Rumor has it, Manor Racing Team is currently on administration. So much for Pascal Wehrlein scoring the team’s first and only point of the season.
With that, I am going to conclude that Manor Racing Team has to be the most disappointing one after much hype about the new Mercedes power unit, DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein, and the most hype (in Indonesia) of them all: Rio Haryanto. Who only lasted half a season thanks to the government-owned (read: corrupter-owned) sponsors which can’t afford to back Haryanto up for the remainder of the season.
However, that got me thinking, are there any other useless F1 teams? Boy, I wasn’t disappointed (in a bad way). I thought Manor and Caterham were absolute piles of disposals but then I saw these teams.
Without further ado, here they are: The 5 Most USELESS F1 Teams
5. HRT (Hispania Racing Team)
To the Holden (link for Holden fans) fans, chill, because the HRT that we’re on about is not the well-performed, factory-backed, championship-winner, now-defunct Holden Racing Team. What we are on about is the Spain-based Hispania Racing Team.
Originally started out life as Campos Meta Racing, the team was the first team to be granted to enter the sport in 2010 out of the many, many teams who registered that year.
Campos partnered with Dallara for their chassis engineering and Cosworth to provide their powering unit.
The team’s start was however difficult as HRT were the only team not to have done any pre-season testing. Yep. Yeah. I mean, the first thing you need to do before a season is to test your car to see how it fares in the real world and not a damn wind tunnel.
In its first Grand Prix the cars completed only 20 laps at Bahrain, but 2 weeks later Karun Chandhok secured the first finish of the year.
The following season wasn’t that great either. They failed to qualify on the first Grand Prix of the year. Continued financial struggles led to an announcement from the owners in November 2012 that they were looking to sell the team. When that attempt ultimately failed before the deadline of 30 November, the team was subsequently omitted from the 2013 entry list. The team subsequently also went into liquidation, with carbon fibre supplier Formtech being one of the companies that HRT owed money to.
4. Life Racing Engines
In 1989, the very year when turbocharging was banned (before lifted in 2014), a former Ferrari engineer Franco Rocchi, who had been responsible for the 3 liter V8 engines in the 308, developed an unconventional W12 engine for the season. The engine was ready for the 1989 season.
Italian businessman and team founder Ernesto Vita hoped for fast money. He bought the rights to the W12 from Franco Rocchi and tried to supply the engine to a well-funded Formula One team. During 1989, he searched for a partner without any success.
Eventually, he gave up his search and decided to run the engine on his own in the 1990 Formula One season.
And that season didn’t go too well either. Life couldn’t build a car on their own so, they went to a defunct F3000 team (which also attempted to enter F1 in 1989 but failed due to financial struggles) FIRST racing. FIRST sold its cars to Life Racing Engines in 1990.
The engine and the car was proved to be a massive disappointment. The W12 engine was the slowest among the grid with 480 hp. As a hint, 480 hp was only 10 hp more than a Ferrari F40. That’s powerful, then. Yes. But the F40 was a road car. The Life L190? An F1 car. An F1 car shouldn’t be comparable to a road car from 4 years earlier. The rest of the grid who used V12, V10, and V8 engines were pumping out 600-700 hp.
After 14 entries, the team finally withdrew in the same year. After the Spanish Grand Prix the team decided not to take on the Japanese and Australian rounds, and hasn’t been heard of until its latest appearance in the 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
3. RAM Racing
RAM competed in F1 in 1976 to 1985 where the team started out as the ultimate nest of pay-drivers with RAM fielding not one, two, or even five pay drivers, but 14 pay-drivers. All in three seasons. Yep. That is like 4.66666667 drivers a season.
They struggled continuously until the team’s folding in the winter of 1985, scoring no points throughout the 9 year run with the best finishing position of 8th in the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix.
2. Scuderia Coloni
In the overall FIA open wheel series like Formula 3000 and GP2, Scuderia Coloni was not really a useless team. Climb up the steps to Formula 1, however…
Coloni was useless. The Coloni F1 project started at the 1987 season, and yes, 2 years before the season when engines are more affordable and more teams can participate in it. Enzo Coloni was one of the team owners who were interested.
Their first race was all the way back in the 1987 Italian Grand Prix with Coloni entering the FC187 car with a Cosworth DFZ. Predictably, the car didn’t qualify. They entered the Spanish GP and started before retiring from mechanical issues.
1988 was better for the team with them regularly making it through the qualifying session and scoring an all-time best position of 8th in the Canadian Grand Prix.
The following years, most notably the pathetic partnership with Subaru and their flat-12 engines really dropped Coloni out of the game as they sold the team that would later become Andrea Moda.
1. MasterCard Lola
Lola began their 1998 Formula 1 project promisingly with years of experience building chassis for other teams and with an equally promising sponsorship from MasterCard.
However, MasterCard’s pressure to start F1 a season earlier would see the team’s failure.
In 1995 and 1996, the team have tested prototypes of their F1 chassis with positive outcomes in those tests. The sponsorship pressure was really the one thing that screwed them over.
The Lola chassis, dubbed the T97/30, was based on most of their IndyCar technology yet never saw the inside of a wind tunnel and barely had on-track tests. This was mainly because the design of the engine fell behind schedule.
Under 1997 rules, drivers would only be allowed to start a race if they set a qualifying time within 107% of the pole position time or if under exceptional circumstances, they fail to qualify, their time in practice would be considered. At 11 and 13 seconds respectively, with the unintended Ford unit, Sospiri and Rosset were nowhere near achieving this. While fellow newcomers Stewart Grand Prix had performed respectably, the Lola cars would not be seen at a Formula 1 event ever again.
The cars were tested at Silverstone shortly after the Australian Grand Prix but both were again slowest with times in excess of 10 seconds off the front runners.
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