McLaren, Ferrari, Brabham and Minardi

F1’s 10 longest-running teams – and why most of them have been lost

Formula 1

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As the most popular sport on the planet, soccer has many established clubs whose histories span far more than a century.

From Notts County, Glasgow Rangers or even Wrexham, fans of many European domestic clubs can trace their team’s unbroken lineage back to the 1800s in a lot of cases.

The same cannot be said for Formula 1. Not just because the world championship itself only officially began in 1950, but because not a single one of the entities who participated in that first race at Silverstone all those years ago remains active in the sport today.

Instead, F1 teams have much more in common with the franchises that comprise the major North American sports like the NFL, NBA and MLB. There, teams regularly change identity or even move from the cities they’ve called home for decades, relocating thousands of miles away in some cases.

But that does not mean that there are not teams on the current grid with decades of heritage and storied histories in the sport. In fact, several of the longest-running teams in the sport’s history are still active on the grid today.

Tracking the teams that have enjoyed the most sustained time in Formula 1, there are some surprising names that appear. It is also partly a subjective exercise.

Even the likes of Ferrari, the only team to have competed in every season of the world championship, did not take part in every race. Some teams entered only a handful of a races over several years before becoming regular entrants. Others have come and gone, such as Honda, Renault and Sauber.

The following 10 teams had the longest periods of unbroken competition under the same identity in Formula 1, as of the end of last season, based on whether they started at least half of the races in a championship.

10. BRM – May 18th 1958-Sept 7th 1975 (17 years, 116 days)

The tale of BRM – British Racing Motors – is a complicated one. Formula 1’s first British team first competed in a 1951, racing in the British and Italian grands prix, with BRM constructed cars also racing in 1956 and 1957.

But from the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix to the penultimate grand prix of 1975 in Monza, at least one BRM car was entered in at least one round of the world championship – aside from the Indianapolis 500s that counted. BRM cars were entered in a handful of one-off grands prix after 1975, however, this was their longest continuous stretch, allowing them to just squeeze inside the top ten.

BRM took 17 grand prix victories in their extensive stint in the sport, the majority of which with Graham Hill at the wheel. Hill and BRM took both championships in 1962 – the only year in which they would win the constructors’ title.

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9. Red Bull – March 6th 2005-present (18 years, 328 days)

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2023

The current world champions and one of the most dominant and successful forces the sport has ever seen, Red Bull Racing embark on their 20th season this year. With 369 grands prix participations, Red Bull also sit ninth for the most races by a team in history.

After Ford purchased the Stewart team and transformed them into Jaguar for the 2000 season, the team never achieved the level of success their owners had hoped for. Pulling out at the end of 2004, the Milton Keynes-based squad were at risk of disappearing off the grid entirely. However, Red Bull bought the team to turn them into Red Bull Racing – and one of the sport’s most successful teams was born.

Over their 19 seasons in the sport, Red Bull have won the constructors’ championship six times, with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen winning seven drivers titles between them. Red Bull’s 2023 campaign was the most dominant the series has ever seen, winning all but one of the 22 grands prix, while Verstappen set all-time records that may never be matched.

8. Minardi – April 7th 1985-Oct 16th 2005 (20 years, 197 days)

Gianni Morbidelli, Minardi, Modena, Phoenix, 1991

Minardi’s final team principal, Paul Stoddart, famously once described the plucky Italian underdogs as “everyone’s second-favourite team”. And with how many fans still hold such a fondness for the Minardi name almost 20 years after it left the sport, it seems he was right.

Founded by Giancarlo Minardi in the mid-eighties, the Minardi team spent their entire existence in the sport punching above their weight. With one of the smallest budgets and modest set of resources on the grid, Minardi were almost always towards the back of the grid, never finishing higher than seventh in the constructors’ championship and only scoring a single point in the six seasons between 1996 and 2001.

