Formula One, abbreviated to F1, is the highest class of open-wheeled auto racing defined by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), motorsport's world governing body. The "formula" in the name alludes to a series of rules established by the FIA to which all participants and vehicles are required to conform. Each year, the F1 World Championship season is held, consisting of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, held usually on purpose-built circuits, and in a few cases on closed city streets. Constructors are awarded points based on the finishing position of each of their two drivers at each Grand Prix, and the constructor who accumulates the most points over each championship is crowned that year's World Constructors' Champion. As of the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, there have been 171 Formula One constructors from 24 different national racing licences who have raced at least one of the 1,046 FIA World Championship races since the first such event, the 1950 British Grand Prix.
Constructors are people or corporate entities which design key parts of Formula One cars that have competed or are intended to compete in the FIA World Championship. Since 1981, it has been a requirement that each competitor must have the exclusive rights to the use of certain key parts of their car - in 2018, these parts were the survival cell, the front impact structure, the roll structures and bodywork.
In Formula One racing the terms "constructor" and "entrant" have specific and differing meanings. An entrant is the person or corporate entity that registers a car and driver for a race, and is then responsible for preparing and maintaining that car during the race weekend. As a result of this preparation role and active involvement in the running of the race, the term "team" has become commonly applied to an entrant organisation. Statisticians do not always agree on how to count statistics related to these entities.
Under Article 6.3 of the FIA Sporting Regulations, "A constructor is the person (including any corporate or unincorporated body) which designs the Listed Parts set out in Appendix 6. The make of an engine or chassis is the name attributed to it by its constructor." These "listed parts" include the survival cell, the front impact structure, the roll structures and bodywork. However, if the chassis and engine are made by different entities, the constructor comprises both (e.g. McLaren-Mercedes, Lotus-Climax etc.), with the name of the chassis constructor being placed before that of the engine constructor. As both engine and chassis are included in the constructor name, chassis run with different engines (e.g. Williams-Ford, Williams-Honda in 1983) are counted as two separate constructors and score points separately.
Under article 6.2 of the FIA sporting regulations, "The title of Formula One World Champion Constructor will be awarded to the competitor which has scored the highest number of points". Up until the 1979 season, most seasons saw only the highest-scoring driver in each race for each constructor contributing points towards the World Constructors' Championship, but the current rules state that points from both cars entered by each constructor will count towards their championship total.
Since the 1981 season the FIA have required that Formula One entrants own the intellectual rights to the chassis that they enter, and so the distinction between the terms "entrant" and "constructor", and hence also "team", have become less pronounced, though the intellectual rights of engines may still be owned by a different entity.
Before this time, constructors were free to sell their chassis to as many other teams as they liked. Brabham and Lotus chassis were used extensively by other teams during the 1960s and 1970s and several quite competitive teams never built their own chassis. Rob Walker Racing Team was the most successful example, being responsible for the first victories in Formula One for both Cooper and Lotus. The concept of a "works" or "factory" team (i.e. the official team of the company producing the cars, as opposed to a customer team which buys them off the shelf) therefore applied to chassis in the same way as it does in rallying and sports car racing.
There have been some recent exceptions where a specialist company, not itself entered in the championship, has been commissioned to design and build a chassis for a team; Lola built cars for Larrousse and Scuderia Italia in the late 1980s and early 1990s, for example. Larousse had their points from the 1990 season erased after the FIA decided that they had falsely nominated themselves and not Lola as the chassis constructor. In 1978, the new Arrows team which had been established by former Shadow personnel was sued by Shadow on the grounds that the Arrows FA/1 car was a copy of Shadow's DN9 - a view upheld by the UK High Court, which placed a ban on Arrows racing the FA/1.
There have been more recent cases with Ligier (1995), Sauber (2004), Scuderia Toro Rosso (2006 & 2007) and Super Aguri (2007 & 2008) where teams have been accused of using a chassis produced by another constructor (respectively Benetton, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Honda). No action was taken against any of these teams, the sporting authorities being satisfied in each case that the team owned the intellectual property to the chassis they raced.
From the middle of the 1973 season until the end of the 2013 season, each team had permanent racing numbers from race to race throughout the season. Between 1974 and 1995 the numbers were based on the teams' finishing positions in the 1973 Constructors' Championship (with slight modifications, e.g. Ferrari´s traditional numbers were 11-12 until 1980 and 27-28 from 1981 onwards) and each team only changed numbers if they had the driver who had won the World Drivers' Championship in the previous season - the winning driver taking the number 1 and his teammate the number 2, and the team that had previously had those numbers switching to the newly-vacated ones. Between 1996 and 2013 the numbers were based on the teams' finishing positions in the Constructors' Championship from the previous season, with numbers 1-2 assigned to the defending champion and his teammate. During the period of 1974-1995 Tyrrell was the only team to keep the same numbers (3 and 4) every season. Since 2014, racing numbers have been assigned to drivers instead of teams.
