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ROUEN-LES-ESSARTS, FRANCE - JULY 8, 1962: Dan Gurney in his Porsche 804, in which he won his first Formula One race, the '62 Grand Prix of France, which was the last victory for Porsche as an F1 constructor. (Photo by ISC Archives/CQ-Roll Call Group via Getty Images)

A Look at the Past: Former F1 Teams’ Success

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Many teams have come and go in Formula One, but some of them we just cannot forget. They have presented drivers that are still going on till today such as Kimi Raikkonen, or maybe drivers who we still look up to such as Michael Schumacher.

With Porsche entertaining their potential return to Formula One, today we are going to take a look at some of the teams that competed in the sport, their success and key drivers.

Porsche

It can be said that we are awaiting the announcement from Porsche that they will get back to race in Formula One in maybe 2025 or 2026. They previously used to compete back in the days between 1957 and 1964, with their first entry being in Formula Two having German driver Edgar Barth and the Italian Umberto Maglioli as their driver line-up.

Their best ever result was that of third in the Constructors’ Championship in 1961. This was thanks to the line-up made of Swede Jo Bonnier and Brit Dan Gurney, who led basically led the team during the season as he finished in fourth with 21 points. During that seasons, Gurney achieved three podiums: in the French Grand Prix, the tragic Italian Grand Prix which saw Wolfgang Von Trip’s Ferrari fly into a spectators’ stand, and in the USA Grand Prix.

Eventually Porsche left the Formula One scene because of the high costs and the fact that the sport was not in line with their values. Throughout the years, they had put their focus on other motorsport competitions such as Formula E and the Porsche GT Racing tournament. Also known as the Porsche Super Cup, it has been giving it’s support to Formula One since its forming in 1993. This competition uses Porsche GT3 stock cars and races around most European tracks such as Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, and also in some American and Asian countries.

In 2022, this partnership will reach its 30 years, and so we wonder whether this great relationship between the two organisation can allow Porsche to make their return to the competition.

Dan Gurney in Porsche 804

Photo Credit: Bernard Cahier

Lotus

This team is not new to Formula One fans. It featured big names such as Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet and Mika Häkkinen, amongst others between 1958 and 1994. Financial struggles forced the team to exit Formula One, who at that time went by the name of Team Lotus.

Moss was the one to bring Lotus their first Grand Prix win in the 1961 Monaco GP, and the following year he was joined by Jim Clark, who almost brough the title to the team if it wasn’t for an oil leak in the last race of the season.

In 1963, Lotus went on to become World Champions in the Constructors’ Championship, with Clark being titled World Champion, and he repeated history once again two years later. At that time, Lotus wanted to do more, and so with the help of Ford, they formed an engine which was attached to the chassis of the car between the driver and the gearbox. This was all thanks to the design engineer Colin Chapman, and this design went on to be the model for Formula One cars.

In 2010, Lotus returned to the scene as Lotus Racing thanks to funding from Malaysia. It was a short run for the team as they had earned no points for two straight seasons, before they had a stake bought by Renault and in 2012 they were renamed Lotus F1 team. The team had a driver line-up of Kimi Räikkönen, who had returned from a two-year stint in Rally Racing, and the GP2 Series Champions, Romain Grosjean. Räikkönen given the team their first win in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and also finished third in the Drivers’ Championship, while Lotus F1 finished in fourth in the Constructors’.

Financial struggles kept haunting Lotus, and that forced Renault to take over the whole team, and that is how we got Renault F1 team eventually, who are now Alpine. The original founder of Lotus, Colin Chapman, was a important figure in Formula One. His innovation has created some of the best racing cars on the grid, and also set an example for other teams who along the years developed new cars and technologies.

Kimi Raikkonen wins the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Lotus F1 Team

Photo Credit: Dimitar Dilkoff

Cooper Car Company

Everyone knows about Mini Coopers, but what many do not know is, that this company was once a prominent name in Formula One back in 1953 till 1968.

