breaking news

BREAKING NEWS

today is Jan 30, 2023

Could Formula 1 soon welcome an 11th entry to the grid? FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem revealed yesterday the sport’s governing body is looking into beginning the process of admitting a new team – something which last happened in 2016.

But making a start in F1 is notoriously difficult. Just 10 entirely new teams have joined the sport since 1994, and few of those are still on the grid.

However the success of one of those which survived serves to underline the value of allowing newcomers in.

Haas

Grosjean took Haas to points in their first two outings

Year entered: 2016

Are they still in F1?: Yes

What happened to them?

Haas courted controversy before they’d even turned a wheel. The new entry formed by Gene Haas, owner of the Stewart-Haas NASCAR team, and run by ex-Red Bull engineer Guenther Steiner, exploited new rules which allowed teams to source some parts from rivals, in their case Ferrari.

Complaints the team had drawn too closely on the race-winning Ferrari for inspiration were brushed aside as Romain Grosjean took them to a shock points score on their debut, and followed it up at the next race in Bahrain. Last year they took their first pole position, for the sprint race at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Six years on, Haas are still with us, which is no mean achievement given the difficulties many of their predecessors faced, as we shall see.

HRT

Bruno Senna, HRT, Bahrain, 2010 The first HRT chassis was completed in the pits ahead of its debut

Year entered: 2010

Are they still in F1?: No

What happened to them?

In 2010 F1 admitted a trio of new teams. They were originally lured to the series under the prospect of competing under a budget cap which promised to level the playing field. Although those rules never materialised (different financial regulations eventually arrived in 2021), the new entries did, and inevitably they found themselves at a huge disadvantage as a result.

HRT was the first to hit the wall after just three years. Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok looked on in the Bahrain pits while the team scrambled to complete their Dallara-designed F110 chassis for their first appearance in 2010. A year of toil at the back followed, and the team chopped and changed drivers as it searched for a budget.

Despite that inauspicious start the team contrived to finish ahead of one of its fellow newcomers in the championship that year and the following season. They sank to last in 2012, and the team was put up for sale before the final race, where drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan took the chequered flag 17th and 18th respecitvely, each two laps down.

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Virgin

Timo Glock, Virgin, Circuit de Catalunya, 2010 Virgin lasted longest of F1’s 2010 intake

Year entered: 2010

Are they still in F1?: No

What happened to them?

Unlike fellow 2010 newcomers HRT, Virgin at least got their VR-01 chassis to pre-season testing. However the car, designed by Nick Wirth who eschewed wind tunnel development for Computational Fluid Dynamics, had significant problems including the fact it couldn’t hold enough fuel to run a full race flat-out, a problem which was rectified by a mid-season upgrade.

The team was rebranded by Russian supercar brand Marussia and finally scored its first points in its fifth season, after switching from Cosworth power to Ferrari. Jules Bianchi finished eighth in Monaco, was demoted to ninth by a post-race penalty, but nonetheless claimed two points.

Cruelly, less than five months later Bianchi suffered serious injuries in a crash during the Japanese Grand Prix, from which he died the following year. It was the second serious crash the team experienced during its brief existence: Maria de Villota lost an eye when she struck a vehicle during a testing run at Duxford Aerodrome in 2012. She died the following year.

Marussia was on its last legs at the time of Bianchi’s crash and did not reappear that year following the next round in Russia. The team went into receivership, but was rescued and re-entered in 2015 as Manor. A more promising 2016 campaign included another point, courtesy of Pascal Wehrlein in Austria, and until the penultimate round they were still in with a chance of beating Sauber to 10th, but they lost the position and the vital prize money it would have brought, and finally collapsed during the off-season.

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Lotus

Lotus T127 launch, 2010 Lotus returned to F1 – sort of – in 2010

Year entered: 2010

Are they still in F1?: No

What happened to them?

The third new entry of 2010 was arguably the strongest proposition and, bizarrely, carried the name of a former F1 entry. AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes acquired the rights to the Team Lotus name made famous by Colin Chapman’s title-winning squad whose F1 team closed 16 years earlier. It may not have lived up to that formidable reputation, but it did draw several recruits from Toyota’s recently-shuttered team, not least driver Jarno Trulli who was partnered up with ex-McLaren pilot Heikki Kovalainen.

They won the battle for new team honours in 2010 and the useful 10th place in the constructors’ championship which promised a slice of the valuable prize fund. Lotus repeated the trick in 2011 and again the following year, by which time they had rebranded to another British sports car brand: Caterham. But after slipping out of the top ten over the following two seasons the team hit financial trouble.

After disappearing from the grid following the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, the team made a surprise return for the Abu Dhabi finale aided by a crowdfunding campaign spearheaded by the administrators. It wasn’t enough to secure their return in 2015, however.

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Super Aguri

Super Aguri briefly appeared as a second Honda-powered team in the mid-noughties

Year entered: 2006

Are they still in F1?: No

What happened to them?

Honda ejected Takuma Sato from their works team at the end of 2005, but they ensured the Japanese driver remained in F1 by setting him up at new team Super Aguri, which initially ran a four-year-old ex-Arrows chassis mated to Honda engines.

In 2007, Super Aguri switched to the previous year’s Honda chassis and adapted it to that season’s regulations, which proved competitive enough to show up to top team on occasions. Sato even took sixth in Canada, seeing off Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.

