Another similarity were Minardi’s liveries, known for being some of the smartest on the grid. It would be wonderful to see this classic name return to the grid once again, and see the plucky team return to where they belong.
A more left field choice now as I would like to see Brabham return to the sport and fantastically, this could become a reality in the future thanks to David Brabham’s enthusiasm.
Founded by three time champion Jack Brabham in 1962, in 1966 he became the only driver in history to win the F1 drivers championship in his own car. Once Brabham retired the team continued in F1 and enjoyed a successful 30 years in the sport.
During this time, they achieved four drivers’ titles. Brabham's was their first in 1966 followed by Denny Hulme's title glory a year later as well as Nelson Piquet, who won the title twice for the team during the 1980s.
After Brabham retired at the end of 1970, Brabham sold his stake in his team to Ron Tauranac in 1971 however at the end of the season, Brabham’s history arguably changed that of Formula 1 as they were bought by the one and only Bernie Ecclestone. Ecclestone owned the company from 1972 through to 1987, in which Piquet won Brabham’s further two championships.
Throughout their history, the team were known for their car designs, the most notable would be the Brabham BT46B, also known as “The Fan Car”. This was designed for the 1978 Formula 1 season for Niki Lauda and John Watson by legendary designer Gordon Murray which incorporated a fan at the rear of the chassis to aid ground affect, although it was claimed it was for additional cooling. The car was only used for one race before being banned at the end of the 1978 season.
Brabham closed down mid 1992 after only qualifying for the opening race of the season, however this final struggle should take nothing away from one of the most successful teams in Formula 1 history.
the fourth manufacture I would like to see return to Formula 1 is French outfit Ligier. Ligier enjoyed twenty years of participation in Formula 1 from 1976 to 1996.
Ligier was formed by former French Rugby Union player Guy Ligier after he acquired the Matra F1’s. Ligier enjoyed success throughout their time in the sport taking nine victories, the last coming in 1996, when Olivier Panis took the Ligier JS43 to victory at Monaco.
Their first victory came nearly 20 years earlier in 1977, as Jacques Laffite took the Ligier-Matra JS7 to victory. This was regarded the first all French victory in Formula 1.
In addition to winning nine races, they also finished second in the World Constructors Championship in 1980, however this was the height of the team’s success, though despite this, they were always a strong mid-table team.
Known for their blue livery and numbers 25 and 26, Ligier were very distinct on the grid, and other than 1993, they always had at least one French driver in there line up. In 1993, Ligier sold the team to Cyril de Rouvre who in turn sold the team to Tom Walkinshaw and Flavio Briatore in 1995.
Throughout their history, Ligier was a team you could say had unfinished business in the sport and with so many French drivers currently competing in the sport, it would be great to see the team return to where it belongs.
The final team I am going to suggest is another mid table team Arrows, who competed in Formula 1 from 1978 through to 2002, when they went bankrupt after the French Grand Prix midway through the season.
As mentioned, Arrows were another team who never hit the heights that they potentially could have hit, with a best finish of fifth in the World Constructors Championship in 1988. This was despite their 1997 efforts when they were able to sign 1996 World Champion Damon Hill after he was dropped by Williams the previous year.
1997 saw the team get as close to a victory as they ever managed when Damon Hill was leading the Hungarian Grand Prix, only to encounter hydraulic problems when controlling the race. Eventual winner Jacques Villeneuve overtook Hill on the final lap. This second place was one of five the team achieved. Overall, the team took nine podiums during their time in Formula 1. This ensured that Arrows set the unenviable record of competing in 382 races without a victory.
Despite not winning, and going through a phase called Footwork between 1991 and 1996, Arrows were rather inventive and in 1998 they produced their own engines making them a fully works team. Although this only lasted two years before they returned to Supertec for 2000 does not matter, they were always willing to try new things.
Furthermore, you cannot deny the Orange Arrows were some of the smartest cars ever seen in F1, all this makes them a team I would love to see return to the sport.
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