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Toleman Group Motorsport
British flag

 
Headquarters Whitney, Oxfordshire, England
Website  Official Site
Team Principle Ted Toleman GBR
Designers Mike Gascoyne GBR (2007-present)

 

Team Manager Alex Hawkridge GBR
Commercial Director Chris Witty GBR
Sporting Director Peter Gethin GBR
Chief Designer Rory Byrne GBR

Toleman Team History & Record

British businessman and speed freak Ted Toleman formed a successful F2 team in the late 1970's but had much grander plans.

After finishing 1-2 in the 1980 F2 Championship, drivers Brian Henton and Derek Warwick moved up with the rest of the team (and tyre supplier Pirelli) for the 1981 season and struggled just to qualify the ungainly, unreliable and underpowered TG181.  The all-alloy monoblock Hart engine required much more cooling than the other engines in use, requiring the designers to put oil and water coolers wherever they could - resulting in not the most aerodynamic outcome!  For 1982 the team made strides with the speed of the car, including an unforgettable display by Derek Warwick at the British GP.  The era of the refueling stop was about to begin and the team started the Briton  on half tanks and higher turbo boost - despite not having a refueling rig!   Warwick tore through the field from 16th on the grid and brought the home crowd (and most of the country) to its feet when he passed the Ferrari of Didier Pironi for second place on the main straight.  He held the position for several more laps before succumbing to the inevitable mechanical failure.

 

The TG183 was big improvement over the earlier car and the reliability began to come too, allowing Derek Warwick to pick up the teams first championship points with a fourth place in Holland.

Major changes took place before the 1984 season.  New sponsors and new drivers, one of which was the British F3 Champion - a young man by the name of Ayrton Senna.  It quickly became obvious to the team (and Senna) that the Pirelli tyres were no match for those of Michelin or Goodyear.  Since the team had angered Goodyear when it switched to Pirelli while running F2, the only option was Michelin.  The team made the switch following the San Marino GP despite owing Pirelli money for the tyres they had already used, however McLaren would not allow the team to get the latest specification rubber.  The change in perfomance was immediate and had it not been for some very patriotic intervention by the organizers at the Monaco GP, the young Brazilian would have given the team its first win. A star was born.

Things started to fall apart at the British GP when Johnny Cecotto crashed heavily in practice and broke both legs then Senna suffered a high speed rear wing failure the following race in Germany.  The Brazilian finished third in Britain and continued alone until after the Dutch GP.

Having tied up the championship Michelin announced it was pulling out of F1 leaving Toleman without a tyre contract for 1985 having spurned both Goodyear and Pirelli.  Worse still, at the Dutch GP Peter Warr of Lotus announced the signing of Senna to a three year contract.  The Brazilian had a buyout clause in his contract with Toleman but was infuriated that his it was made public before he had the chance to inform the team.  Team boss Alex Hawkridge reacted angrily and in a very petty move, brought in Stefan Johansson to replace Senna at the Italian GP and finished fourth, while Pierluigi Martini failed to qualify a second car.   With the help of Marco Piccinini of Ferrari (and clarification from Ayrton's lawyer) the dispute was settled and Senna and Johansson finished the season as team-mates. At the season ending Portugese GP, Senna took a fine third place and in a final act of respect to Hawkridge and Byrne stayed at Estoril following the race to test the latest specification tyres now made available to the team - and broke the lap record by 1.5 seconds!

Without tyres and the hottest driver in F1, Hawkridge was unable to hold on to the teams sponsors for 1985 and the season started without them.  It looked as though the team would be dissolved until an Italian clothing manufacturer (and then sponsor of the Alfa Romeo team) stepped in to buy the team and renamed the team Benetton Formula.

Year Chassis Engine Tyres # / Driver  Start Win Pole F Lap Pts Pos
1981 TG181 Hart 415T F4t PI 35 Henton
36 Warwick
2 0 0 0 0 -
1982 TG183
TG181C
Hart 415T F4t PI 35 Warwick
36 T.Fabi
11 0 0 1 0 -
1983 TG183B Hart 415T F4t PI 35 Warwick
36 Giacomelli
15 0 0 0 10 9th
1984 TG184
TG183B
Hart 415T F4t MI
PI
19 Senna / Johansson
20 Cecotto / Johansson / Martini
16 0 0 1 16 7th
1985 TG185 Hart 415T F4t PI 19 T.Fabi
20 Ghinzani (5 starts)
13 0 1 0 0 -
       

TOTAL

57 0 1 2 26  



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