In 1957, the team introduced the T43 car to the Formula Two scene, driven by the Australian racing driver, Jack Brabham. What was special about this car was that it had a rear engine. This car went on to give the side some brilliant results, with Stirling Moss making it the first ever car to win a race with the engine in the back, in the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix. Maurice Trintignant won the following Grand Prix in Monaco, beating both Ferraris to first place, and the Cooper Company was making history.

It was finally Brabham’s time to shine, and he delivered the side two consecutive Contructors’ Championships and the Drivers’ Championships for himself back in 1959 and 1960. The single-seater Cooper with a rear engine was upgraded to a a 2.5 litre engine from 2, as John Cooper managed to convince manufacturers Coventry Climax that this will give better results. And he proved them right.

In 1964, Cooper Car Company failed to seal a sponsorship deal which would help them fund more seasons in Formula One, and so they went back to focusing on their most popular product, the Mini Cooper, which till now is still a figure in today’s society.

Jack Brabham at Zandvoort in the T53 in 1960

Photo Credit: Bernard Cahier

Toyota Racing

The Japanese company’s stint in Formula One is considered to be one of the biggest failures. It had the budgeting, the staff, the factory, basically everything to have a great team and compete against the big guns in the grid. But between 2002 and 2009, they only managed three pole positions and 13 podium finishes. Not even a single win came out of it and their best season was that of 2005 when German Ralf Schumacher and Italian Jarno Trulli made up the drivers’ line-up.

They finished fourth in the Constructors’ Championship that season, but they were a one-season wonder. They announces their entry in 1999, and planned to make their debut with a V12 engine. The FIA stepped in and issued rules that cars should be competing solely with a V10 engine, and so not only they had to think about building a new car, but also a new engine. Some argue that Toyota underestimated the competition in Formula One after they had conquered Rally Racing in the 90s.

They tested and tested at the Paul Ricard circuit in France, but they could not make the cut, and went on to blame drivers for their failure. This distracted the team from finding solutions to their problems. Eventually in 2009, they had announced their departure from the sport after they recorded a loss of 750 billion yen which would be equivalent to $8.3 billion at that time.

Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli reveal the Toyota TF105 F1 Car in January 2005

Photo Credit: Christopher Lee

Maserati

The Italian Scuderia was one of the first teams to join Formula One back in its initial formation in 1950. The Maserati 250F will forever be one of the most iconic cars in Formula One, which was driven to victory by the great Juan Manuel Fangio in 1957, who won the Drivers’ Championship that season.

Another name which cannot be missing when you mention Maserati is the Brit Stirling Moss, who also got to have his chance driving the 250F. Unfortunately, Maserati’s time in Formula One had to come to an end after Fangio’s triumph, as financial crisis hit the company and they were forced to exit the sport.

The Maserati 250F was a beautiful car, but it could be driven to greatness with talented drivers sitting behind the wheel. Those who were not on the level of Fangio and Moss struggled, and with team such as Ferrari and Mercedes too at that time, Maserati could not keep up with the competition. Despite it having a spacious cockpit, the driver struggled to make himself comfortable in a car in which behind him was a tank fuel filled with a dangerous mix of chemicals.

Maserati were once again mentioned with Formula One back in 2018, as a rumour came out that they might take over Haas, who have made their debut to the sport during the hybrid era and have a great relationship with Italian teams, as they also hold a Ferrari engine. For some reason, the partnership between the two has not gone through and us Formula One fans still await the great Scuderia to make a return.

Juan Manuel Fangio driving the Maserati 250F in the 1957 Monaco Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Keystone

For younger Formula One fans, it is great to have the opportunity to look back at such teams, who had basically formed Formula One and set the model for how cars and engines are produced. Many names that these day are easily forgotten.

There are many more teams that came and went in Formula One, but which one would you like to make its return to the grid?

Headline Image Credit: RacingOne

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