Stoddart purchased the team in 2000, but kept the Minardi name. Five years later he sold up to Red Bull, which transformed it into their second team, Toro Rosso. It has changed names twice since then, first to AlphaTauri and now RB. Starting the F1 careers of drivers like Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Giancarlo Fisichella and more, Minardi may never have taken wins or even podiums, but they contributed more to the sport than the vast majority of teams ever have.

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7. Ligier – Jan 25th 1976-Oct 13th 1996 (20 years, 267 days)

The longest continuously-running French Formula 1 team, the Ligier name has a very strong history in the sport. Although never constructors’ champions, they took nine grand prix victories in 326 races and a total of 50 podium finishes.

Ligier’s best season came in 1980, when the team finished a distant second in the championship to Williams thanks to the efforts of drivers Didier Pironi and Jacques Laffite, who took a win each in Belgium and Germany, respectively. But by the late eighties, Ligier were struggling to score any points at all.

The team picked up in the early nineties to become a solid midfield outfit once again – not too dissimilar to Alpine today. However, following the 1996 season, in which Olivier Panis took the team’s final victory during an infamously wet Monaco Grand Prix, four-times world champion Alain Prost bought Ligier to transform it into his own team. However it folded before the start of the 2002 season.

6. Tyrrell – Sept 20th 1970-Nov 1st 1998 (28 years, 49 days)

Among the most famous race team founders in Formula 1 – Ferrari, Williams, McLaren – Tyrrell sits comfortably in that illustrious company. The team of Ken Tyrrell technically entered Formula in the late sixties as Matra, having an immediate impact when the Tyrrell-ran Matra team won the world championship with Jackie Stewart in 1969 with six wins from 11 grands prix that year.

For 1970, Tyrrell became the official entrant for the team with the debut of the Tyrrell 001 for the final three rounds. The team won the championship in their ‘first’ full season in 1971, Stewart’s second world title. But although they remained contenders throughout the seventies, with Stewart winning his third title in 1973, they never won the constructors title again.

Tyrrell won their final grand prix in Detroit in 1983 with Michele Alboreto, but by the time the nineties rolled around, occasional podiums was as good as it got for the previous world champions. In 1997, Tyrrell sold his team to Craig Pollock, paving the way for the debut of the British American Racing team for the 1999 season – the entity that would ultimately go on to become the Mercedes team today.

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5. Brabham – Oct 7th 1962-August 16th 1992 (29 years, 320 days)

Nelson Piquet, Brabham, 1982

Back in the early sixties, then-two times world champion Jack Brabham left the Cooper team which he had won both title with to enter into Formula 1 with his own team. The Brabham Racing Organisation first entered in the 1962 German Grand Prix and then the final two rounds of that year in the USA and South Africa, eventually competing continuously in the sport over the next three decades.

Brabham became the first and only world champion ever to take the title driving a car his own team built in 1966, powered by a Repco engine. But even once the team’s founder had ceased racing in Formula 1, the team he created continued to keep winning races.

Although Brabham only won the constructors’ championship twice in 1966 and ’67, they were a top three constructor on eight further occasions. Bernie Ecclestone purchased the team in 1970 but kept the Brabham name. By the time Ecclestone sold the team in the late eighties, Brabham was floundering team. The team was forced to wind up its racing operations in 1992 due to financial reasons after almost 400 grands prix of participation.

4. Lotus – May 18th 1958-Nov 13th 1994 (36 years, 188 days)

One of the most famous names in Formula 1 history, Lotus were, at times, one of the most imposing teams ever to race at grand prix level. Their seven constructors’ titles, 81 grand prix victories and over 100 pole positions still makes them one of the most successful entities ever to compete in F1.

First competing in the second round of the 1958 season in Monaco, Team Lotus became one of the most formidable teams of the next decade. Under the leadership of Colin Chapman, the team would win six drivers’ championship titles between 1963 and 1978 as well as taking the constructors crown seven times.

