Constructors Who Have Won in F1 - Lotus


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Lotus (79)

Colin Chapman's team came into Formula One in 1958, giving débuts to drivers Graham Hill and Cliff Allison. It was Allison who scored their points that year, all for 4th place at Spa. Their unreliability saw only 5 finishes from 17 starts in 1959, with 5 points from Innes Ireland. For 1960, Rob Walker entered a Lotus for Stirling Moss, their first outing securing Moss victory in Monaco. Ireland took a second place for the works team in the next race at Zandvoort, and Moss secured another victory from Ireland in the USGP at the end of the year. They finished a distant 2nd in the Constructors' race.

Moss and Walker took a second consecutive victory at Monaco in 1961, and he was triumphant at the Nurburgring too. At Watkins Glen, Ireland secured the works team's first victory, and they finished second again in the Championship. For 1962 they'd signed Jack Brabham, but he was overshadowed by a driver Lotus had run in 1960-1, Jim Clark. The Scot took pole in Monaco but his car was unreliable. He was to win at Spa from 12th on the grid, however, and later in the season he won from pole at Aintree, scoring his first Grand Chelem. There was to be another win at Watkins Glen.

1963 started with a retirement around the streets of Monaco for Clark. He simply won 4 in a row at Spa, Zandvoort, Reims and Silverstone. His only career second place at the Nurburgring was followed by a victory at Monza which gave him the World Title, a podium at the Glen, a victory at Mexico City which gave him maximum points and another victory at East London - a victory whose points were dropped at the end of the season! Lotus, of course, won the Constructors' title.

The Lotus 25 provided 3 more wins in 1964 (at Zandvoort, Spa and Brands Hatch) before the 33 was introduce. Alas it didn't finish any races, but Clark's failure on the penultimate lap at Mexico still cost him the title to John Surtees. The 33 took its first win on New Years Day 1965, in South Africa. Clark missed the Monaco GP as he was winning the Indianapolis 500 (he was the only entrant not from North America) but won the next 5 at Spa, Clermont, Silverstone, Zandvoort and Nurburgring to reach maximum points with 3 left. He retired from them all.

The unreliability returned for 1966 though. The Champion only finished 3 races, and only won one at the Glen on the day Jack Brabham claimed his title. After the first two races of 1967, he was to get a new engine, the Ford Cosworth DFV in the new Lotus 49. He took his 4th win at Zandvoort first time out (having never driven the car before) and a fifth British GP win, this time at Silverstone. The title was not on by his two wins in North America at the end of the year. He then won the first race of 1968 in Kyalami, (with Graham Hill second, scoring his first points for Lotus - ten years on!) but was killed in a crash at Hockenheim. He'd won 25 races, having won more of the races he'd finished than he'd lost!

Onto the car came F1's first sponsors' livery as Hill took up the challenge to win the Spanish and Monaco races. Jo Siffert won the British GP for Rob Walker's Lotus. Hill secured his title in Mexico City as he won the final race. Lotus weren't to hit the same heights in 1969. Hill won his final race, appropriately, at Monaco. Jochen Rindt took his first victory at the Glen. 1970 was better, Rindt won in Monaco, Zandvoort, Clermont, Brands Hatch and Hockenheim. They were the only races he finished before his fatal accident at Monza, but he was still able to claim the title.

Emerson Fittipaldi picked the team up with a victory at the Glen. He led the team to a disappointing 5th place in the 1971 Constructors Championship and their first year without a win since 1959! However, in 1972 they were back in black and gold! Emmo won in South Africa, then from pole in Spa, and at Brands Hatch. Victories in Austria and Italy gave them both Championships, and his team-mate Dave Walker hadn't scored a point!

Fittipaldi won the first two races of 1973 from 2nd on the grid. A podium in South Africa was followed by their becoming the first team to 50 wins at Montjuic Park. It was Emmo's last win for Lotus. His young team-mate Ronnie Peterson was to win 4 races that year, in France, Austria, Italy and America but Jackie Stewart had taken the title!

Fittipaldi left, and Peterson piloted car #1 since Lotus had won the WCC and Stewart had retired. Peterson won in Monaco, France and Italy, but Lotus couldn't stop their former employee taking McLaren's first title. A Jacky Ickx podium in the tragic half-Spanish Grand Prix was the highlight of a bleak 1975, 1976 was better and was illuminated by Mario Andretti's win in the rain at Fuji.

They were back for 1977 though, with Mario winning at Long Beach and Jarama before Gunnar Nilsson's only win at Zolder before his tragic premature death of cancer in 1978. Two more wins for Andretti that year (a steal from Brabham's Watson at Dijon and a win at Monza) saw him 3rd in the Championship. Nilsson's cancer saw Peterson back in the car for 1978. Andretti had won in Argentina and Peterson in South Africa in the Lotus 78 before the car changed...

