We pick out the Formula One teams that nobody will remember in years to come
With a name like Zakspeed they could only have come out of the 1980s. They arrived in Formula One in 1985 fresh off the back of winning the German Interserie Championship, and they finally gave up after a disastrous 1989 season that saw them pre-qualify just twice in 32 attempts. And on the two occasions that they did pre-qualify, Bernd Schneider failed to finish the race.
Their only mini-success came in 1987 when Martin Brundle finished fifth in the San Marino Grand Prix, earning the only two points that Zakspeed would see in five seasons of racing. They still existed in some shape or form for another 21 years, with Peter Zakowski taking over from his father - the founder, Erich Zakowski. But in January 2010, Zakspeed Performance Management announced it had filed for insolvency. Nobody noticed.
It was said that they had the best espresso in the paddock, which was a reflection of their friendly image. Yet that friendliness extended to the track as well, and in 2005 they finally called it quits after 20 years of F1 racing. They hadn’t achieved a single podium in that time, and earned just 38 points in 345 races.
In fact, if they had a claim to fame on the track then it was probably the fact that they denied Eddie Irvine the Drivers’ Championship in 1999, when Marc Gené held off the Northern Irishman to finish sixth in the European Grand Prix, thus earning Minardi their first point in over four years. Perhaps their sole redeeming element is that they gave race-time to the likes of Alessandro Nannini, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber, who all went on to win Grand Prix elsewhere.
One for the more senior members of our readership, and compared to some of the teams on this list, Walter Wolf Racing were not actually that bad. With Jody Scheckter at the wheel they won their first Grand Prix in 1977, in Argentina, and went on to finish fourth in the Constructors’ Championship that year. However it was all downhill from there - from 55 points in 1977, they fell to 24 the following year, and after Scheckter moved to Ferrari, Wolf manbaged just two race finishes and zero points in 1979.
That led Wolf, a Canadian, to pack it in and he sold the team to Emerson Fittipaldi, who merged its assets into Fittipaldi Automotive. Wolf had bought 60% of Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1976 but removed Williams from the manager’s job at the end of the year, which led Williams to leave the team and take Patrick Head to set up Williams Grand Prix Engineering. Which turned out to be a little more successful than Wolf’s enterprise.
Eight seasons in Formula One, 112 races, three pole positions, one outright victory and a pretty dodgy name. Founded by Don Nichols in 1971 as Advanced Vehicle Systems, the cars were called Shadows but spent most of their careers shadowing everyone else around the track. They entered Formula One in 1973, making their debut at the South African Grand Prix, and even scored a point when George Follmer finished sixth.
Tragedy would follow a year later. Shadow had hired two hugely promising drivers in American Peter Revson and Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jarier, but Revson was killed by a suspension failure on his DN3 during a practice run at the South African Grand Prix. There were better times in 1977 as Alan Jones won the Austrian Grand Prix and Shadow collected 23 points to finish seventh in the Constructors’ Championship, but that was as good as it got. They would qualify for just one race in 1980, and pulled out halfway through the season as sponsorship dried up.
The name came from a selection of initials from the four founders - Max Mosley, Alan Rees, Graham Coaker and Robin Herd - and although March would build engines that had success in other cars, their own record was pretty poor. They did win three Grand Prix, but that was from 207 races. They dipped in and out of Formula One between 1970 and 1992, but never came close to matching their debut season when they were third in the Constructors’ Championship with 48 points. That same year, Jackie Stewart used a March car to win the Spanish Grand Prix for Tyrell.
Vittorio Brambilla would win the Austrian Grand Prix for March in 1975, and Ronnie Peterson would take the Italian Grand Prix the next year, but the next three season of racing would see March fail to win a single point. Although they would race another four seasons across a six-year period, the company was bought out by Andrew Fitton, who was then forced to wind them up. He did try and register an F1 team in the March name for the 2010 season when there was talk of a budget cap being introduced, but the FIA rejected the application.
When John Surtees, a three time 500 cc motorcycle champion and the Formula One champion in 1964, formed his own racing team in 1966 and won the newly-formed CanAm series in its first year, expectations were high. A good run in Formula 5000 in 1969 convinced Surtee to enter F1 the following year, and he would fulfill the role of owner/driver in the first two seasons. It didn’t go too well, although it could have been worse as he and Derek Bell picked up three points in the team’s debut season.
Surtees would have their finest year in 1972, as Mike Hailwood finished second in the Italian Grand Prix - one of just two Surtees podium finishes - and the team picked up 18 points to finish fifth in the Constructors’ Championship. Twenty-four points from the next six seasons meant that 1978 would be their final F1 campaign, as a lack of funding saw the organisation closed for good in 1979.
With one race, for which they did not even qualify, Lola obviously holds the record for the shortest Formula One career by a team. Founded in 1958 by Eric Broadley, the company constructed F1 cars for other teams between 1962 and 1993, but their first works entry in 1997 led directly to financial ruin. Pressured by main sponsor MasterCard into entering a year earlier than planned, their car was fundamentally flawed and no faster than Lola’s Formula 3000 car.
Drivers Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset failed to qualify in the Australian Grand Prix, and the sponsors immediately pulled out. The team travelled to Brazil for the second race but never made it out of the garage, and the Mastercard-Lola drea, was over. The entire Lola Car Company went into receivership, but were saved by Martin Birrane. Like March they would lodge an entry with the FIA for the 2010 Formula One World Championship, and suffer rejection.