By the eighties, Lotus began to follow a similar story to many other teams on this list. The team faded out of the championship picture and fell into a gradual downward spiral. With financial problems mounting up, the team fell int administration in 1994, bringing their 36 year history in Formula 1 to an end.

The Lotus name returned to the grid in 2010 with a new team, but a messy legal row over the rights to the title resulted in that team being renamed to Caterham, with the Lotus name instead being adopted by the then-Renault team. The 2015 season was the last time the Lotus name featured on the grid, as Renault revived its factory team the following year.

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3. Williams – January 12th 1975-present (49 years, 18 days)

The top three on this list are all teams who will again line up on the grid in Bahrain in just 33 days’ time. The first is Williams – a team who have been fighting to try and return to the same level of success they enjoyed decades ago.

Frank Williams first entered cars into world championship races in the late sixties, running Brabham built cars. The first Williams built car was not even that of Williams Grand Prix Engineering, but of Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1973 and 1974, which ran Iso Rivolta chassis. The team’s first designed car, the FW01, ran in the 1975 season, before Williams Grand Prix Engineering was formed and first entered in 1977, starting the continuous run in the sport that is still ongoing today.

Over almost half a century since then, Williams reached the top of the mountain in Formula 1 on multiple occasions, taking the likes of Alan Jones, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill to world championship titles. Their over 100 grand prix victories placed them third overall by the end of the 1997 season, behind only McLaren and Ferrari.

Once again, the team fell into mediocrity in the 2010s, until US company Dorilton Capital purchased the team in 2020. Under new ownership but with the Williams name and Grove factory intact, the team continues to race today and had their best season since 2017 last year, finishing seventh in the championship.

2. McLaren – May 22st 1966-present (57 years, 252 days)

Mika Hakkinen, Norbert Haug, Ron Dennis, David Coulthard, McLaren, 1998

Founded by New Zealand racer and grand prix winner Bruce McLaren in the mid sixties, McLaren have evolved a long way from that plucky ‘garagiste’ team from their early days. But in that time, the team have gone onto become one of the most iconic in the sport’s history.

Racing for the first time in the world championship in the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, McLaren continued following the tragic testing accident in 1970 that killed its founder to achieve eight constructors’ championship titles – all of which coming before the turn of the millennium. The list of drivers who won drivers’ titles in McLarens feature some of the very best of the very best – Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton.

From the highs of their dominance in the late eighties under the leadership of Ron Dennis to the lows of their troubled recoupling with Honda in the mid-2010s, McLaren have enjoyed a recent resurgence under CEO Zak Brown. Last year, they had one of their best seasons for many years with new team principal Andrea Stella and young drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri – both of which know the team they race for can trace its driver history all the way back to McLaren himself.

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1. Ferrari – May 21st 1950-present (73 years, 273 days)

Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, Monza, 2002

Unsurprisingly, Formula 1’s most famous and historically successful team is also the one whose history runs almost as long as the start of the world championship itself. In fact, of all the grands prix Ferrari have competed in, the only one in which they have not entered – outside of the Indianapolis 500 – was the very first grand prix at Silverstone in 1950.

Named after founder Enzo Ferrari, Formula 1 has been central to Ferrari’s brand identity from the very start. No other team has competed in as many grands prix, won as many races, taken as many pole positions or won as many championships as Ferrari.

The only team to have started over 1,000 world championship rounds, Ferrari’s history is that of Formula 1 itself. Every regulation change or power unit formula, Ferrari have produced cars for. Every circuit the world championship has raced on, Ferrari have too.

The Prancing Horse may have been without a drivers’ champion since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 or without a constructors’ title since 2008, but they remain contenders at the front of the field, being the only team to prevent Red Bull from a perfect season of victories in 2023. With over 70 years of history, no team can boast a heritage in Formula 1 quite like Ferrari.

