Formula 1: Longest intervals between Grand Prix races for F1 constructor teams
Many of these constructors have served various roles in Formula 1.
Formula 1 as a sport has had an illustrious history spanning decades, showcasing some of the best teams and sportsmen in motor racing. And although the teams in the sport today have been racing for quite some time, several teams have experienced significant gaps between their appearances on the racing circuit. Now, let’s explore the teams with the longest intervals between two Grand Prix races.
6. BMW: 19 Years
Although BMW is not racing in the sport today, its involvement in Formula 1 has been marked by both triumphs and droughts. After exiting the sport in 1987, the German manufacturer took a 19-year break and returned in 2006 after acquiring the Sauber team. Their return was met with high expectations, and they showcased their competitive spirit by finishing fifth in the constructors’ championship.
However, BMW withdrew at the end of 2009 during the global financial crash and has not returned to Grand Prix racing since. Instead, they have been focusing on championships such as Formula E and the World Endurance Championship.
5. Lotus: 20 Years
It’s no secret that Lotus has had an illustrious career in F1, winning 7 constructor championships in the 1960s and 70s. However, due to financial struggles, the team withdrew from the sport in 1994, and the Lotus nameplate remained dormant until 2010 when the team re-emerged as Lotus Racing.
Despite various iterations and ownership changes, their return to the Australian Grand Prix in 2015 reignited the spirit of Lotus in Formula 1.
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4. Alfa Romeo: 33 Years
Alfa Romeo is deeply intertwined with motorsport history, thanks in part to the company’s early triumphs in Targa Florio, Mille Miglia, and Le Mans. However, after participating and dominating in the first two seasons of Formula 1 in 1950 and 1951, winning the driver’s championships with Nino Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio respectively, the team took a break after the 1985 Australian Grand Prix.
It was not until 2019 that Alfa Romeo returned to the grid, forming a partnership with Sauber Motorsport. This collaboration breathed new life into the Alfa Romeo Racing team, reviving the iconic brand’s presence in Formula 1.
3. Honda: 39 Years
Honda’s journey spans several decades as it first entered Formula 1 as a constructor in 1964, with its own chassis and engine. Although the team enjoyed some success in the sport, winning its first race in 1965 with Richie Ginther at the Mexican Grand Prix, and its second in 1967 with John Surtees at the Italian Grand Prix, the team withdrew from F1 after 1968, following the demise of its driver Jo Schlesser and the difficulty of selling cars in the US.
However, the team made a comeback in 2006, partnering with British American Racing (BAR) to establish the Honda Racing F1 Team. Despite facing reliability issues at the start, they managed to secure one win with Button at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
2. Mercedes: 55 Years
Although Mercedes’ domination in the turbo-hybrid era has been nothing short of extraordinary having won many championships, their dominant era in 1954 and 1955 was equally remarkable, winning nine out of 12 races and both drivers’ championships with Juan Manuel Fangio. However, after the 1955 season, the team withdrew from the sport following the Le Mans disaster, which claimed the lives of over 80 people.
Mercedes then returned as a full constructor in 2010, acquiring the Brawn GP team that had won both championships in 2009. This marked the beginning of a new era for the Silver Arrows, leading to unprecedented success.
1. Aston Martin: 61 years
Aston Martin first entered F1 in 1959 but competed in only five races before withdrawing from the sport in 1960 due to lack of competitiveness and financial constraints. However, the team made a comeback in 2021 by rebranding the Racing Point team, thus reviving the iconic British racing heritage associated with the Aston Martin name.