F1 is over 50 years old, and, since its inception, a large number of drivers and teams have raced in the championship. F1 teams are called constructors, and they are vital because, without a good team behind them, it is impossible for any driver to win the championship.
Many teams have belonged to some of the most prestigious manufacturers in the world and have endured a long time, while other teams have had more humble owners and have not remained as many years in the category or have had a more discreet stage.
Be that as it may, all teams, in one way or another, have contributed to shaping what is now F1, one of the greatest shows on the planet. The competition has always been very high, and since 1958, apart from the drivers’ championship, there has also been a constructors’ championship. Of all the teams that have participated in F1, only 15 have won the constructors’ championship.
Fasten your seat belt because, in this article, we will see some of the best teams that have participated in Formula 1. Let’s get into the topic!
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1. Scuderia Ferrari
Races entered: 1032
Constructors’ championships: 16
Drivers’ championships: 15
Race victories: 237
Pole Positions: 230
Fastest Laps: 253
Ferrari is probably the most famous car brand in the world, and it is largely due to its involvement in F1.
Ferrari made its F1 debut at the 1950 Monaco GP and has competed every season since then, becoming the oldest active team in the championship and the most successful of all, as it is the one that has won the most drivers’ and constructors’ championships, and has also achieved more victories, podiums, pole positions and fastest laps than any other team.
It is undoubtedly the most iconic team in F1. To think of F1 is to think of Ferrari and vice versa, and it is not surprising that it is the only F1 team with the right to veto. The Prancing Horse is the team in which most children want to race when they grow up. Some of the best drivers in history have raced for the Italian team, such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher, and Kimi Raikkonen.
In the more than 70 years that they have raced in F1, they have had dominating times and other times not so successful and challenging for the team, but they have always overcome the difficulties and continued in the competition.
The era of the 80s and 90s was one of the darkest of the team, achieving only 3 constructors’ titles in 20 years and none of the drivers. Still, it was followed by the most glorious days of the Maranello team along with Michael Schumacher, with whom they achieved all possible titles from 2000 to 2004.
They are currently living a situation similar to that of the 80s, being Kimi Raikkonen the last world champion for Ferrari in 2007, and getting the last constructors’ championship in 2008, but we know that sooner or later, Ferrari will return to the top, as it always does.
Races entered: 863
Constructors’ championships: 8
Drivers’ championships: 12
Race victories: 183
Pole Positions: 156
Fastest Laps: 159
Unlike other great teams in the history of F1, such as Ferrari, McLaren is characterized by building only the chassis and has always bought the engines from other manufacturers, such as Porsche, Mercedes, Ford, Honda, or Renault. As a manufacturer, McLaren has also developed racing cars for various championships.
It was founded in 1963 by New Zealander Bruce McLaren, who had raced in F1 with Cooper since 1959, and since 1966 raced in F1 with his own team. Bruce Mclaren achieved a couple of podiums and a win but was killed in an accident at another competition in 1970.
Despite the death of its founder, the team soon reorganized and achieved its first drivers’ championship in 1974 with Emerson Fittipaldi and its second in 1976 with James Hunt. But without a doubt, the golden years of the British team were the 80s. From 1984 to 1991, except for 1987, they won all the drivers’ titles, by Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, and Ayrton Senna, and all the constructors’ titles except for 1986 and 1987.
This era made McLaren a legendary team, powered by Porsche and Honda, and made drivers like Senna and Prost go down in history as some of the best.
In 1996 they started one of the longest-running alliances in F1 with Mercedes, which lasted until 2014 and with whom they won the driver’s championships in 1998 and 1999 with Mika Hakkinen and 2008 with Lewis Hamilton, and the constructors’ championship in 1998.
In 2015 they switched to Honda, who returned after several years out of the competition and had some bad years in terms of results, but since 2018 they have been improving year after year. In 2018 they switched to Renault engines, with which they achieved some podiums, and since 2021 they are once again in alliance with Mercedes, with whom they have achieved their first race win since 2012.
Races entered: 248
Constructors’ championships: 8
Drivers’ championships: 9
Race victories: 124
Pole Positions: 135
Fastest Laps: 94
Mercedes’ relationship with F1 is very particular and quite impressive. Mercedes participated as a constructor in the 1954 and 1955 seasons, winning the drivers’ title both years with Juan Manuel Fangio and with a clear dominance over the rest.
However, following the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours disaster, in which one of their drivers, Pierre Levegh, and more than 80 spectators were killed, Mercedes withdrew from motorsport, including F1.
Until 2010, Mercedes did not participate as constructors in F1 again. Still, in the 1990s, they returned as an engine supplier, first with Sauber and then with McLaren as well, as we mentioned earlier, becoming its main partners and acquiring 45% of the team.
In 2009 they supplied engines to the newly created Brawn GP, with whom they dominated the season, winning both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. They bought the team at the end of the year, and Mercedes returned to race as a constructor in F1 in 2010, after more than 50 years.
