Failure to convert.


Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Just thought I'd write a short piece on teams who managed to win a pole in F1 but never managed a win. To start you off here's the first three:


Founded in 1978 as a break away from the Shadow team Arrows were in F1 until 2002. The original team was founded by Franco Ambrosio, Alan Rees, Jackie Oliver, Dave Wass and Tony Southgate. The first Arrows car, the FA1, was the subject of legal action from the Shadow team who claimed it was a copy of their DN9 machine. The Arrows team built a new car, the A1, in just 52 days.

Arrows only pole came at the Long Beach grand prix in 1981 when Riccardo Patrese put the A3 the top spot of the grid. He led until lap 17 before eventually retiring on lap 25 with a persistent misfire. Patrese and Thierry Boutsen managed Arrows highest finish with a smattering of 2nd places and, famously, Damon Hill, finished 2nd in Hungary in 1997 but no Arrows driver ever stood on the top step of the podium.


Craig Pollock founded British American racing in 1999 after Pollock, with British American Tobacco money, bought the ailing Tyrrell team. BAR raced until 2005 when Honda bought the team out.

Despite having 1997 World Champion in their driver line up BAR consistently under achieved and it wasn’t until 2004 that Jenson Button and Takuma Sato had a car which could get close to the front. Unfortunately this coincided with the year Michael Schumacher and Ferrari decided that it wasn’t fair for anyone else to win a race.

BAR’s two poles were both claimed by Jenson Button. The first came at San Marino in 2004. Button led for the first 9 laps but lost the out to Schumacher when he stopped to refuel. The second was in 2005 in Canada but Button lost out on the lead on the first lap being overtaken by the Renaults of Alonso and Fisichella.

Alfa Romeo (1979 to 1985)

In 1950 and 1951 Alfa Romeo won 10 Grands Prix before withdrawing at the end of 1952 after being beaten by Ferrari. From 1961 to 1979 Alfa supplied engines to a variety of teams, most famously to Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham team from 1976 to 1979.

In 1979 Alfa Romeo made a come back as a constructor in a limited number of races. For 1980 Alfa signed up Patrick Depailler to partner Bruno Giacommelli in a 2 car team. Tragically Depailler died during testing for the German Grand Prix. The team regrouped and Giacomelli took pole at the final race in the season at Watkins Glen near New York. Giacomelli led for much of the race before retiring with electrical problems.

Alfa’s other pole came in 1982 when Andrea de Cesaris put his car top of the grid at Long Beach. De Cesaris led for 15 laps before being passed by Niki Lauda in his comeback season. Unsurprisingly Andrea later span off and retired.
I always thought one of the best Car-Engine name combinations ever was the Arrows-Megatron.

Alfa Romeo and McLaren win the award for most identical liveries in the same season. Sadly for Alfa, the performance wasn't quite the same.
One of Arrows' best chances came in their first season in South Africa, I believe. They were fated by the Shadow business, though.

BAR vowed to win on their debut. If that isn't tempting fate...

Alfa in the Autodelta days were just odd. Occasionally at the front, but with no apparent rhyme or reason at all.
Off the top of my head I could add the name of Toleman with Fabi's pole at the Nurburg in 1985. Teo unfortunately only stayed there for a few yards off the grid. Of course they got rebranded as Benetton the following year so I'm not sure that would count?
Can you confirm that though? Back then cars without KERS had more of an advantage :D

Also I am quite puzzled how, at the same race, same car, one driver was on pole, but the other was at the back end of the grid :s
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