History: the 10 strangest team names

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Most Formula 1 teams have names that can be traced back to people. But in the history of the premier class there have always been extremely bizarre names for the racing teams.

Most Formula 1 fans know: We have Ferrari, named after the great Enzo Ferrari. We have Haas, named after the American entrepreneur Gene Haas, plus Williams, after the founder of the racing team, Sir Frank Williams. Bruce McLaren laid the foundation for today’s papaya racers from Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Mercédès Jellinek, daughter of the entrepreneur Emil Jellinek, is the reason why the Silver Arrows are now called Mercedes.

But that’s not all: The Renault engine in the rear of the Alpine racer goes back to the French brothers Louis, Marcel and Fernand. Sauber owes its name to founder Peter Sauber, even if the racing team is now called Alfa Romeo Racing – Alfa has been an abbreviation for “Società Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili” since 1910, Romeo was added in December 1915 as the armaments company of Nicola Romeo took over the running of the young company.

Red Bull is of course an energy drink, but the team is officially called “Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda”, and the Aston Martin branding is based on the hill climb Aston and the car dealer Lionel Martin. Honda was founded by Soichiro Honda.

Alpha Tauri (formerly Toro Rosso), named after the Red Bull clothing line, is more unusual. It’s not unusual, I remind you of Benetton. But we found ten previous teams that had much more unusual names.

Arrows (1978-2002)
The racing cars were supposed to be as fast as an arrow, but the name Arrows had nothing to do with arrows. Rather, specialists from the Shadow racing team split off to do their own thing. The name of the team was then made up of the first letters of the founders – Franco Ambrosio (A), Alan Rees (R), Jackie Oliver (O), Dave Wass (W) and Tony Southgate (S). The missing R was added for the sake of aesthetics.

Lyncar (1974/1975)
The wives of the company founders Martin Slater and Graham Coaker were called Lyn and Carol – and the team name was ready! That was nice, but it didn’t make the racing car any better either.

Maki (1974)
An abbreviation from company founder Masao Ono and designer Kenji Mimura. The tank called F101A, on our photo with New Zealander Howden Ganley in Goodwood 2014, was as heavy as it looked – the car was said to be 150 kilos overweight.

Life (1990)
The name of the Italian businessman Ernesto Vito is a modification of Vita (life), translated into English – Life. The appearances of the team had more of an air of creeping death.

Alta (1950–1952)
A merger of TA from company founder Geoffrey Taylor, who was looking for a suitable start. In the end, he chose AL from aluminum engine block.

March (1970-1993)
A spiritual forerunner of Arrows, because March also combined the first letters of names: M for Max Mosley, AR for Alan Rees (a repeat offender!), C for Graham Coaker and H for Robin Herd.

Token (1974)
The TO came from the Greek shipbroker Tony Vlassopulos, the KEN from Ken Grob, a ship insurer. Judging by the performances, the car should actually have been called Noken.

Zakspeed (1985-1989)
Merging of words from Erich Zakowski and speed. The commitment of the Germans with their own turbo engine was extremely admirable, the future engine partner Yamaha failed across the board.

LDS (1962-1968)
The initials of the South African racing driver and racing car maker Louis Douglas Serrurier. His chassis was based on inspiration from Cooper or Brabham, to put it politely, using Alfa Romeo and Repco engines.

Kojima (1976/1977)
Matsuhisa Kojima was a former motocross rider, but you’ll never guess how the Japanese got so rich that he was able to start a racing car company – as an importer of bananas!

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