The number of cars entered by one team into a single race was not strictly limited in the 1950s and early 1960s. Since the 1963 season teams were generally allowed to enter only two regular cars, with the third car reserved for an occasional driver. Entering more than three cars was exceptionally tolerated, most notably regarding the BRM team in the 1971 and 1972 seasons. However, many teams during this period entered only two cars, e.g. Ferrari have entered no more than two cars (with one exception at the 1976 Italian Grand Prix in connection with Lauda's comeback) every season since 1973. Since the 1985 season the FIA have required that teams enter no more than two cars for a race.[a]
Unlike drivers who are required to compete in the FIA Formula One World Championship under the nationality of their passport, the FIA's International Sporting Code states that teams competing in the FIA Formula One World Championship shall compete under the nationality of their parent National Automobile Club that issued their FIA racing licence. On the basis of this regulation, despite the fact that most current teams are based in the UK, this country is officially represented in Formula One only by teams holding a racing licence issued by the British National Sporting Authority. Teams take the nationality of their parent National Automobile Club that issued their licence for the period of validity of that licence and the change of the nationality is allowed. Several teams changed their nationality during their competition in Formula One, some of them even twice (e.g. Shadow in 1976 from American to British, Benetton in 1996 from British to Italian, Red Bull in 2007 from British to Austrian, Renault in 2011 from French to British and in 2016 back to French). Benetton is the only team to have achieved victories while racing under two different nationalities. Before the arrival of sponsorship liveries in 1968 team's nationality determined the colour of a car entered by the team; thus, Italian teams' cars were rosso corsa red, French were bleu de France blue, and British (with several exceptions, such as Rob Walker, Brabham and McLaren) were British racing green. Since the licence is given to a team and not to a constructor, privateer teams entering cars built by constructors from another country before the 1968 season painted cars in the national colour of their home country, e.g. the French Guy Ligier's privateer team entered cars painted in bleu de France blue which were built by the British constructor Cooper in 1966 and 1967 seasons.
Relating to the team's nationality because of teams' bases in Britain several mistakes occurred on official entry lists issued by or podium ceremonies organized by the FIA or race organisers, e.g. Wolf holding the Canadian nationality and Shadow (in 1973) and Penske holding the American nationality all identified as the British by official entry lists, or the British national anthem played on the podium in honour of the winning Jordan and Red Bull (in 2009) holding the Irish and Austrian nationality respectively.
Key: Races Entered = Number of individual races entered; Races Started = Number of individual races started; Drivers = Number of drivers; Total Entries = Total number of race entries; Wins = Number of races won; Points = Number of World Constructors' Championship points scored; Poles = Number of pole positions; FL = Number of fastest laps; Podiums = Number of podium finishes; WCC = World Constructors' Championships won; WDC = World Drivers' Championships won.
|Constructor||Engine||Licensed in||Based in||Seasons||Races Entered||Races Started||Drivers||Total Entries||Wins||Points||Poles||FL||Podiums||WCC||WDC||Antecedent teams|
|Alfa Romeo||Ferrari||Switzerland[b]|| Italy[c]
/ BMW Sauber
Toro Rosso (2006-2019)
|Aston Martin||Mercedes||United Kingdom||United Kingdom||1959-1960,
|17||16||5||33||0||48||0||0||1||0||0||, , ,|
|Red Bull||Honda||Austria[e]||United Kingdom||2005-present||315||314||11||627||70||5334.5||68||73||193||4||4|
Key: Races Entered = Number of individual races entered; Races Started = Number of individual races started; Drivers = Number of drivers; Total Entries = Total number of race entries; Wins = Number of races won; Points = Number of Constructors' Championship points scored; Poles = Number of pole positions; FL = Number of fastest laps; Podiums. = Number of podium finishes; WCC = Constructors' Championships won; WDC = Drivers' Championships won.
