A history of the F1 Teams – Part 2

f1-history2Many F1 teams have come and gone, some old some new, but always adding new allure to the sport. Historically, it was the Italians who dominated the F1 Championships, particularly in the early years. This includes, of course, the famous Ferrari team, which is still a mainstay in F1 today, but also teams like Alfa Romeo which was once a leader but is now no longer involved in F1 racing. Other big name teams that were once leaders in F1 and are no longer racing include Maserati, Lancia, Brabham, Bugatti and Tyrell, to mention a few. Then there are teams like Mercedes, which back in the 1950s and 1960s was a leader in motor racing only to pull out and re-emerge for a second run in co-operation with McLaren. This is also true of Lotus racing, which was a Constructors’ Championship title winner in the 1960s and 1970s until dropping out and returning to F1 racing in 2010.

Although there are many reasons for a team to pull out of F1 racing, in many cases it is simply a matter of cost. F1 racing is an immensely expensive undertaking, not only from the technical and mechanical point of view, but also in terms of logistics, since today’s races are held all over the world and drivers command star salaries. In the heyday of F1 racing, it was tobacco company sponsorships that kept many F1 teams afloat. But the ban on tobacco sponsorship in sporting events (such as Marlboro exiting F1 racing, which had been a long-time sponsor of the Ferrari team), has forced many teams to look for other elusive sources of funding. However, as old sponsors pull out new sponsors enter the sport such as Intel (computer chips), PDVSA (oil company), Petronas (oil company), Infiniti (car company), Vodafone (telecom) and Acer (computers).

It is never a light-hearted decision for car makers or other sponsors to enter the F1 racing world. Honda, which had no car racing experience (but had ample motorcycle racing experience), took many years to decide whether to enter the F1 racing world before it finally did in 1983. Since then, many car companies have joined the F1 team line-up such as BMW, Ford and Toyota. One of their aims is to use their involvement in F1 racing to develop new technologies, know-how and experience that can then be translated into their commercial vehicles. The other aim, of course, is pure marketing appeal. Over the years, there have also been non-car affiliated teams, such as the clothing company Benetton or major team sponsorships like Credit Suisse, the Swiss investment bank, sponsoring F1 racing teams.

Historically, the most legendary and successful F1 team is the red Ferrari team with their prancing horse emblem. They can count many legendary Grand Prix winning drivers in their team such as Alberto Ascari, Juan-Manuel Fangio, Mike Hawthorne, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher. Enzo Ferrari created the Ferrari racing car in the late 1940s and won its first Grand Prix race in 1951 in Britain. Since 1950, Ferrari has won a staggering 15 Drivers’ World Championships and 16 Constructors’ Championship titles, but they have won no titles since 2008.

However, creating a successful F1 team is no easy feat. For instance, team Marussia joined F1 racing in the 2012 racing season with drivers Timo Glock and Charles Pic. However, the team has yet to win one single Grand Prix championship point – this means one of the team drivers has to finish in the top 10 in a Grand Prix – and is going into its third season in 2014. The same goes for team Caterham, which also joined F1 racing in 2012. The team also has yet to win a single Grand Prix championship point. Caterham have signed veteran F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi for 2014 to try to change this.

Most recently, team Red Bull – in 2013 it changed the name to Infiniti Red Bull – has dominated the F1 racing scene. The team entered the F1 line-up in 2005 and has since won four Constructors’ Championship titles and four Drivers’ Championship titles back-to-back. It is one of two teams owned by Austrian drinks company, Red Bull, the second team being Scuderia Toro Rosso. This is an amazing record and all eyes for the 2014 season will again be on the team’s number one driver, Sebastian Vettel. Red Bull has also acquired an existing motor racing track in Austria and has managed to bring back F1 racing to Austria for the 2014 Season.