Five F1 Teams That Bit The Dust

The history of Formula 1 is littered with failed teams, and some historic names have gone to the wall in the most cut-throat sport on the planet.

With Caterham and Marussia facing an uncertain future, we're taking a look at five teams who lasted decidedly longer in grand prix racing but still couldn't avoid F1 extinction.


  • First Race: 1978 Brazilian Grand Prix
  • Last Race: 2002 German Grand Prix

The defunct Arrows squad holds a dubious distinction: no team has entered more races without taking a win. Between 1978 and 2002 they took part in 393 grands prix, scoring nine podiums without ever reaching the top step.

Riccardo Patrese was their first star, recording four podiums for the young team between 1979 and ‘81. Thierry Boutsen and Eddie Cheever also stood on the rostrum for the British squad during the eighties.

From 1990 the Japanese logistics company Footwork began sponsoring the team and took up naming rights the following season. Between 1991 and ‘96 they raced as Footwork, though longtime boss Jackie Oliver retained overall control.

For 1997 Tom Walkinshaw had taken the helm and remained in charge until the team’s demise. That year they had hired reigning world champion Damon Hill, who nearly grabbed a shock win at the Hungaroring only for a hydraulics issue to relegate him to P2.

Unfortunately that was as good as it got. The team remained in F1 for another four and a half seasons before eventually going under in 2002, despite the driving talent of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and an eye-catching sponsorship deal with telecom giants Orange.

Best remembered for… Patrese’s early heroics, Hill’s near-miss at the Hungaroring, and those striking black and orange liveries in their final years


  • First Race: 1958 Monaco Grand Prix
  • Last Race: 1994 Australian Grand Prix

The most illustrious team on this list, Lotus became the most feared constructor in Formula 1 during the sixties and seventies, but by the mid-nineties they had disappeared into obscurity. Yes, we currently have a team calling themselves Lotus on the grid, but the modern incarnation shares its DNA with the old Toleman squad, not Colin Chapman’s once-mighty racing empire.

The team’s success barely needs repeating. They won six connstructors’ titles between 1963 and ’78, and guided racing royalty such as Jim Clark, Mario Andretti and Graham Hill to world titles. Even in their later years during the eighties, after Chapman had passed away, they fielded heavyweights like Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet.

But by the nineties they were in terminal decline. They were still giving talented drivers a shot - notably a young rookie named Mika Hakkinen in 1991 - but behind the scenes problems continued to grow and results on-track had become extremely sparse. Johnny Herbert scored their final F1 point at Spa in 1993 before a pointless ‘94 season signalled the team’s death knell. They were wound up that winter and, despite a vague continuation in association with Pacific Grand Prix, the Lotus legend effectively ended there.

Best remembered for… Setting a new standard for F1 design during the sixties and seventies, stunning fag-pack-inspired liveries, and incredible on-track success.


  • First Race: 1962 German Grand Prix
  • Last Race: 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix

Having won world titles for BRM in 1959 and ‘60, Jack Brabham left the British squad to found his own team in 1962 alongside designer Ron Tauranac. Success came quickly, and in 1964 Dan Gurney took their first race win at Rouen in France.

But, appropriately, it was Brabham himself who led the team to its greatest achievement, winning his third title in a car bearing his own name in 1966. The following season Denny Hulme made it back-to-back titles, with Black Jack finishing as runner-up.

The team changed hands in 1972 when Bernie Ecclestone took control. This ushered in a new era of success, with Carlos Reutemann and Niki Lauda both winning races during the seventies. They also became noted technical pioneers thanks to innovative designer Gordon Murray.

But it was with Nelson Piquet that the team truly returned to the top. The Brazilian won world titles for Brabham in 1981 and ‘83, as well as their final race victory at the 1985 French Grand Prix.

Thereafter it was a fairly quick decline. Their final podium came courtesy of Stefano Modena at Monaco in 1989 and their final point thanks to Martin Brundle at Suzuka in ‘91. Just over 12 months later the team had ceased to be.

But they look set to return in 2015, with Jack’s youngest son David reviving the squad to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP2 class. They will do so via a unique crowdfunding initiative and even have long-term plans of possibly returning to F1.

Best remembered for… F1’s only owner-driver champion, technical innovation under Murray, and Piquet’s titles in the blue-and-white second incarnation.


  • First Race: 1976 Brazilian Grand Prix
  • Last Race: 1996 Japanese Grand Prix

Former rugby player and sometime racing driver Guy Ligier first entered F1 with an old Matra in 1976, then began producing his own grand prix cars in ’79.

This hailed the start of a vintage spell for the outfit, whose driver line-up often consisted of rapid young Frenchmen. The JS11 took three wins in 1979 thanks to Jacques Laffite and Patrick Depailler, earning the team third in the constructors standings. In 1980 Laffite was joined by Didier Pironi; they took a win apiece plus a further eight podiums to help Ligier to runner-up spot in the world championship.

That would prove to be the high point, though there was still plenty more success to come. The team continued to score podiums during the eighties before a barren patch began in ’88. However they were resurgent in the nineties and continued to bring young French talent into the sport. Notably, they handed Olivier Panis his F1 break in 1994 and were rewarded when he scored their ninth and final grand prix win at Monaco in 1996.

Alain Prost took the team over in 1997 and they appeared to be going from strength to strength, but their switch to Peugeot power in ’98 proved disastrous. In late 2001 they folded and, despite the attempts of Phoenix Finance to revive the team, had departed F1 for good. The name now lives on in sportscars, with French squad OAK Racing producing chassis barring the Ligier name for FIA World Endurance Championship and other long-distance series.

Best remembered for… Giving French drivers their break in F1, memorable liveries plastered with French state-owned sponsors, and Panis’ highly unlikely Monaco win in ‘96.


  • First Race: 1951 British Grand Prix
  • Last Race: 1977 Italian Grand Prix (DNQ)

Short for British Racing Motors, BRM made their debut at the British Grand Prix and took Britain’s Graham Hill to the 1962 world title. Competing as Owen Racing Organisation during their glory years in deference to backers Rubery Owen, the team was a very British affair, flying the Union Jack in F1 between 1951 and ‘77.

But they fielded a few overseas stars too: their first F1 win came in 1959 courtesy of Sweden’s Jo Bonnier, while their final triumph was recorded by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Beltoise at Monaco in 1972.

However ‘62 was undoubtedly their finest hour. Hill took four wins in the P57 to secure his first world title, while the team also claimed the constructors’ crown. They went on to finish as runners-up for the next three seasons on the bounce.

The team’s decline began when the Owen Organisation cut its ties in the early seventies. They soldiered on under the leadership of Louis Stanley, scoring a podium at South Africa ‘74 courtesy of Beltoise, but disappeared after a disastrous 1977 season that saw their single entry fail to qualify for eight successive grands prix.

Best remembered for… British Racing Green cars with an orange nose, Hill’s ‘62 title, handing Jackie Stewart his F1 debut in ’65, and