|Constructor||Licensed in||Seasons||Races Entered||Races Started||Drivers||Total Entries||Wins||Points||Poles||FL||Podiums||WCC||WDC|
|Alex von Falkenhausen Motorenbau||Germany||1952-1953[f]||4||4||6||9||0||n/a||0||0||0||n/a||0|
|Automobiles Gonfaronnaises Sportives||France||1986-1991||80||32||10||124||0||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|Aston Butterworth||United Kingdom||1952||4||1||2||4||0||n/a||0||0||0||n/a||0|
|Automobili Turismo e Sport||Italy||1963[i]||5||5||2||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|ATS (Auto Technisches Spezialzubehör)||Germany||1977-1984||107||89||15||146||0||7||0||0||0||0||0|
|British American Racing[j]||United Kingdom||1999-2005||118||116||7||236||0||227||2||0||15||0||0|
|Benetton[k]||United Kingdom / [l]||1986-2001||260||260||17||520||27||851.5||15||36||102||1||2|
|Brabham||United Kingdom||1962-1987, 1989-1992||403||394||39||995||35||843||39||42||124||2||4|
|Brawn GP||United Kingdom||2009||17||17||2||34||8||172||5||4||15||1||1|
|British Racing Motors||United Kingdom||1951, 1956-1977||208||197||71||559||17||385||11||15||61||1||1|
|British Racing Partnership||United Kingdom||1963-1964||13||13||2||19||0||11||0||0||0||0||0|
|Cooper Car Company||United Kingdom||1950, 1952-1969||129||129||111||528||16||301||11||14||58||2||2|
|Peter de Klerk[n]||South Africa||1963, 1965||2||2||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|De Tomaso||Italy||1961-1963, 1970||15||10||8||18||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Eagle (Anglo American Racers)||United States||1966-1969||26||26||7||35||1||17||0||2||2||0||0|
|Emeryson||United Kingdom||1956, 1961-1962||6||4||6||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Eisenacher Motorenwerk||East Germany||1953||1||1||1||1||0||n/a||0||0||0||n/a||0|
|Ecurie Nationale Belge||Belgium||1962||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|English Racing Automobiles||United Kingdom||1950-1952||7||7||7||12||0||n/a||0||0||0||n/a||0|
|Ferguson Research Ltd.||United Kingdom||1961||1||1||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Fittipaldi Automotive (Copersucar)||Brazil||1975-1982||120||103||8||156||0||44||0||0||3||0||0|
|Force India[o] (Sahara)||India||2008-2018||203||203||7||406||0||987||1||5||6||0||0|
|Frank Williams Racing Cars[p]||United Kingdom||1972-1976||61||56||25||112||0||6||0||0||0||0||0|
|Gilby Engineering||United Kingdom||1961-1963||6||3||2||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|HRT (Hispania Racing Team)||Spain||2010-2012||58||56||8||116||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|HWM (Hersham and Walton Motors)||United Kingdom||1951-1955||16||14||15||48||0||n/a||0||0||0||n/a||0|
|Lambo (Modena Team)||Italy||1991||16||6||2||32||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|LDS||South Africa||1962-1963, 1965, 1967-1968||5||5||3||8||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Leyton House[s]||United Kingdom||1990-1991||32||30||3||64||0||8||0||0||1||0||0|
|Lola[u]||United Kingdom||1962-1963, 1967-1968, 1974-1975, 1985-1991, 1993, 1997||152||146||27||280||0||45||1||0||3||0||0|
|Lotus (1958-1994)||United Kingdom||1958-1994||491||489||122||1332||79||1332||107||70||172||7||6|
|Lotus (2012-2015)||United Kingdom||2012-2015||77||77||5||154||2||706||0||5||25||0||0|
|March[v]||United Kingdom||1970-1977, 1981-1982, 1987-1989, 1992||208||197||54||579||3||172.5||5||7||21||0||0|
|Racing Point Force India[ab]||United Kingdom||2018||9||9||2||18||0||52||0||0||0||0||0|
|Racing Point||United Kingdom||2019-2020||38||38||3||76||1||268||1||0||4||0||0|
|Renault||France / [ac]||1977-1985,
|Sauber/BMW Sauber[ad]||Switzerland / [ae]||1993-2018||465||462||30||902||1||865||1||5||26||0||0|
|Shadow||United States / [af]||1973-1980||112||103||21||240||1||67.5||3||2||7||0||0|
|Theodore||Hong Kong||1978, 1981-1983||51||34||10||64||0||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|Virgin[al]||United Kingdom / ||2010-2011||38||38||3||76||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Wolf (Walter Wolf Racing)[am]||Canada||1977-1979||48||47||4||54||3||79||1||2||13||0||0|
|Constructor||Licensed in||Seasons||Races Entered||Races Started||Drivers||Total Entries||Wins||Points||Poles||FL||Podiums||WCC||WDC|
Note: Until 1965 every constructor was licensed in the country where it was really based. In 1965 Japanese constructor Honda moved their team from Tokyo to Amsterdam, Netherlands, followed in 1966 by American constructor Eagle which was based in Rye, East Sussex, UK. Since the early 2000s most constructors have been based in the United Kingdom, but licensed in another country.
Constructors whose only World Championship participation was in the Indianapolis 500 from 1950 to 1960. All were American-based and licensed.
The following are privateer teams which never built their own chassis, and thus were not "constructors":
|Privateer team||Number of wins||First win||Last win||Constructor(s)|
|Matra International/Tyrrell Racing||10||1968 Dutch Grand Prix||1970 Spanish Grand Prix||Matra* (9), March** (1)|
|Rob Walker Racing||9||1958 Argentine Grand Prix||1968 British Grand Prix||Cooper** (4), Lotus** (5)|
|FISA||1||1961 French Grand Prix***||1961 French Grand Prix||Ferrari|
* All constructor's wins
** First win for the constructor
*** Team's only championship race