F1 team names have been a big talking point in the off-season as two constructors underwent a rebrand for the 2024 campaign.
Red Bull’s sister squad AlphaTauri changed its operation to Visa Cash App RB, while Sauber ditched its Alfa Romeo guise to sign a title sponsorship with online casino company Stake and live streaming platform Kick.
Both caused a lot of controversy in F1 and Autosport’s Alex Kalinauckas believes it should alarm the series because they are nothing more than a “branding exercise” for extra funds.
However, not all teams in F1’s history have had a title as illustrious as Ferrari, McLaren or Williamsso here are five of the oddest names to have entered a grand prix weekend since the championship’s inauguration in 1950.
1969 Monaco Grand Prix
1970 United States Grand Prix
Antique Automobiles was a privateer team run by Colin Crabbe that entered a single car into 14 grands prix as part of the F1 world championship.
Crabbe was a famous dealer of historic racing cars, hence the name, and struck deals with other teams so that Antique Automobiles could rent one of their cars for whatever race he entered.
The British outfit made its debut at the 1969 Race of Champions, but driver Roy Pike failed to start his Brabham BT23B due to a fuel pump failure. Antique Automobiles then made their F1 debut at the 1969 Monaco GP, where Vic Elford drove his Cooper T86 to seventh before competing in four additional grands prix for the team that year, but in a McLaren M7B.
Antique Automobiles was a pretty competitive outfit, too, as Elford scored points at the French and British grands prix to end the year 14th in the championship.
Antique Automobiles then signed rookie Ronnie Peterson, who would eventually win 10 grands prix in his career, for the 1970 season. However, Peterson ended that year point-less, with seventh on his debut in Monaco (points then only being awarded for finishers in the top six positions) being his best result in the March 701.
Vic Elford(GBR) Antique Automobiles McLaren M7A, finished 10th Dutch GP, Zandvoort, 21 June 1969
Photo by: Motorsport Images/David Phipps
The team’s final race was the 1970 United States GP, where Peterson finished 11th, as Crabbe turned down the offer to run a privateer Ferrari 312 in 1971 and opted to call it quits.
1971 British Grand Prix
1973 United States Grand Prix
Clarke-Mordaunt-Guthrie-Durlacher would have been a commentator’s nightmare as it entered the 1973 F1 season using a March 721G and later a March 731.
It was not a successful year for the British squad as it ended the season point-less, with Mike Beuttler’s seventh at the 1973 Spanish GP being its best result.
Technically, the team started in 1971 as Clarke-Mordaunt-Guthrie, which were the surnames of three London stockbrokers who funded Beuttler to go racing. Yet Jack Durlacher, Rob Walker’s former team partner, joined Ralph Clarke, David Mordaunt and Alistair Guthrie in adding his name to the list for 1973, which made it Clarke-Mordaunt-Guthrie-Durlacher.
Regardless, the team was uncompetitive in its three years on the F1 grid as it failed to score a point before dipping out for 1974 due to the 1973 oil crisis, which affected the team owners and meant investment was no longer viable.
1974 Argentine Grand Prix
1974 United States Grand Prix
Goldie Hexagon was a pure sponsorship name just like VCARB – or RB – is today, as it derived from car dealers John Goldie and Hexagon of Highgate.
The British team made its debut at the non-championship 1972 Victory Race, where eventual grand prix winner John Watson finished sixth for the team in a March 721.
Goldie Hexagon returned for the 1974 F1 season, where he drove a full championship campaign with Watson behind the wheel of a Brabham BT42 and later a BT44 in his sophomore year in the series, while Brazilian Carlos Pace also entered the French GP for the team but failed to qualify.
However, Goldie Hexagon was quite competitive in 1974 as Watson recorded three point finishes, with sixth in Monaco and later fourth at Austria’s Osterreichring and fifth in the season finale United States GP.
John Watson (GBR) Brabham BT 44 fifth finished in the final GP for the Hexagon-Goldie team.
Photo by: Motorsport Images/David Phipps
However, funds became tight at John Goldie and the team failed to secure enough investment for the 1975 season, meaning 1974 was Goldie Hexagon’s only year in F1.
1971 Italian Grand Prix
1986 Portuguese Grand Prix
Jolly Club’s origins date back to a Milan restaurant in 1957, where Mario Angiolini and his friends gathered to create a motorsport outfit that, little did they know, would go on to become one of the most successful privateer teams in the history of rallying.
The Italian squad, whose name ‘Jolly’ comes from the special playing ‘joker’ card that is able to do more than the others, entered the World Rally Championship for 1983. Jolly Club scored 24 top-three finishes, including a victory in Italy , over a 16-year period in rally’s top championship.
However, Jolly Club also had a brief stint in F1, where he made his debut at the 1971 Italian GP with Silvio Moser driving a Bellasi F170, but he retired on lap five due to a suspension failure.
Jolly Club returned to F1 for the 1977 Italian GP. Loris Kessel drove an Apollon Fly but failed to qualify. Finally, Jolly Club made another two appearances during the 1986 F1 season as Ivan Capelli entered both the Italian and Portuguese GPs but retired from each race in an AGS JH21C.
Life Racing Engines
1990 United States Grand Prix
1990 Spanish Grand Prix
Life was actually named in honor of team founder Ernesto Vita, as ‘Vita’ is Italian for ‘Life’.
Life was an F1 constructor from Modena that answered a disastrous 1990 season, when it failed to make the grid in all 14 attempted starts – possibly the worst campaign from a team in history.
The catalyst behind Life’s downfall was its W12 engine, designed by former Ferrari engineer Franco Rocchi, which produced just 480bhp compared to the 600-700bhp that its competitors boasted. The W12 had three banks of four DOHC cylinders, making it taller than a regular V-banked engine, and came at a time when Ferrari and Lamborghini ran V12s.
Gary Brabham, Life L190
Photo by: Sutton Images
Initially, the plan was to sell the W12 to a competitor in the 1989 season but there were no buyers, so Vita eventually gave up and decided to run it with his own team in 1990.
Not only did Life have the least-powerful engine, but its chassis was one of the heaviest on the grid at 530kg, with poor handling and reliability. In reality, Life produced a car no better than a Formula 3 machine.
On Life’s debut, Gary Brabham, son of Jack, suffered an electrical failure after just four lapses meaning he did not qualify for the 1990 United States GP, while he then failed to post a lap time in Brazil.
Brabham left Life after two rounds and Bruno Giacomelli was signed for the rest of the season, yet he fared no better.
Giacomelli failed to make the grid for a race after regularly being over 20 seconds off the pace in pre-qualifying – missing out by 28.3s in Italy for example. In Mexico, his W12 engine failed on the first out-lap.
Life then fitted a more conventional Judd V8 for the Portuguese GP, but the engine cover flew off on Giacomelli’s first lap, so he failed to set on time. Life’s final appearance came a week later in Spain, where Giacomelli was 20 seconds off the lead time in pre-qualifying, so the team then decided to skip the final two rounds of the 1990 season.