While many Formula 1 teams have benefitted from choosing a simple name and sticking to it, some teams — like the newly-rebranded Visa Cash App RB — choose to go a much different, wilder route.
Visa Cash App RB and Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber aren’t the only wild name in F1’s long history of constructors; in fact, with over 70 years and varying naming trends, it’s inevitable that the sport has been jam packed with the weird and wonderful.
We’ve put together a list of F1’s weirdest names in history — and where those names came from.
Goldie Hexagon Racing
Goldie Hexagon Racing is the only privateer constructor to make our list, and it took its name from London car dealers John Goldie and Hexagon of Highgate. The team only raced in F1 in 1974, fielding John Watson all season with Carlos Pace failing to qualify the one race he entered. Watson’s best finish was fourth in Austria.
While Phoenix Finance never actually entered a Formula 1 race, it does earn a place on the list thanks to the name that comes right from the British banking company that attempted to market itself via motorsport.
The team managed to purchase some of the defunct Prost Grand Prix’s remains with the hope of entering F1 in 2002 or 2003, but it never quite happened as the team never paid Bernie Ecclestone the required entry fee.
The infamous MasterCard Lola team lasted exactly one event before withdrawing from F1. Lola had been providing chassis to race teams for years but was ready to become an entrant itself; funds proved hard to come by until the MasterCard credit company signed on as primary sponsor.
When MasterCard Lola failed to qualify on debut at the 1997 Australian Grand Prix, it quickly withdrew from the sport.
Life Racing Engines
Life Racing Engines emerged from Modena, Italy to contest one ill-fated F1 season in 1990. Founder Ernesto Vita actually named the team after himself, as “vita” means “life” in Italian. Sadly, neither Gary Brabham nor Bruno Giacomelli could bring Life’s car to life; the team failed to pre-qualify for every single race it entered in 1990. It left the sport two races before the end of the year.
Osella (and sponsors)
While the Osella name isn’t a strange one, having come from team founder Enzo Osella, the team took on countless goofy names thanks to sponsors as it competed in F1 between 1980 and 1990. These names included Denim Osella, Denim S.A.I.M.A. Team Osella, Kelémata Osella, Landis & Gyr Osella, and Fondmetal Osella.
The Tec-Mec Formula 1 team competed in exactly one event, the 1959 United States Grand Prix at Sebring International Raceway. The team was founded by former Maserati designer Valerio Colotti, but it didn’t last long; after qualifying 17th on the grid – one slot ahead from last-placed driver Roger Ward, who had entered a midget racer designed for dirt-track racing – Tec-Mec driver Fritz d’Orey lasted a mere six laps before retiring his car.
No, this team wasn’t founded by modern McLaren leader Zak Brown. Instead, the Zakspeed team was the brainchild of German racer Erich Zakowski.
The team was ready to hit the Formula 1 circuit in 1985 and competed through to 1989, fielding drivers like Jonathan Palmer, Martin Brundle, and Aguri Suzuki — but to very little effect.
Brundle scored the team’s best-ever finish at the 1987 San Marino Grand Prix; with a fifth-place finish, he earned two points. In its last season, at least one Zakspeed car failed to pre-qualify in every single event. In the two that driver Bernd Schneider managed to start – Brazil and Japan – the car retired.
Aston Butterworth’s place on this list is perhaps generous, as it was a Formula 2 team; however, because F1 failed to find sufficient entrants for the 1952 season, F2 constructors were welcome to enter.
One such team was Aston Butterworth, a partnership between two British men named Bill Aston and Archie Butterworth. In the four events Aston Butterworth entered, it retired, failed to qualify, or did not start all of them.
But you will never take that incredible team name away from them.