The Five Worst F1 Teams Ever

LOLA

Formula One has attracted plenty of average teams over the years, but some efforts have been downright dreadful.

Team MasterCard Lola

Lola's attempt to enter a full F1 team was impressively short-lived. Title sponsors MasterCard were not familiar with motor racing, and in December 1996 they insisted that Lola enter in 1997, not 1998 as originally planned. The team didn't even have time to use a windtunnel, so they began the season completely blind.

Unsurprisingly, when the T97/30 was first run in Australian GP practice, the drivers reported that the aerodynamics were so ill thought-out that it had horrendous drag on the straight, yet zero downforce in corners. The cars were undrivable and lapped an astounding 13 seconds off the pace in qualifying. Quite frankly, they looked dangerous.

Inevitably the team was not allowed to race and quickly succumbed to debt, the drivers only finding out they no longer had a job when reading the papers at the next race in Brazil.

Token Racing

Token was one of Ron Dennis' early attempts at Formula One, but he sold the project when sponsorship ran out before the season had begun. It was bought by two British businessmen and somehow made it to the grid, featuring a front-wing not dissimilar to Ferrari's 2014 'hoover'.

In the car's first race, a non-championship event at Silverstone, the talented young Welshman Tom Pryce set a scarcely-believable qualifying time 26.2 seconds slower than James Hunt's Hesketh. Pryce soon walked away and enjoyed far more success with the Shadow squad.

After turning up to races sporadically with various drivers, Token finally seemed to be making progress at the treacherous Nurburgring, when a recurring problem reared it's head. They didn't know that the wheels they were using were porous, which meant air would slowly leak out until the tyre failed. This cost them what would have been a respectable eighth at the German circuit and, unfortunately, the team's dismal budget didn't allow them to rectify the problem. When it happened again in Austria everyone involved got fed up and withdrew their funding. Token was no more.

Eifelland

What's the perfect way to advertise your caravan business? That's right, start an F1 team. So thought Guenther Hennerici in 1972, leading him to form Eifelland. Designer Luigi Colani's philosophy was “My world is round,” and so he set about applying this to the Eiffland Type 21.

The car featured some never-before-seen features - and for good reasons. A gaping air intake in front of the driver was not only aerodynamically poor, but caused catastrophic cooling issues for the engine, and it looked plain ugly to boot. There was also a revolutionary single rear-view mirror placed directly in the driver's eye-line.

Perhaps Signor Colani knew his driver would spend more time being overtaken than going forward. The unfortunate pilot, Germany's Rolf Stommelen, politely described the mirror as taking "a bit of getting used to.” After eight race starts, with no finish inside the top 10, the money dissipated and Eiflland ceased to be. A sad end for a thoroughly barmy team.

Eurobrun

How's this for a competitive record: Eurobrun qualified for only two grands prix between 1989 and 1990 despite turning up to every race. They were tenacious if nothing else.

With a tiny budget, only a handful of mechanics and one car, they decided to contest a second season after making it to the grid just once in '89. Co-owner Walter Brun had a notoriously short attention span and quickly lost interest. Even a glorious, yet brief, orange Jagermeister paint-job could not save them.

Drivers, owners and liveries changed almost weekly. Despite this, for reasons that cannot be explained, the team entered 76 grands prix over three years and finally folded with absolutely nothing to show for it. Their saving grace was pulling out of the sport, allowing their driver Roberto Moreno to replace the injured Alessandro Nannini at Benetton. This gave a talented racer his break in a competitive team and was arguably Eurobrun's only success.

Andrea Moda

No 'worst teams' list would be complete without this lot.

Andrea Moda's abysmal attempt at Formula One has gone down in motorsport history. A bizarre string of bad luck, embarrassing shortcomings and inept organisation led to the team being banned during their one and only season.

Italian shoe mogul Andrea Sassetti rushed his new team to the 1992 Mexican GP in an impressive two weeks, only for their freight lorry to be turned back at customs. The two drivers were not best pleased at being unable to race and were promptly fired in typically egotistical manner by Sassetti.

The next race was moderately more successful as newcomer Roberto Moreno managed a handful of practice laps, but he was 15 seconds off the pace and failed to qualify. In the other car, Perry McCarthy had been granted but then refused a superlicence, and was not allowed to race.

The farce continued when original driver Enrico Bertaggia returned offering $1 million in sponsorship, leading Sassetti to swap him back in for McCarthy, whom he had decided he didn't like. However the FIA were now getting fed up with the chaos and refused the driver change, leading to Sassetti essentially ignoring McCarthy in subsequent races.

Things did not improve in Spain, with McCarthy's car famously cutting out after just 18 yards. Moreno subsequently drove for three laps before Andrea Moda's weekend was over. The next few weeks threw up further peculiar events including McCarthy driving without a seat, a freak storm stranding their engines at an airport, a French lorry strike resulting in the team not making it to Magny-Cours in time, and McCarthy being given wet-weather tyres in dry conditions so as to save slicks for Moreno.

By this point, team boss Sassetti was becoming increasingly irrational and after several more disqualifications he was arrested at the Belgian GP on fraud allegations. The FIA saw the opportunity they had been looking for and banned the team for bringing the sport into disrepute. Thankfully, the ordeal was over.