Over 100 teams have built cars to race in the Formula 1 World Championship since its inception in 1950. But In those intervening 70 years just 15 have won the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship. We’ve collated the most successful below, with our criteria being simply that they’ve won more than one title. That leaves us with nine teams boasting 56 titles between them. But who tops the pile?
The nine most successful F1 teams of all time
1. Ferrari – 16 titles
Title years: 1961, 1964, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008
Perhaps it isn’t in any way surprising that Ferrari tops this list. It has started more Grands Prix than any other constructor – by more than 100. It also started racing in Formula 1 eight years before any other team on this list, and 16 years before any other team still competing with them. It’s also won more races than any other, had more 1-2 finishes, more podiums, more pole positions, more fastest laps and won more points than any other team in Formula 1 history. It took Ferrari four seasons to win its first constructors title after the crown was invented in 1958. That first title was secured in 1961 by the American-German duo of Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips, securing the title, and with it a Drivers’ crown for Hill, without racing at the final race in the US (after von Trips tragically lost his life at the penultimate round in Italy). Since then Ferrari’s championship victories have come in sprees. It clinched crowns through the ‘70s with the likes of Niki Lauda, Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve, then a couple more in the early-‘80s with Villeneuve (without clinching a drivers’ crown this time). But it would then be nearly two decades before Ferrari held aloft the trophy again. It took the force of nature that was the Ross Brawn-Jean Todt-Michael Schumacher trio to restore Ferrari to glory. At which point they went ahead and won almost everything in sight, winning seven titles in the 2010s. Since then it’s been another dry spell for the Prancing Horse, with the new forces of Mercedes and Red Bull coming to control the ‘10s.
2. Williams – 9 titles
Title years: 1980, 1981, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997
It is Williams entry to this list that might be the most amazing streak of all. The team from Grove in Oxfordshire only entered its first race as a constructor in 1977, had won its first title by 1980 and won eight more over the next seventeen years. The period of dominance also saw titles for Alan Jones, Nelson Piquet, Keke Rosberg, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve. Behind the scenes Williams has also been filled with famous names. The pen of Patrick Head helped to spawn most of the early winners, and he was followed by Adrian Newey, a man whose name has become synonymous with building incredibly rapid racing cars. But after Newey left, and Villeneuve helped win the ’97 crown, Williams checked out. It is still racing today but, aside from a period of competitiveness with BMW in the early-‘00s, Williams has never been a true contender since. But Frank Williams’s incredibly-British team continues to be a fan favourite no matter what. It’s perhaps because of the Williams dominance coinciding with the rise of really televised Formula 1 around the globe, or just because of the fiercely independent nature of the team that Williams continues to grab the attention despite being stuck right at the very back of the field.
3. McLaren – 8 titles
Title years: 1974, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998
Here you will find perhaps the biggest disparity between winning constructors titles, and winning drivers titles. McLaren actually sit second on the all-time list of drivers’ titles, with 12, only three shy of Ferrari’s total of 15. But the ethos of McLaren appears to have always been geared toward that top-line individual championship glory. While it has won the drivers’ title while missing out on constructors glory four times, McLaren has never won the constructors title without the help of a drivers’ champion, unlike Ferrari, for whom that become a regular feat in the 1970s and 1980s. McLaren’s dominance really came through the late-1980s and early-1990s. In that period, with Gordon Murray involved and Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna leading the charge, McLaren won six titles in eight years, including four on the trot. They resumed their place at the front of the field in 1998, clinching the title as well as the drivers’ crown for Mika Häkkinen. But since then McLaren hasn’t won a constructors crown, and has in fact won only one since 1991. In that time McLaren has won the 2008 drivers’ title with Lewis Hamilton and a second title for Mika Hakkinen in 1999, but for both of those it was beaten to teams’ victory by Ferrari. Fallow years have followed recently, but with a young pairing of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris perhaps things are looking up again?
4. Lotus – 7 titles
Title years: 1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1978
Like Williams and McLaren Lotus won all its constructors crowns in a quick blitz and then faded. The genius of Colin Chapman helped Lotus become the team to beat in the 1960s and early-1970s, much to the chagrin of Enzo Ferrari. Powered by Ford and Cosworth’s mighty DFV the lightweight Lotus brand would become the masters of the aerodynamic arts with the mighty Lotus 72, before transforming Formula 1 with the invention of ground effect. From then Lotus continued to innovate and introduce some incredible names to Formula 1, but never managed to climb to the top of the tree. Its last title for both drivers and constructors came in 1978 with Mario Andretti, and then other than some wins that was that for Lotus. Sure it would launch names like Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna onto the F1 map, but there would be no more titles. Lotus folded in the early 1990s. Two more teams have taken the Lotus name since, with one even receiving some backing from the car firm, which still remains a going concern, but neither was really worthy of the name.