More of F1’s longest-running teams

Benetton (15 years, 209 days) and Jordan (14 years, 224 days) changed owners too soon to make this list. Toro Rosso (13 years, 267 days) simply changed identities – it became AlphaTauri and has just been rebranded again, as RB.

Other current teams have spent longer periods in the sport if their previous appearances were included. These include Mercedes, who at the end of last season had been in F1 for 13 years, 246 days continuously as a full constructor, but also competed in 1954-55.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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31 comments on “F1’s 10 longest-running teams – and why most of them have been lost”

  1. I must be getting old as the only team on the list I didn’t watch race was BRM…

    1. yeah same – I’ve always thought Minardi and Ligier were there for ages and Red Bull are the new kids – now only 18 months between them!

      1. Even if you include the team’s time as Jaguar and Stewart you could argue it’s a “recent” team in comparison to some of the others, certainly the most recent big team (the next probably being Aston Martin if you go all the way back to it’s Jordan days).

    2. I already got a headache long time ago trying to figure out BRM..
      I know Owen Racing Organisation was the “team” late ’50s then BRM and I’m sure Pedro had Owen Racing Organisation on his sticker on his car probably as late as late ’60s.

      Great memories whatever they officially may have been.

    3. @geemac I’m the same, so you mustn’t be getting old…

      1. @keithcollantine Or, and this is the worst-case scenario, we are both old. :)

    4. + Brabham for me

    5. Damn, I missed most of those teams, I notice a lot stopped in the 90s, just before I started watching, including one just the year before I began, which leaves only ferrari, mclaren, williams, red bull and minardi as the ones I saw.

    6. I am the same. The only one of these teams I have not seen in a race (on TV I mean) is BRM. Getting older now.

  2. Thank you for this great article, @willwood. Sauber must have been a tricky one, but I would have thought that there is enough continuity to include it here.

    1. @gillesamon Yeah, Sauber is a tough one. Hinwil has been in for 31 years, but I think the article makes a fair point of ignoring factories and bases, otherwise Enstone have been in 40 years and Williams only arrived at Grove in 94′ I believe. It would get crazy messy if we started applying those to it. I think ‘continuous’ in its simplest of forms is best.

      It seems a shame in a sense to exclude Sauber, but from my very poor memory the BMW years were very much BMW with almost nothing other than a buy back option for Peter.

      1. @bernasaurus That was very much an attempt on Peter Sauber’s part to retire.

  3. Once Williams was sold they should have just renamed it – Dorilton. A capital investment company doesn’t have a soul, family heritage or passion for F1 it’s just an investment – and it’s the complete opposite of what the Williams name stands for.

    1. I don’t agree, they’re trying to bring back williams to competitiveness, which is what the williams 1991-2004 was about.

  4. Minardi is still on the grid!
    The “Visa” name thing (shudders…) is just a disguise.

    4th place, 39 years. :)

  5. Regarding the BRM image: Back when photographers & or other people could just walk alongside track edge during sessions.

    1. and the braver ones positioned themselves right on the “,racing line,” for the best apex shot. Their only protection was the ability to run fast!

  6. On Ferrari; “Every regulation change or power unit formula, Ferrari have produced cars for.”, except for the 1956 season when Ferrari entered the Lancia D50 under their own name.

    1. Kind of. Most Ferrari dtivers used the D50 and it was what Fangio took the title in but they also ran their own actual cars but not competitive. Supersqualo.

    2. And in 1957, but Ferrari modified it slightly in both years so that they could call it a Lancia-Ferrari. It would have been faster if they had just used the Lancia…

  7. I don’t quite understand this sentence: “In fact, of all the grands prix Ferrari have competed in, the only one in which they have not entered – outside of the Indianapolis 500 – was the very first grand prix at Silverstone in 1950.”

    According to RaceFans article from 2020, before the team’s the 1000th race, the are 27 races the team missed.

