F1 is a challenging sport to get into but an even harder sport to stay in. Some of the biggest manufactures in the game, like Porsche, have attempted and failed at Formula 1. What other automakers couldn’t cut it?
Peugeot and Lancia didn’t last long in Formula 1
Peugeot and Lancia aren’t big names in the U.S., but both automakers were involved in Formula 1 back in the day. THE RACE on YouTube went into detail about the partnership. Peugeot found success at Le Mans in the early 90s, which sparked the transition to F1. It became McLaren’s engine partner in 1994 and found itself on the podium eight times. With that said, the engine wasn’t powerful or reliable enough to inspire an entire team. Peugeot lasted one season with McLaren before teaming up with Jordan and finding more success. Upon entering a partnership with Alain Prost’s team, it all fell apart. The automaker pulled out of F1 in 2000 after a single second-place win in 1999.
Lancia seemed to have it all. The automaker had a dependable driver, an ambitious designer, and most importantly, a solid car. Unfortunately, Lancia was lacking in funds. During the 1954 Spanish Grand Prix, diver Alberto Ascari went into the harbor after missing a turn. He was fine but ended up being killed in a driving accident just a week later. Lancia withdrew from Formula 1 not long after.
Yamaha and Lamborghini pariticpated in F1 for a short amount of time
These days, Yamaha had a good thing going outside of Formula 1 and in motorcycle racing. However, it attempted F1 in the 90s. With a group of sponsors, Yamaha managed to get two podium finishes in 116 races. Things got better later on when it teamed up with the Arrows team in 1997. After the Arrows Yamaha team almost won with Damon Hill at the Hungarian Grand Prix, it bowed out in 1998.
Lamborghini joined Formula 1 for a few short years, from 1989 to 1993. This garnered the team one podium finish at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix. It almost managed to get points a few times, but Lamborghini wasn’t long for F1.
Jaguar and Alfa Romeo found little success in the race
Ford took over a team and rebranded as Jaguar Racing in 1999. Even though the team was named after the luxury car brand, there was no Jaguar engineering involved. The engine was by Ford Cosworth, though it didn’t do the team much good. Jaguar managed two podium positions but did not win any races. However, Red Bull Racing acquired the team head of the 2005 season. This season, Red Bull found success early on and continues to do so with Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez.
Alfa Romeo won two world championships way back in 1950 and 1951. It pulled out of Formula 1 after that and returned as a constructor back in 1979. Alfa Romeo didn’t find much success during that round either. After Patrick Depailler’s death at Hockenheim in 1980, things didn’t improve. However, after joining again in 2019, the team secured Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi as drivers.
Don’t forget Aston Martin and Porsche
Aston Martin first joined F1 back in 1959 using its engine but did not score any points. It left the sport after one season but came back as Racing Point in recent years. The team was rebranded again as Aston Martin Racing for the 2021 season.
Porsche started its involvement in motorsports early when Ferdinand Porsche designed Grand Prix cars in the 1920s. In 1991, Porsche joined the Footwork team for six races. However, the engine was overweight and underpowered. The only notable mention was when a crash occurred and the engine separated from the chassis. Porsche has recently been in talks to join Formula 1 again sometime soon, but nothing has been confirmed.
Subaru and Toyota are the biggest names that have failed in Formula 1 racing
Subaru might be famous for its success in rally racing, but it tried Formula 1 as well. In 1990, the Subaru 1235 used a flat-twelve engine design in the car, which proved not to be competitive. This did the program no favors, and it ended after a concise two years.
Toyota is arguably the biggest automaker on the list but did not see much success in the sport. From 2002 to 2009, Toyota spent a lot of money not winning races. The Toyota Formula 1 car entered into 140 races and won zero. It did manage to get on the podium 17 times. Everyone had high expectations for Toyota given the success of the brand, but it never succeeded. Toyota wanted the race team to follow the corporate strategies that helped it grow in passenger cars, which did not mesh with the racing ways. Toyota pulled out after eight seasons.
Which automaker was the biggest failure in Formula 1?
To be fair, Formula 1 is not an easy sport to win in. Just because these automakers have seen success in commercial and passenger vehicles doesn’t mean the brand will be good at racing. There are a lot of changes coming for the 2022 Formula 1 cars, which might mean more room for different brands in the future.