5. Mercedes – 6 titles
Title years: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
There is a legitimate argument to be made that both Brawn and Tyrrell’s single constructor crowns could be included into this legacy. But officially the Mercedes team has just the six F1 titles to its name. There are two reasons for this, firstly Merc’s first dominant period in F1 came before the invention of the world title. In the 1950s the great Juan Manuel Fangio won two titles driving Mercs, but there was no constructors crown to win then. Secondly after the 1955 Le Mans disaster Mercedes decided to quit motorsport, and the name wouldn’t return to F1 as a constructor until 2010. When they did come back though, having purchased the Brawn team that used to be Honda, that used to be BAR, that used to be Tyrrell, they did it hard. A few fallow years at the start were merely marking time while the ruleset changed and hybridisation arrived. When it did, there was no stopping them. Since the debut of the V6-hybrid engines in 2014 Mercedes has only failed to win 32 races... out of 121. It has clinched the constructors title every season, and Lewis Hamilton has won five of the available drivers’ crowns – with the other going to team-mate Nico Rosberg. Whether that will become a seventh consecutive crown when the 2020 season finally gets going feels like an almost forgone conclusion.
6. Red Bull – 4 titles
Title years: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Red Bull is another team that can trace its ancestry back through a few other teams, but in this case not quite to the level that Merc can (with Tyrrell having history way back into the early days of F1). Red Bull arrived into Formula 1 in 2005, buying the Jaguar team from a desperate-to-sell Ford (Jaguar had previously been the heavily Ford-backed Stewart). When Red Bull arrived it meant business, and hired the aforementioned Newey in 2005. He produced a series of striking, but ultimately uninspiring, cars until, as with so many changes in teams’ fortunes, came a major rules reset. In 2009 the absolute glut of aerodynamic tech that had begun to festoon the cars was largely dismissed, leaving little wiggle room for the designers. The conditions were perfect for a team with a genius like Newey at the helm, a man who could find the sort of marginal gains that the newly restrictive rules meant you had to look for. Teamed up with a young and fired-up Sebastian Vettel it won four titles on the bounce, setting the kinds of records we thought we’d never see again (then Mercedes stepped up). Indeed in 2011 the two Red Bull cars started on pole in 18 of 19 races – they would win only 12 of those races.
7. Cooper – 2 titles
Title years: 1959, 1960
Many of these teams have won a series of titles by taking a change to Formula 1’s rulebook and finding the sweet spot. Cooper on the other hand just built something no-one had seen before. In 1959 no world champion drivers were on the grid (following the death of Mike Hawthorn and the retirement of Juan Manuel Fangio. Vanwall, which won the first F1 constructors title in 1958, also withdrew, leaving Ferrari as the only remaining race-winning team on the grid. But there were still some big names lining up. Ferrari were joined by Porsche, Lotus, Maserati and Aston Martin. But they were all beaten by a small team from Surbiton, which brought along a complete revolution in the way Formula 1 cars were built. Cooper had effectively reversed the F1 car, sticking the engine behind the driver rather than the other way round. With its revolutionary new cars Cooper won five races, driven by Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and Bruce McLaren. Brabham would also win the drivers’ crown. The following year both Brabham and Cooper would do it again. Cooper won seven of the ten F1 races that season. At the Indy 500 Cooper turned up with a car that was widely mocked on arrival, but started the same rear-engined revolution as it had in F1. Founder Charles Cooper died in 1964 and son John Cooper sold the company in 1965. The company would win one race in 1966 with John Surtees and another in 1967 with Pedro Rodriguez, before bowing out after a single race in 1969.
8. Brabham – 2 titles
Title years: 1966, 1967
We’ve met ‘Black’ Jack Brabham with Cooper, winning two titles in those magic little rear-engined machines. Well, when he’d done with that he went off and founded his own team. With that team he went on to win another drivers’ title (his third) in 1966, with his team also taking a debut constructors crown. The following season he was joined by Denny Hulme at the wheel of the Repco-engined Brabhams. Hulme promptly won his first, and only F1 title and Brabham won their second constructors crown. It would not win another. Following a few years in the wilderness Brabham would go on to win two more drivers’ titles in the 1980s, after future F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had bought the team and brought in design guru Gordon Murray and Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet. But it failed to add the constructors title both times. Ecclestone eventually lost interest in the team and sold it on, after which Brabham dropped sharply to the back of the grid. It’s only real notable achievement after 1985 being launching the F1 Career of Damon Hill.
9. Renault – 2 titles
Title years: 2005, 2006
Another team for which you could potentially claim more titles, the current Renault team is the former Lotus, which is the former Renault, Bennetton and Toleman teams. Renault has had several cracks at F1, first back in the 1970s and ‘80s, then again in this title winning period in the 2000s, before returning (buying back the same team) for its current foray into Formula 1. So far only one of those forays has born championship fruit. With the mix of Fernando Alonso’s driving skill, Pat Symonds design skill and the force of nature that is Flavio Briatore at the helm the 2005 and 2006 titles were clinched, breaking the Schumacher/Ferrari hold on Formula 1 – and becoming the first team to win the title with a car not designed by Adrian Newey or Rory Byrne since 1991. Since then things haven’t been so kind to the part-government owned Renault brand in F1. It supplied engines to Red Bull for its run of four titles in the early 2010s, but has never managed to find the same success again with its own built cars.
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.
Join our motorsport community
Get closer to motorsport at Goodwood! Join the GRRC Fellowship to be first in the queue for event tickets, to attend the GRRC-only Members' Meeting and to enjoy year-round, exclusive benefits.
Sign up for Motorsport news
Stay in the know with our newsletters that contain all the latest news, stories and event information.