The first Formula 1 world championship took place in 1950, but it wasn’t until 1958 that a constructors’ title was contested. Which have been the most successful F1 teams in that time?
Back then, the constructors’ championship was known as the International Cup for F1 Manufacturers, and it’s adopted a number of names in the years since.
The rules have evolved a great deal too: until 1980 only the best-placed car would contribute points to the constructors’ standings, with various rules about counting a team’s best results over the course of a season.
But which F1 teams have racked up the most constructors’ titles? And how many drivers’ titles have they amassed in the process?
1. Ferrari – 16 Constructors’ titles, 15 Driver titles
Constructors’ wins: 1961, 1964, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008
Drivers’ wins: 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1964, 1975, 1977, 1979, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007
Ferrari is by far the most successful F1 team in history, becoming the first to celebrate its 1,000th race at the Tuscan Grand Prix in 2020. It won its first constructors’ title in 1961 with Phil Hill, Richie Ginther and Wolfgang von Trips leading its line-up, although the German driver was killed at the penultimate race having led the drivers’ standings going into the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Controversially the race wasn’t stopped after the accident, allowing Hill to take the chequered flag and the title by a single point.
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Ferrari won again in 1964, fending off BRM as John Surtees secured his sole drivers’ title. It picked up four more constructors’ wins in the 1970s, most notably with Niki Lauda leading the team alongside Clay Regazzoni and, later, Carlos Reutemann. Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve took Ferrari to the title in 1979, with the pair finishing first and second in the drivers’ standings that year.
Two more constructors’ titles followed in 1982 and 1983, although the team missed out on the drivers’ championship on both occasions. 16 years would pass before Ferrari won the constructors’ championship once more, although their victory in 1999 kickstarted a decade of dominance in the series. The team rattled off six titles in a row under the guidance of Jean Todt and Ross Brawn, a run that included five consecutive drivers’ crowns for Michael Schumacher.
Since then Ferrari has had limited success, although it won two more constructors’ titles in 2007 and 2008. Kimi Raikkonen was crowned drivers’ champion in 2007, with Felipe Massa famously missing out on the last lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix a year later.
Despite being frequent front-runners through the 2010s Ferrari has been unable to break the domination of its rivals – firstly Red Bull at the start of the decade and then Mercedes for the remainder – with five runner-up finishes in that time. Ferrari’s fortunes dipped once more in 2020 as it celebrated surpassing 1000 grand prix starts.
2. Williams – 9 Constructors’ titles, 7 Driver titles
Constructors’ wins: 1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997
Drivers’ wins: 1980, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997
Williams only entered F1 as a fully-fledged constructor for the first time in 1978, but with owner Frank Williams at the helm and designer Patrick Head developing the car, the team claimed its first constructors’ and drivers’ titles in only its third full season. Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann formed the driver line-up that year, with a second title following in 1981. Ford powered Keke Rosberg to a drivers’ title with the team in 1982, but it wouldn’t win the constructors’ championship again until its 1986 and 1987 double with a Honda engine.
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An era of dominance followed in the 1990s, with Williams securing five constructors’ titles in the space of six seasons with an engine supplied by Renault. Uniquely, four different drivers won the drivers’ title with Williams in that spell: Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve. Williams’ win in 1994 came despite the death of Ayrton Senna in only his third race with the team at Imola; David Coulthard and Nigel Mansell filled the vacant seat for the rest of the season.
While chief rival Michael Schumacher moved to Ferrari, Williams returned to the front in 1996 and with a rejuvenated Damon Hill and rookie team-mate Jacques Villeneuve with Hill taking the drivers’ crown as the team dominated to the constructors’ title with the FW18.
The following year Williams remained the leading force to collect both titles but it was a turning point in the team’s fortunes, as Adrian Newey left for McLaren and Renault withdrew as its factory engine supplier.
Combined with a raft of rule changes, Williams slipped back during the turn of the century and, despite a mini rival thanks to the arrival of BMW power, the Grove-based squad never truly hit the same heights and has gradually slipped down the pecking order.
Its most recent run has seen it slump to the back of the grid to coincide with the end of the Williams family ownership and takeover by Dorilton Capital.
3. McLaren – 8 Constructors’ titles, 12 Driver titles
Constructors’ wins: 1974, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998
Drivers’ wins: 1974, 1976, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2008
McLaren was founded by New Zealander Bruce McLaren in 1963, with the team making its first F1 appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1966. The team’s founding driver secured its first championship victory at the Belgian Grand Prix two years later, although its first titles didn’t arrive until 1974. McLaren fielded three cars that year, although it was eventual world champion Emerson Fittipaldi who proved to be the most consistent behind the wheel of the team’s M23 chassis.
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McLaren fielded a line-up of Alain Prost and Niki Lauda in 1984, and the two drivers produced the closest-ever contest in the history of the drivers’ championship to date, with the Austrian prevailing by just half a point despite winning fewer races and suffering more retirements. The following year Prost comfortably secured his maiden title as McLaren wrapped up its second.
