|First Race||May 18th 1958 Monaco Grand Prix|
|Last Race||Nov 13th 1994 Australian Grand Prix|
|First Pole||May 29th 1960 Monaco Grand Prix|
|Last Pole||May 3rd 1987 San Marino Grand Prix|
|First Win||May 29th 1960 Monaco Grand Prix|
|Last Win||Jun 21st 1987 Detroit Grand Prix|
|First Podium||May 29th 1960 Monaco Grand Prix|
|Last Podium||Nov 13th 1988 Australian Grand Prix|
A pioneering name in the sixties and seventies of Formula One was Colin Chapman’s Lotus, the cars were at the pinnacle of the British Invasion. In total they have won seven constructors championships and have won 79 grand prix' and are one of the most successful teams in the sports history.
Each era in the sport has a lethal partnership, a combination of man and machine which is unparalleled anywhere else. Ferrari & Schumacher, McLaren & Senna, Fangio & Maserati and in the sixties it was Lotus & Jim Clark. Britain’s most famous racing driver won two titles for Colin Chapman and the Lotus team at the height of the swinging sixties. Lotus had overtaken Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Maserati to become the sports dominant force.
Sadly this couldn't be sustained and after the rise came the fall. The eighties and nineties were hard for the team and eventually they went out of business in 1994. They are, however, back, albeit under a different guise, the Lotus name still remains and it deserves to be cherished.
The Team Lotus first debuted in 1958. In 1960 Chapman was the first F1 car designer, who put the engine in the back of the car instead of the front which wasn't seen ever before.
Jim Clarke’s talent was so great that he was soon catapulted into the Lotus seat by his friend and mentor Colin Chapman. The decision worked wonders as Clarke won a record seven races in the 1963 season to comfortably claim the World Championship. The Scot narrowly lost out to John Surtees’ Ferrari in 1964, but returns with aplomb in 1965 to already earn Lotus their second title in three years.
Chapman’s cars were criticised for being too light, and built with just speed in mind. Their brittleness was on show when problems with Clarke’s car in the final race of 1964 cost him the chance to defend his title. The cars were, many believed, not safe enough and the list of drivers hurt or killed in them is a hard evidence.
Lotus struggled to acclimatise to rule changes in the wake of Clarke’s success and had to wait until 1968 for a return to good fortune. At the season’s opening race Clarke led home a Lotus 1-2 in what would be his last race win before his untimely death. James Clarke died in Germany during a F2 race. He was driving a car of a previous season with a wing modification designed by Colin Chapman. Nobody knows what happend, because he crashed on a high speed section in the woods.
The strong personality of Graham Hill helped the team survive Clarke’s death and the Englishman valiantly won the 68 title. Chapman’s supposedly ‘weak’ cars were becoming a talking point up and down the grid. Jochen Rindt, while in contention for the 1970 title, crashed fatally at Monza. With his points total too big for anyone to challenge he became the first and to this day only posthumous World Champion.
Young and flamboyant Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi lifted the title in 72 and Mario Andretti in 1978 when Lotus was the first to understand the ground effect of sidepods. They dominated the 1978 season and won 8 races that season. The Lotus 78 was the first car with features that cars of today are still based on.
After 1978 the good days of Lotus were beginning to fade as the sport reached a new era. The team did become the first constructor to reach 50 grand prix wins, beating Ferrari, who had been the sport for an extra seven years. Instead of employing the finest drivers on the grid, Lotus became a team who investing in the future and helped young drivers reach the top of the sport. Both of Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna past through the team in the eighties, while Mika Hakkinen spent a season there in the 1990’s.
Results were unspectacular with no wins but solid championship finishes. With debts spiralling out of control in the mid nineties, the team folded and went into liquidation. One of the sports great names was lost after their last season in 1994.
The Lotus F1 Team that was in F1 from (2011-2015) had it's roots from the former Toleman Motorsport team who made it's entry back in 1981 and has nothing to do with the original team it came out of the Renault team and went back to Renault in 2016.
It seems like Colin Chapman also could spot great talented drivers miles away. A lot of drivers who started their F1 career at Lotus became world champions later on.
The following drivers started at Lotus and won one or more drivers titles: Mario Andretti, Jim Clark, Graham HIll, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mika Hakkinen and John Surtees.
|Elio de Angelis||91||2||2||5||9||3||3984||0||119|
|Giacomo "Geki" Russo||2||0||0||0||0||0||100||0||0|
|Alberto Rodriguez Larreta||1||0||0||0||0||0||77||0||0|
|Syd van der Vyver||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|