60 Years of the F1 World Constructors’ Championship: A Guide
How far back does Mercedes’ lineage go? How many times McLaren won the championship? Answers here!
Late last year, I found myself curious about some of the history of the Formula 1 World Constructors' Championship. Who won the most championships? How many times were teams disqualified? The only way to answer these questions was to spend several hours yanking numbers from Wikipedia to compile into a Google spreadsheet, one which became a chronological history of the World Constructors' Championship, complete with color coding and pretty little trophy symbols. Early on, I had to make a few calls on what data to exclude, because was enough fluff data to write a volume rivaling Tolstoy's War and Peace. There were dozens of teams who were either one-off entries in Germany or at the Indianapolis 500, there were customer teams who never built so much as an axle for their car, and there were teams that never competed in enough events to be worth tracking.
As a result, I had to set some requirements that teams need to have met to be worthy of inclusion in this chart, and they are as follows. Teams that competed between 1950, when Formula 1 regulations were introduced to Grand Prix racing, and 1957, the final year of competition before the first WCC, must have competed in more than one championship event during this period. This counts out Indy 500 entries, Bugatti, and the countless one-off entrants. With some notable exceptions, the timeline is also limited to factory teams and constructors, with customer teams being mostly excluded. From 1958 and beyond, the era of the WCC, only teams that scored championship points at least once in their history made the cut, which cuts out Life and Pacific. The now insolvent Caterham has been included due to how recent they competed in Formula 1.
Finishing places and trophy emojis denote the team's finishing position in the WCC. The presence of a pair of numbers separated by a slash, like 2/9, means that the chassis was entered by multiple teams that used different engines, as the varying chassis-engine pairings were scored separately. A filled-in square that lacks a number indicates that the team did not score points that season, and was thus not classified in the WCC. This applies exclusively to the old points system, where only the top six classified race finishers received points, as opposed to the current system, where the top ten classified race finishers receive points.
For those uninterested in how Lola and Dallara became embarrassingly intertwined with equally weak Formula 1 entries, or the fate of Sir Frank Williams' first attempt at launching a Formula 1 team, here's a boiled-down, bulleted list of facts for those who have an attention span as poor as my own.
- Ferrari, unsurprisingly, is the most successful team in Formula 1 history, with 16 WCCs under their belt. The team has not seen a WCC finish below 4th since 1981.
- Of the three oldest extant teams that have never changed names, including Ferrari, McLaren, and Williams, the least successful of the three is McLaren, with eight WCCs achieved. Williams has nine.
- Ferrari is the oldest team on the grid, competing in Grands Prix as far back as 1947. The second oldest team is a tie between McLaren, and, strangely enough, Mercedes, whose lineage can be dated back to Matra, which first entered in 1966 alongside McLaren, though with an ineligible Formula 2 car. Their first F1 entry arrived the following year, in 1967.
- The aforementioned Mercedes lineage goes Matra, Tyrrell, BAR, Honda, Brawn, and finally, Mercedes. The original Mercedes team has no lineage to the current team, as it was dissolved after 1955.
- Another long, strange history is that the current Renault team is descended from Toleman, following a succession of Toleman, Benetton, Renault, Lotus, and again, Renault. The current Renault team is unrelated to the company's former team that competed between 1977 and 1985.
- Red Bull was bought from Jaguar under Ford, prior to which, it was named Stewart, after Sir Jackie himself. In an alternate universe, Red Bull's attempted buyout of Arrows in 2002 succeeds, and Jaguar's team goes defunct, instead of living on as a team that would later win four consecutive championships.
- Sir Frank Williams' original team, Frank Williams Racing Cars, was bought out in 1977 by eccentric oil magnate Walter Wolf, and reigning champion James Hunt drove for the team following a separation from McLaren. The team folded in 1979.
- Both Sauber and now-defunct Manor had to retain the names of sponsors from previous seasons due to regulations regarding prize money distribution. Sauber was called BMW Sauber Ferrari in 2010, despite BMW no longer being involved with the team. In 2015, Manor had to race under the moniker Manor Marussia, despite the road car company for which the team was named going defunct.
- Between 2005 and 2008, the team now known as Force India raced under four different names. The order goes Jordan (2005), Midland (2006), Spyker (2007), Force India (2008 beyond).