McLaren’s best spell in F1 came between 1988 and 1991, as the team won four consecutive constructors’ titles between 1988-91; the first time such a feat had been achieved in the series. The most memorable of those years came when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost established what is arguably F1’s most famous rivalry, with the team-mates each collecting a drivers’ title apiece in their two years together. Prost actually outscored Senna in 1988, although it was the Brazilian who was crowned champion on account of his 11 best results trumping Prost’s best 11.
McLaren has only won one constructors’ title in the 30 years since its stint at the top came to an end, although it has picked up three drivers’ titles in that time: two for Mika Hakkinen in 1997 and 1998, and one for Lewis Hamilton in 2008.
4. Mercedes – 7 Constructors’ titles, 9 Driver titles
Constructors’ wins: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Drivers’ wins: 1954, 1955, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
You’d be forgiven for not remembering a time when Mercedes wasn’t dominating F1, such has been its grip on the sport in recent seasons. However, it has relatively little F1 history to its name having only entered cars in 1954 and 1955 prior to its return in 2010. Juan Manuel Fangio won the drivers’ title in both of those years, although he competed for Maserati for two races prior to his Mercedes switch midway through the 1954 season. But with no constructors’ crowns awarded in that period, Mercedes would wait 60 years to notch up its first constructors’ championship.
Mercedes returned to grand prix racing in 2010 having agreed to buy the Brawn outfit that sensationally won both F1 world titles in the previous season. It tempted Michael Schumacher out of his four-year retirement, fielding an all-German driver line-up with Nico Rosberg signed from Williams. Schumacher was replaced by Lewis Hamilton in 2013, and the team’s unprecedented run began a year later as new rules ushered in the V6 turbo hybrid era.
As of the start of 2021, Mercedes’ seven consecutive constructors’ and drivers’ titles is a record, surpassing the six constructors’ and five drivers’ crowns that Ferrari won uninterrupted between 1999 and 2004. In that time Hamilton has become world champion six times, losing out only once to team-mate Rosberg. The German driver dramatically quit F1 just days after winning the title: he was replaced by Valtteri Bottas, who has contributed to Mercedes’ four constructors’ victories since.
Now the fourth-most successful F1 team in history, only once has Mercedes contested an F1 race without entering one of Fangio, Schumacher or Hamilton: the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, which Hamilton missed after contracting COVID-19.
5. Lotus – 7 Constructors’ titles, 6 Driver titles
Constructors’ wins: 1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1978
Drivers’ wins: 1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1978
Lotus is a name synonymous with F1, as is the innovative engineering of founder Colin Chapman. Lotus’s first entry came at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1958, and its first constructors’ title came along five years later. That year it won all but three of the 10 championship races with Jim Clark, propelling the Scot to the first of his two drivers’ crowns with the outfit.
Lotus triumphed again with Clark in 1965 and then largely thanks to the exploits of Graham Hill in 1968, who recorded three victories and three further podium finishes on his way to the drivers’ title. Success for Lotus continued into 1970, although its victory was marred by the tragic death of Jochen Rindt who died at the Italian Grand Prix having won five races for the team that season. Rindt’s lead in the drivers’ championship wasn’t overhauled in the four grands prix after his death, making him the only driver to date to be crowned champion posthumously.
Constructors’ wins in 1972 and 1973 led by Emerson Fittipaldi gave Lotus four wins in six years, but perhaps its most famous title victory came in 1978. Part-way through the season the team introduced the Lotus 79, which drastically improved the ground effect aerodynamics of the chassis that preceded it. Side skirts formed an aerodynamic seal around the base of the car, and Lotus proved almost unbeatable thereafter. Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson finished 1-2 in the championship, although the Swede was killed before the end of the season.
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6. Red Bull – 4 Constructors’ titles, 4 Driver titles
Constructors’ wins: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Drivers’ wins: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Red Bull entered F1 for the first time in 2005, having taken over the Milton Keynes operation left behind by Jaguar. Crucially it secured the services of star designer Adrian Newey – who’d played a key role in Williams’ success in the 1990s and that of McLaren in 1998 – in 2006, and the team hasn’t looked back since.
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Having narrowly fallen short in 2009, Red Bull got its first constructors’ win in 2010 with a driver pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. The duo ensured that Red Bull prevailed over McLaren in a closely fought contest, while the drivers’ championship went down to the wire. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso entered the last race as the championship leader, and although Vettel trailed Webber in the standings it was the German who claimed his first title after an intense strategy battle in Abu Dhabi.
Red Bull set the pace for the next three seasons, and while its advantage over the field was clear their drivers endured a tense relationship both on and off track. Things boiled over at the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2013, where Vettel ignored the now infamous ‘Multi 21’ radio message instructing him and Webber to hold position. Vettel duly overtook his team-mate, and Webber never enjoyed the top step of the podium again, exiting F1 at the end of that season.
Red Bull initially adapted as ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes in the first year of the V6 hybrid era but somewhat slipped back as relationships with engine supplier Renault became strained. A new partnership with Honda yielded success through Max Verstappen’s exploits, finishing as runners-up in the constructors’ for the first time since 2016, but the team remains a step behind Mercedes.
