Pak Chan profile picture Pak Chan 3 years ago 6
Formula 1
Editor's Pick

F1 History----Toleman Motorsports

You might haven’t heard about the name Toleman, but you might remember the sence which Ayrton Senna finished 2nd in the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, and yes, Ayrton Senna was driving a Toleman racing car. And here is a little story about how this team raise and how it end.

Ayrton Senna in the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix after scored his first podium in F1
Ayrton Senna in the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix after scored his first podium in F1

The company was found by Edward Toleman in 1926, until his death in 1966, the company have nothing to do with motorsports. After Edward’s death, Ted Toleman became the chairman of Toleman. In 1970s, Toleman started their involvement in Formula racing. At the same time, Rory Byrne, which the designer of Ferrari during 1996 to 2006 (Yes, the Schumacher year), worked in a team called Royale as a designer of Formula Ford cars. Toleman and Byrne were met when Toleman purchased a Formula Ford 2000 car from Royale which the car dominated the race that year. Toleman was interested in Byrne and offer him a job as a Formula 2 engineer and saw some success with a couple of winning in 1978 and 1979. By 1980, Toleman let Byrne to designed its European Formula 2 Championship car, as the result, Toleman win the champion that year with the Hart engine and Pirelli Tyre.

The start

Toleman TG280, the 1980 Championship winning car, driven by Brian Henton
Toleman TG280, the 1980 Championship winning car, driven by Brian Henton

After great succeed in Formula 2, Toleman though it is time for Formula 1. They debuted in the 1981 San Marino Grand Prix with the TG181 Hart made TURBO engine, and this is the point, because in the 1981 F1 season, Toleman is the only two team who ran a Turbo engine while the other one is Renault. Unfortunately, the car was slow, it was 7 second slower than the last car on the grid. In the end of 1981 season, Toleman only got through the qualified two time and finished only 1 race.

Debut

Toleman TG181, driven around Monte Carlo in 1981 by Brian Henton
Toleman TG181, driven around Monte Carlo in 1981 by Brian Henton

As the time went through, finally saw some good result in the 1983 Dutch Grand Prix when Derek Warick scored a 4th place finished which are both driver, and team first point. In European Grand Prix, the both Candy-sponsor Toleman car scored point with Warick 5th and Giacomelli 6th.

First point

Toleman TG183B, the car which help the team to achieved their first point in F1
Toleman TG183B, the car which help the team to achieved their first point in F1

Before the start of 1984 F1 season, Toleman was announce to break up with Pirelli for Michelin, even though during the test saw the Toleman was faster than the Brabham car with the same tyres. And the main reason for changing the tyre manufacturers was even Pirelli is fast, but reliability is still an issue. This proved Toleman was correct after Ayrton Senna famously scored a 2nd place finished in the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix

First podium

Qualified saw Prost on pole and Senna on 13th, at 31st lap the race was red flag due to heavy rain, as the result, Senna became the 2nd driver to crossed the finish line. In the following races, Senna scored another 2 podium with both 3rd place, one in British Grand Prix and one in Portuguese Grand Prix.

1984 Monaco Grand Prix

Toleman TG184, scored the only three podium for the team
Toleman TG184, scored the only three podium for the team

Before the end of 1984 F1 season, Toleman started their preparation of 1985 F1 season, they have a long time to design the car, the team was looking forward a good result in 1985 season with a good driver like Ayrton Senna, good tyre like Michelin and good design for the car, but then things were all go down hill. First the withdrawal of Michelin made Toleman had no tyre manufacturer while Pirelli and Goodyear won’t be the supplier. Second was the lost of sponsor when Ayrton Senna left Toleman for Lotus. But the develop of 1985 season car was still going, during the test day, they found some disuse Pirelli tyre from Brabham and surprisely set a better lap than many other team.

TG185

Toleman TG185, ran without sponsor during the test
Toleman TG185, ran without sponsor during the test

In May of 1985, some good news happened when Benetton became the sponsor of Toleman, but the agreement was Benetton could purchase the team for anytime, Toleman have no choice but agree with the deal. In the whole 1985 season, Toleman ran with the Benetton sponsor car, and scored their only pole position in German Grand Prix by Teo Fabi. As the result, even though the car was fast, but the reliability was a main problem, causing the team scored no point in the 1985 season.

The last

Toleman TG185, the last Toleman F1 car
Toleman TG185, the last Toleman F1 car

In the 1986 season, Benetton purchased the team, and the Toleman F1 team is no longer exist. As the result, Toleman took part in 70 Grand Prix, 2 fastest lap, 3 podium and 1 pole position, scored a total of 26 championship point and best result as 7th in the championship lead in 1984 season. As a backmarker team, it was an very impressive result. After the name Toleman, it became the Benetton (1986 to 2001), Renault (2002 to 2010), Lotus Renault GP (2011), Lotus-Renault (2012 to 2015), and now again the Renault (2016).

The end

Benetton B186, the first Benetton F1 car in history.
Benetton B186, the first Benetton F1 car in history.