Between 2010 and 2013, they regularly entered the points, with the legend Michael Schumacher and the promising Nico Rosberg, but they could not fight for the championship. In 2010 Rosberg took the team’s first two podium finishes and in 2012 the first victory since 1955, at the Chinese GP.
In 2013 they signed Lewis Hamilton, who won a race that season and had several podium finishes, while Roberg achieved two races. In 2014 the hybrid era of V6 turbo engines began in F1, and from then on, it is when Mercedes has made history in the sport. Since that year, they have dominated like no other team, winning all the constructors’ titles and all the drivers’ titles until 2020, that is, 8 and 7 consecutively.
Thanks to Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton has become the best statistical driver in history, with 7 world titles, 6 achieved with them. Since 2014 he has only been beaten by his teammate Nico Rosberg in 2016, world champion that year, and Max Verstappen in 2021 with Red Bull.
This dominating stage of Mercedes, one of the longest in the history of F1, which we do not know when it will end, has made the team one of the best in history.
Races entered: 685
Constructors’ championships: 9
Drivers’ championships: 7
Race victories: 114
Pole Positions: 128
Fastest Laps: 133
Williams is one of the classic F1 teams and the third with the most races after Ferrari and McLaren. The team was founded in 1977 by Frank Williams and Patrick Head and made its debut at the Spanish GP that season.
Like McLaren, they don’t make their own engines as they buy them. They currently use Mercedes engines since 2014, but historically the one they have used the most is that of Renault, with whom they won 5 of their 9 Constructors’ Championships. They have also used other engines such as BMW, Cosworth, or Toyota.
From its debut, Williams was soon successful, taking their first win at the 1979 British GP by Clay Regazzoni, and in 1980 they won the drivers’ championship with Alan Jones and the constructors’ championship.
The team’s golden years were undoubtedly the 1980s and 1990s, decades in which they won all their constructors’ and drivers’ titles. The team won 9 Constructors’ Championships between 1980 and 1997. This was a record until surpassed by Ferrari in 2000.
With Williams, seven drivers have been world champions: Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill, and Jacques Villeneuve.
Like all great teams, they have had prosperous times and other times of worse performance. Since the second half of the 2000s, Williams has not had a winning car, although they have been able to contend for podiums and a few wins. Their last victory was at the 2012 Spanish GP with Pastor Maldonado.
At the beginning of the hybrid era, with the Mercedes engine, they were very competitive, coming third in the constructors’ championship in 2014. Since then, the team has worsened year after year and currently has one of the worst cars.
Frank Williams has always been the team’s public face and was team principal until 2014, when he was replaced by his daughter Claire. In 2020 the team was sold to a private company, which will try to make the team competitive again.
5. Team Lotus
Races entered: 491
Constructors’ championships: 7
Drivers’ championships: 6
Race victories: 74
Pole Positions: 102
Fastest Laps: 65
Team Lotus is one of the most iconic teams in F1 history. It will always be remembered for its legendary John Player Special tobacco branded gold and black livery, forever attached to F1.
Team Lotus was a British team founded by Colin Chapman and belonging to the Lotus Cars company. It raced in Formula 1 between 1958 and 1994 and is still today one of the most successful teams of history, with seven constructors’ championships and six drivers’ championships. They also raced in numerous competitions, such as the Indy 500, winning in 1965 and 1978.
This team should not be confused with the Anglo-Malaysian team Team Lotus (2010-11) or the Luxembourg team Lotus F1 Team (2012-15), which brought back the iconic black-and-gold livery and was sponsored by Lotus Cars, both attempts to rescue the historic team.
Team Lotus debuted at the 1958 Monaco GP, and it didn’t take them long to achieve success. Jim Clark got their first podium at the 1960 Portuguese GP and their first victory at the Dutch GP in 1961. The 60s and 70s were the golden decades of the team. Lotus did not make their own engines, and throughout their history, they used many such as Climax, Ford, Renault, Honda, or Lamborghini.
Lotus was characterized by bringing great innovations to F1. In 1963 they won their first drivers’ title with Jim Clark and the constructors’ title and repeated both successes in 1965. The Lotus 25 of those years was the first car in F1 history to introduce the monocoque chassis.
In 1968, 1970, 1972, and 1978 they won both championships with Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Mario Andretti respectively as world champions and won the constructors’ title in 1973. The 1978 Lotus 79 was the first ground effect car.
During the ’70s and ’80s, their livery became iconic. In the ’80s, they had competitive cars but were not up to winning the world championship, and they had great drivers like Nigel Mansell, Elio de Angelis, and Ayrton Senna. They achieved many podiums and some victories.
In the 1990s, the team’s performance worsened, and they had financial problems, their last race being the 1994 Australian GP.
6. Red Bull
Races entered: 322
Constructors’ championships: 4
Drivers’ championships: 5
Race victories: 75
Pole Positions: 73
Fastest Laps: 73
Red Bull is a particular case in F1, as it is not a car company or anything, but is owned by the famous energy drink company Red Bull, which also has another F1 team, Alpha Tauri. The Red Bull team debuted in 2005, and they have been very successful in such a relatively short time.