    1. I think aside of Indy 500s and the 1st silverstone, there were also a few races where they entered, but didn’t race (pulled out after practice/ qualifying)

    2. There were also races where Ferrari factory cars were entered under a different entity from Scuderia Ferrari, namely NART in 1964 / 65 for the US and Mexican Grands Prix.

  8. Sauber is not on the list ? It has always been Sauber even if it let BMW or Alfa Romeo put their names on it. Isn’t it ? So much so that, after the contract expires, it goes back Sauber.

  9. While I’ll always enjoy a look at the Minardis and Tyrrells of yesteryear, this article has a few too many errors for me to pass without comment:

    BRM cars were entered in a handful of one-off grands prix after 1975,

    1976 Brazil, certainly. But the striking P207 contested (or attempted at any rate) the majority of the 1977 season on a full-time basis.

    Secondly, Brabham’s longest continous run ended at the conclusion of the 1987 season, as Bernie’s attention being increasingly diverted elsewhere led to the team failing to secure an engine contract for 1988, only returning under new management in 1989.

    Now, Williams is a puzzling one. The Politoys FX3 seems to have been forgotten entirely and it would seem that the Iso-Marlboro entries also don’t count as bespoke Williams cars, even though those same cars ran as Williams FW’s in 1975! Furthermore, if we are to take Tyrrell as an example, we’re only counting a team’s continous run as a constructor, but if we’re doing that then FWRC should be discarded entirely on the basis that after Frank’s ousting by Walter Wolf in 1976 no chassis would carry the Williams name in 1977: the old team was now producing cars under the Wolf name, and the new WGPE outfit was competing with a March chassis while Patrick Head got to work designing the FW06 which would debut in 1978.

    And lastly, Ferrari. The first 26 years of the world championship between the 1950 British and 1976 Austrian GP’s are littered with examples where Enzo Ferrari refused to send his cars whether due to industrial action, travel costs or sporting disputes, so the claim that the inaugural 1950 British Grand Prix is the only non-Indianapolis race they haven’t entered is false. In fact, this also means that the claim that Ferrari have raced on every world championship circuit is also false, as they missed Riverside in 1960!

  10. There is a lot of history in consecutive teams.
    Tyrrell: started 1970 > BAR 1999 > Honda 2006 > Brawn 2009 > Mercedes from 2010 onwards.
    Toleman: started 1981 > Benetton 1986 > Renault 2002 > Lotus 2012 > Renault/Alpine from 2016 onwards.
    Minardi: started 1985 > Torro Rosso 2006 onwards (with different names, but same owner).
    Jordan: started 1991 > Midland 2006 > Spyker 2007 > Force India 2008 > Racing Point 2019 > Aston Martin 2021 onwards.
    Sauber: started 1993 > BMW 2006 > Sauber 2010 > Alfa Romeo 2019 > Stake 2024 > Audi from 2026 onwards.
    Stewart: started 1998 > Jaguar 2000 > Red Bull from 2005 onwards.

    McLaren, Williams, Ferrari and Haas never changed their team name.

    Funny enough, Renault raced Toleman/Benetton because they started in 1977 and quit in 1986.

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      30th January 2024, 19:59

      The team that was Jordan ended when Force India became bankrupt. When Lawrence Stroll bought the team he didn’t buy the entry, so Racing Point and subsequently Aston Martin is a new team

      This is explicitly noted in the final classification of the 2019 season which has Force India at the bottom and Racing Point above them

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        30th January 2024, 20:02

        2018 season my apologies

  11. Shouldn’t Tyrrell be credited with 30% more time for their ’76/’77 season?

  12. Jonathan Parkin
    30th January 2024, 19:55

    I wouldn’t describe the 1996 Monaco GP as infamously wet. It was damp for the first 25-28 laps and then they switched to dries

    The following years race on the other hand

    1. Indeed, 1997 is the last full wet race we had in monaco and 1996 is similar to 2016 with the changeable conditions.

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