7. Cooper – 2 Constructors’ titles, 2 Driver titles
Constructors’ wins: 1959, 1960
Drivers’ wins: 1959, 1960
The Cooper works team was the first to win consecutive constructors’ titles, winning its only two crowns in 1959 and 1960. On both occasions it was Australian driver Jack Brabham who claimed the drivers’ championship, winning two grands prix in 1959 and five races in a row in 1960. Team-mate Bruce McLaren also collected a couple of victories in this period, as well as a handful of podium finishes.
The Cooper 51, which was powered by a Climax engine, was also raced by a handful of privateer teams in this period. Among those driving for the non-works outfits was Stirling Moss, who won two races in 1959 in the same machinery that took Brabham to the title.
Cooper was also the first team to win the world championship with a rear-engined car, having pioneered the layout in the late 1950s. Every world championship since then has been won by a car using the same configuration.
8. Brabham – 2 Constructors’ titles, 4 Driver titles
Constructors’ wins: 1966, 1967
Drivers’ wins: 1966, 1967, 1981, 1983
Brabham was set up by Jack Brabham in 1960; the year the Australian driver won his second F1 world championship title with Cooper. Brabham’s first race entry followed midway through the 1962 season, and four years later it claimed its first constructors’ title with an engine built by Australian firm Repco. It repeated the victory a year later, although it was New Zealander Denny Hulme who clinched the drivers’ championship in 1967, becoming the first of two drivers to date (the other being Niki Lauda in 1984) to win the title without securing a single pole position during the season. Meanwhile, the man who founded the company finished second in the standings.
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Brabham wouldn’t see glory in the constructors’ championship again, although it had a number of highlights in its quarter of a century in F1 afterwards. The team took Nelson Piquet to the first and second of his three world drivers’ championships in 1981 and 1983 respectively, and developed the ingenious BT46B ‘fan car’ in 1978. Designed by Gordon Murray, the machine won the Swedish Grand Prix at the hands of Niki Lauda before being banned.
9. Renault – 2 Constructors’ titles, 2 Driver titles
Constructors’ wins: 2005, 2006
Drivers’ wins: 2005, 2006
Renault engines have delivered a number of drivers’ and constructors’ titles over the years, doing so for Williams and Benetton in the 1990s and then for Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, while its own team had moderate success with multiple F1 grand prix wins plus the French team finished runner-up in the constructors’ standings in 1983.
However, it only boasts two titles of its own as a works team, winning the championship in 2005 and 2006. The first of those came at the end of the 3.0-litre V10 engine era, while the latter was achieved in the first season of a shift to 2.4-litre V8s.
On both occasions the driver line-up featured Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso, but it was the Spaniard who was by far the dominant force in the team. Alonso’s first F1 world championship came in 2005 after a season-long battle with McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen, while the second arrived after an enthralling scrap with Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher.
The race for the constructors’ title went down to the last round of the season both times, with Renault winning by a nine-point margin from McLaren in 2005 and by just five points from Ferrari 12 months later.
Renault withdrew as a works squad at the end of 2011 by selling its controlling stake in the F1 team, only to return five years later when it reclaimed control of the Enstone-based outfit. Success as been minimal since its comeback, with Daniel Ricciardo recording its first podium since its return at the 2020 Eifel GP.
10. Vanwall, BRM, Matra, Tyrrell, Benetton, Brawn – 1 Constructors’ title
Constructors’ wins: 1958, 1962, 1969, 1971, 1995, 2009
Drivers’ wins: 1962 (BRM), 1969 (Matra), 1971 & 1973 (Tyrrell), 1994 & 1995 (Benetton), 2009 (Brawn)
Half a dozen teams have won a single constructors’ championship. Vanwall was the first-ever winner in 1958, with an all-British driver line-up consisting of Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and Stuart Lewis-Evans. Although Vanwall beat Ferrari, the season is most famous for the sportsmanship Moss showed to Mike Hawthorn, his only rival in the drivers’ championship that year. Moss – who died in April 2020 at the age of 90 – insisted that the stewards shouldn’t disqualify Hawthorn for an infraction on the final lap. Officials eventually relented, meaning Hawthorn kept the six points he’d earned for finishing second and setting the fastest lap: he later won the championship by a single point.
BRM won its sole title in 1962, with a line-up consisting of Graham Hill and Richie Ginther. Matra pulled out of F1 in 1968 but continued its operation with Ken Tyrrell the following season: the Matra MS80 was the class of the field, comfortably handing Jackie Stewart his first drivers’ title.
Stewart won again in 1971, with Francois Cevert contributing to Tyrrell’s sole title. Since then, only two teams have registered a single constructors’ crown: Benetton ran a pairing of Michael Schumacher and Johnny Herbert on its way to the title in 1995, while Brawn won the only championship it contested in 2009. Ross Brawn bought the team from Honda after the Japanese company decided to leave F1 in the winter of 2008, doing an engine deal with Mercedes for the forthcoming season. The move was a masterstroke, as Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello capitalised on the car’s early pace advantage to win both championships with a race to spare.