Red Bull has never made its engines, and during these years, they have used several such as Cosworth, Ferrari, Renault, and Honda, although with the withdrawal of the Japanese, they will manufacture their own engines from 2023 based on that engine.
The first years of the team, between 2005 and 2008, were competitive for such a new team, scoring points regularly. They got their first podium at the 2006 Monaco GP by David Coulthard and their second at the 2007 European GP by Mark Webber.
However, it was from 2009 when their best years began, thanks to the change in the aerodynamic regulations that took place that year, as they had (and still have) the legendary aerodynamics engineer Adrian Newey, who has designed some of the best cars in the history of the F1.
From 2010 to 2013, they won all the constructors’ and drivers’ titles with Sebastian Vettel, with 2011 and 2013 being clear dominators, while 2010 and 2012 were more disputed.
The incredible talent of Vettel, together with the outstanding aerodynamics, made these titles possible since in those years, the engine was not so important. Their cars have been characterized by having Red Bull colors and logos all over them, and in a few decades, it will surely be an iconic livery.
Since 2014 with the hybrid era, they have been in the shadow of Mercedes, although in 2021, they were able to take away the drivers’ title with Max Verstappen, and in 2022 it seems that the fight will be tighter than ever.
Races entered: 403
Constructors’ championships: 2
Drivers’ championships: 4
Race victories: 35
Pole Positions: 40
Fastest Laps: 42
Brabham Racing Organisation, better known as Brabham, was a race car manufacturer and a Formula 1 team between 1962 and 1992. It was part of Motor Racing Developments Ltd, the world’s largest manufacturer of single-seaters to order in the 1960s.
The team was founded in 1960 by two Australians, the driver Jack Brabham and the designer Ron Tauranac and, as we have seen in most teams, they did not make the engines. They bought them and used Climax, Ford, BRM, BWM, or Yamaha.
The team won four drivers’ and two constructors’ world championships in its thirty-year history in Formula 1. The drivers’ championship won by Jack Brabham in 1966 remains the only victory by a driver in his own car. The other drivers’ championships they won were Denny Hulme’s in 1967 and Nelson Piquet’s in 1981 and 1983.
In the 1960s, Brabham built cars that were considered “conservative and traditional” compared to other teams such as Lotus, although they were the first team to use the wind tunnel in 1963 to design their cars.
However, in the 1970s and 1980s, Brabham introduced such innovations as the controversial but successful ‘fan car,’ race refueling, carbon brakes, and hydro-pneumatic suspension. With Nelson Piquet’s titles, the team became the first to win a drivers’ championship with a turbocharged car.
British businessman Bernie Ecclestone owned Brabham for most of the 1970s and 1980s, and in 1988 sold the team to the Middlebridge Group. This Japanese motor company in 1992 collapsed financially, spelling the end of the Brabham team.
8. Brawn GP
Races entered: 17
Constructors’ championships: 1
Drivers’ championships: 1
Race victories: 8
Pole Positions: 5
Fastest Laps: 4
We have previously seen some unique cases, but this is undoubtedly the most incredible one. And it is that Brawn GP, in statistical terms, is the most successful team in the history of F1, with a 100% success rate, since it only raced in one season, 2009, winning both the drivers’ and the constructors’ titles.
The background of the team was the Honda team, which in 2008 announced its withdrawal from F1 due to the global economic crisis, and in the absence of serious buyers, the then Honda team principal, Ross Brawn, took over the team, renaming it to Brawn GP and buying it for a nominal price. Honda drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello remained with the team, albeit on lower salaries.
For the 2009 season, there were not many hopes for the team due to its moderate budget and lack of investors. 2009 was a year of regulation changes, as the cars’ aerodynamics were considerably simplified. The team used Mercedes engines and appeared in the first race with a practically empty car without sponsors.
However, the car’s performance surprised everyone. In the first race, the Australian GP, they finished first and second with Button and Barrichello respectively in both qualifying and the race, with a far superior car.
During the season, Jenson Button took 6 wins and 3 podium finishes. He won the drivers’ championship, while Rubens Barrichello took 2 wins and 4 podium finishes, being third in the championship at the end of the season.
The team started the season very strong, with Button winning 6 of the first 7 races, and although during the second half the performance was lower, neither team could catch up with them in the championship. Many new sponsors were brought in throughout the season, and in the last race, the car was no longer as empty as it was at the beginning.
The key to the team’s success was the innovation of the double diffuser, which provided additional downforce to the car without increasing drag levels, which meant a clear advance at all levels. At the end of 2009, Mercedes bought the team, forming its own, and as we have seen before, the rest is history.
Well, these are the best teams in F1 history. Some have pretty amazing stories, while others had to fight a long time to reach the top. It is worth mentioning some other teams such as Cooper, Renault, Benetton, or Tyrrell, who also left their mark on Formula 1.
Be that as it may, they have all helped shape what F1 is today and have given us great races throughout history. In F1, you never know what can happen, and we won’t know which teams will make up this list in a few decades, so we can only wait while we enjoy this show!