The Worst Formula One Cars in History
Let's take a look through the history of Formula One to analyze the worst that this competitive motor sport has to offer. We're talking about the single-seater cars, that couldn't reach the level demanded by the sport.
After 68 seasons, there are many Formula One cars that have come and gone. Some of them are on the list of greats, even representing whole eras! These will forever remain memories for the fans.
But, today we’re not talking about the best single-seaters in Formula One. Today we’re going to do the opposite and list the worst Formula One cars in the history of the sport.
Hundreds of engineers put all of their knowledge into building competitive cars every year. The drivers of these racing cars also give all of their talents to the sport. But humans make mistakes and sometimes, the engineers’ designs don’t meet the expectations they set.
These are the worst Formula One cars in history
The first thing you’ll notice about this single-seater is that it has four rear wheels. March was one of the teams that took a risk in the middle of the 70s with this type of design.
The March 2-4-0 was based on the P34, which had four front wheels. March’s engineers thought that moving the four wheels to the back would improve its aerodynamics and its stability. Nothing turned out how they had hoped and the whole season was an undeniable disaster.
Their only solution to becoming competitive again was to return to the next season with the classic four-wheel design.
The Maki competed in the 1974 season. Or, rather, it tried to compete, because it never earned the classification it would need to race. It was driven by Tony Trimmer, Hiroshi Fushida, and Howden Ganley.
Aside from being one of the most notable disasters in Formula One, it might have also been a contender for the ugliest single-seater. We don’t know if it would actually win this prize, but it would surely be among the finalists.
But instead of just giving up, this single-seater evolved and returned to compete the following year. We can’t make up our minds as to whether this second attempt was equally as bad or actually worse. Suffice to say that it exploded during the Dutch Grand Prix, just after being classified for the race.
This is the most recent Formula One failure. Since McLaren and Honda announced their alliance in 2015, the expectations for their newly built single-seater were very high.
Not only that, but Fernando Alonso left Ferrari after a few years, where his work wasn’t bringing the results he had hoped for. He then joined this team where it seemed like the Alonso-McLaren-Honda partnership would become an unbeatable combination.
What actually came of it was a single-seater that was clearly less than expected, even from the preseason. The engine failures, loss of power and poor reliability, showcased all possible forms of mechanical problems.
As the season continued, the McLaren evolved. It was able to reach the finish line with other cars on the track overlapping it less and less.
Andrea Moda S921
This Formula One car was designed by Simtek for the Andrea Moda team. It competed in the 1992 season. The car was driven by Roberto Moreno, from Brazil, and the Englishman Perry McCarthy.
This single-seater was a true disaster on every level. Proof of this is that its best result was to roll into 19th place at the Monaco Grand Prix. As it lost all of its races, the team ended up choosing another option.
As if that weren’t enough, aside from its terrible results – it’s no surprise that it wasn’t even classified for racing – the problems didn’t end there. The owner of the team, Andrea Sassetti, was arrested over financial irregularities.
Despite the fact that we left it for last, this is probably the worst one of all! The Life L190 competed in the 1990 season and was driven by Braham and Giacomelli. Come to think of it, though, the word “compete” is probably an exaggeration in the case of this car because it never actually finished a race.
Its top speed was some 65 kilometers per hour with half of the horsepower than the other competitors. It never went around the track more than two times in a row without breaking down. Halfway through the season, Ernesto Vita, the head of the team, left the championship and took responsibility for the failure.
Looking at the results that these single-seaters reaped in their competitions, it’s obvious that they were far from the racing cars we would expect at this level. That’s why they deserve the unenviable title of being among the worst Formula One cars in the history of the sport.