But as ever, Honda’s enthusiasm for F1 waxed and waned. Super Aguri (now struggling with Honda’s poor 2007 chassis) closed down four races into 2008, and the factory squad followed it at the end of the year.

Toyota

Toyota formed an entirely new team, then pulled out of F1 after eight seasons

Year entered: 2002

Are they still in F1?: No

What happened to them?

Toyota’s money-no-object entry into F1 looked like a formidable proposition until contact was made with reality. Despite spending 2001 touring the world’s grand prix tracks for private tests, they were pipped by minnows Minardi on their debut the following year.

The rigidly corporate operation never looked capable of emulating the success they had enjoyed in rallying. However they took a trio of pole positions (the first courtesy of Trulli at the ill-fated 2005 United States Grand Prix) and 13 podiums finishes. Five of those came during 2009, when they produced a promising machine for F1’s new aerodynamic formula.

However, amid the global economic downturn, Toyota decided to call time on an F1 operation which had expended vast sums achieving conspicuously little. It had already produced its TF110 chassis for the new season, but they were left idle, despite the efforts of persistent F1 hopeful Zoran Stefanovic to enter the car with his Stefan GP operation.

Stewart

Stewart took a podium in year one and win in year three

Year entered: 1997

Are they still in F1?: Yes

What happened to them?

The team founded by three-times world champion Jackie Stewart impressed by reaching the podium at only its sixth attempt, courtesy of Rubens Barrichello at a rain-lased Monaco. Two years later Johnny Herbert delivered a breakthrough win for the team in tricky conditions at the Nurburgring.

Ford took over the squad, rebranded it as Jaguar, but lost interest after five largely unsuccessful seasons and several changes of management and prepared to pull the plug. Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz made his move, bought the team for a nominal fee (reputedly one dollar) and installed Christian Horner in charge of the rebranded operation.

The team has gone on to be one of the most consistency successful of its era, sweeping to four consecutive constructors’ title from 2010-13 and taking Sebastian Vettel to every drivers’ championship crown during that spell. While the V6 hybrid turbo era proved more challenging at first, the former Stewart team ended 2022 in dominant style with 17 wins from 22 starts, its first constructors’ title for nine years and a second consecutive drivers’ championship for Max Verstappen.

Forti

The 107% rule gave Forti a headache they didn’t need in 1996

Year entered: 1995

Are they still in F1?: No

What happened to them?

Following success in Formula 3000 and Italian Formula 3, Guido Forti brought his eponymous team into F1, where it lasted just a year-and-a-half.

Aided by Pedro Diniz’s Parmalat backing, the team made patient progress throughout 1995 with its overweight FG01 chassis, the final F1 car to feature a manual gearbox. A B-spec version was produced for the beginning of 1996, when new drivers Luca Badoer and Andrea Montermini faced and often failed the challenge of meeting the new 107% rule.

Soon after its successor the FG03 arrived, Forti switched from their bright yellow colouring to the green-and-white of Shannon Racing Team, having been taken over by its owner FinFirst. But with debts mounting, the non-qualification at that year’s British Grand Prix was the final time the cars appeared on-track.

Pacific

The Pacific PR01 resembled Benetton’s B194 but didn’t go like one

Year entered: 1994

Are they still in F1?: No

What happened to them?

Following success in a range of other single-seater formula, Pacific became one of two new teams to enter F1 during the 1994 season. A tiny operation even by the standards of the time, with fewer than 20 staff, Pacific originally used a two-year-old Reynard chassis design. Uncompetitive and unreliable, drivers Bertrand Gachot and Paul Belmondo failed to register a single finish throughout their first season.

The new PR02 was at least quick enough to outpace the Fortis in 1995, and following the collapse of Lotus the team carried its name on their bodywork through a deal with owner David Hunt. Increasingly short on funds, the team hired a series of paying drivers including Giovanni Lavaggi and Jean-Denis Deletraz (father of Formula 2 racer Louis), the latter three seconds off the pace of regular driver Montermini at some tracks. Mounting financial woes meant the team did not race on into 1996.

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Simtek

David Brabham carried Simtek throughout their tragic debut season

Year entered: 1994

Are they still in F1?: No

What happened to them?

F1 has not had a full grid of 26 cars since the collapse of Simtek following the 1995 Monaco Grand Prix. The team entered F1 the year before but suffered the most dreadful introduction to the sport.

David Brabham and Roland Ratzenberger were hired to drive the S941s. But tragedy struck in qualifying for the third round where Ratzenberger crashed at high speed, suffering fatal injuries. Brabham plugged on while a succession of others – Montermini, Jean-Marc Gounon, Domenico Schiatterella and Taki Inoue – took turns in the other car.

Much like Pacific, Simtek produced a more effective car for 1995, but were plagued by budget troubles. Benetton placed test driver Jos Verstappen in one of the cars with the intention of giving him a full year of racing experience, but Simtek only lasted five races.

What about Lola?

Stewart wasn’t the only newcomer to the grid in 1997. Lola also arrived with a pair of cars for Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset.

The chassis manufacturer had competed in F1 previously under a variety of guises. But their last appearance contributed little: Both cars were outside the 107% time at the first round in Australia and did not qualify, and unexpected sponsor trouble forced them out before the second race in Brazil.

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