The Lotus 79 was a classic F1 car. It won from pole at Zolder first time out in Andretti's hands. It scored a one-two in its first double start at Jarama. It couldn't compete with Brabham's dubiously legal car in Sweden, but there was another one-two at Paul Ricard. A win from pole for Andretti at Hockenheim was followed by one for Peterson at the Osterreichring and another one-two at Zandvoort. Peterson's fatal accident at Monza in the 78 clinched the crown for Andretti, and no more wins were forthcoming, thanks in no small part to a 1 minute penalty for a jump start at Monza.

The Lotus 80 didn't get it right, and a few barren years followed. Their only win from 1979-84 was Elio de Angelis victory at the Osterreichring in 1982 by a margin of 0.005s from Keke Rosberg. Chapman died that year.

In 1985, Lotus hired Toleman's promising young Brazillian driver Ayrton Senna to replace Nigel Mansell. He won from pole in the wet in Estoril second time out. De Angelis then won his last race at Imola. Senna's many poles were not being followed up by wins, and he didn't claim pole at his other win of the season at Spa. 1986 was more of the same, with victories from pole for Senna in Jerez and Detroit. His team-mate, the Earl of Dumfries, wasn't nearly in the same league. Their would be two wins in 1987 too, but without the wasted poles. Senna's win at Monaco is the only one not by McLaren for 10 years and he followed it up by Lotus' last win at Detroit.

The signing of triple-champion Nelson Piquet did nothing to stop their decline. Their time came to an end at the end of 1994. I will not count Pacific, 1Malaysia and Renault and the other pretenders to the throne. The remarkable team of Clark, Senna and Andretti had gone.
Ah, Lotus! One of the truly great names in F1, now being sullied by usurpers!

If Chapman's cars had been as reliable as they were fast, what might the record be.
The car that Sir Stirling drove to the first Lotus victory had been built rather more robustly than the team cars at the insistence of Rob Walker. Brilliant move too--when the car finished at Monaco, the engine was only being held in place by the coolant pipes, the engine mounts had broken!!

The fragility of the cars was infamous. Rindt told the same Rob Walker at the start of the 1969 season that he "wanted to win so badly that he was even willing to drive for Chapman". Alas, his reservations proved well-founded with his death in the 72 the next year.

The record of the cars in 1966 was somewhat deceiving because they were saddled with the brick of the BRM H-16 that year. It was so bad they frequently reverted to using old Climax engines of lesser capacity in the search for some reliabilty.

In 1968, Mario made his F1 debut in a 49B and won pole position at Watkins Glen! He should have been WDC in 1977, as he won more races than anyone else, but the Lotus 78 suffered from inadequate cooling all season long. The 79 is the stuff of legends, and the 80 was too flexible for the downforce it generated, popping rivets on the spring perches etc.

The really interesting thing about Dumfries being teamed with Senna is that he was more or less stipulated by the future WDC who vetoed the team's intention to hire Warwick.
It's sad to think that Lotus entered the 1988 season with the same Honda Turbo engine that sat in the back of the Mclaren MP4/4 and with the current Formula one World Champion behind the wheel of the car and yet that season could only produce just 3 podiums and little else. With the loss of a works engine deal at the end of that season, Fred Bushall, one of the directors and head of finance, ending up in jail and the eventual sale of the remaining shares held by Peter Warr and the Chapman family there was only one direction that Lotus could have gone.

I just hope that we are not witnessing the same decline in to eventual closure by Williams.

Unfortunately, Williams DOES seem to be following the same sad trajectory. However, hope does spring eternal.
I was in my final days in the RAF, stationed at RAF Coltishall in Norfolk. Colin Chapman was allowed to use the airfield for private flights; one day I was going into work in the control tower, walled round one corner just as Chapman walked round the same corner in the opposite direction.
I read a rumour that Chapman faked his death and fled to Brazil or Argentina following the DeLorean scandal.
I thought it was quite funny.
It was certainly a convenient time for him to die as he faced a certain prison sentence. I actually saw a DeLorian in the car park at work one day, actual physical ones were rare.

We had a secretary at once place where I worked whose husband had worked to Chapman in the early days; his attitude was that it was an honour to work for him and as such payment should be as little as possible.

Dark clouds taint Lotus founder Colin Chapman
Apparently had he been alive Colin Chapman might have been prosecuted for fraud


The problem with Chapman was his whole philosophy was around innovating his cars before anyone else. He was great at finding ways being ahead of the opposition and by usually being the pioneer but his team never had the staying power to maintain dominance.

Also were Lotus records and achievements also masked because Jim Clark was definitely the best driver in the 60's? Its hard to say


I was happy to see that Mike Gascoyne and Tony Fernandes were going to revive the Lotus name back in 2010 but was even more disappointed that the squabble between them and Team Enstone led by Dani Bahar over naming rights which meant the name disappeared from F1 once again for good
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