Aston Martin are back in Formula One for the 2021 season with the famous British name returning to the sport as a competitor for the first time since 1960.
The Silverstone-based team have taken over the outfit formerly known as Racing Point that was owned by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who in January last year bought a 16.7 per cent stake in Aston Martin for £182million.
Stroll’s investment has led to him rebranding Racing Point, and this year they will go racing with a striking British racing green livery with flashes of pink to acknowledge their Racing Point roots.
Aston Martin test their new car in Bahrain ahead of the 2021 Formula One season
Sebastian Vettel (left) and Lance Stroll will drive for Aston Martin upon the team’s return to F1
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has joined the team following his Ferrari departure and he will be paired alongside Stroll’s son Lance, who has been driving for the team in its previous guise for the past two years as they look to build on last season’s fourth place in the constructors’ championship.
Aston Martin are not the only team with a rebrand heading into the new campaign though, with Renault also reverting to Alpine as they seek to get ahead of Aston Martin, having battled with Racing Point last season.
The Anglo-French team, whose base is in Enstone, welcome back two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso following the Spaniard’s two-year absence and he will team up alongside Frenchman Esteban Ocon.
Both outfits are heading into the unknown at the start of a new era, as Sportsmail looks back at other team changes, which range from proving incredibly successful to total nightmares.
After a winter rebrand, Alpine will compete in Formula One, having been known as Renault
The Anglo-French outfit will have two-time world champion Fernando Alonso onboard
Stewart to Jaguar (2000)
Having started as a brand new team in 1997, three-time British world champion Sir Jackie Stewart had helped build his eponymous outfit towards its first race win at the 1999 European Grand Prix in partnership with Ford, who supplied the engines.
But Ford wanted more control and it led to Stewart selling to the American car manufacture. They decided to rebrand the team Jaguar, which at the time were under Ford’s umbrella.
Shortly after Johnny Herbert (left) and Rubens Barrichello took a 1-3 finish at the 1999 European Grand Prix, Sir Jackie Stewart sold his team to Ford, who rebranded them as Jaguar
But despite unveiling a stylish green livery, the team failed miserably trying to succeed in F1
Hopes of seeing Jaguar become F1 powerhouses along with Ferrari became more farfetched over the next five seasons, as poor management and constant reshuffles took its toll on developing cars, which tended to feature technical problems from initial designs.
Eddie Irvine podiums at Monte Carlo in 2001 and Monza in 2002 were as good as it got and after finishes of ninth, eighth and three consecutive sevenths in the world championship, Ford pulled the plug on the project and sold to Red Bull.
Ligier to Prost (1997)
For much of their existence after starting in 1976, Ligier were France’s biggest team and were a respectable midfield outfit that were often capable of snatching a podium – or even a win in the hands of Oliver Panis at Monaco at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.
Many hoped that following the sale of the team to France’s best ever F1 driver and four-time world champion Alain Prost, they could make the step up and begin to start regularly challenging for wins.
Ligier’s last hurrah came at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix won by Olivier Panis (above)
Alain Prost (centre) took over the team in 1997 (pictured in 1998 with Jarno Trulli (left) and Panis) but results soon declined and the team went bankrupt in 2001
With help from the Ligier team’s designers from 1996, the 1997 Honda powered Prost impressed – taking a podium with Panis in Brazil before his heavy crash in Canada broke his legs and led to Prost losing his star driver for much of the remainder of the campaign. Still, 21 points and a respectable if slightly disappointing sixth in the championship followed.
However, more French links with a Peugeot engine came on board in 1998 and things turned ugly – even with talented drivers like Panis and Jarno Trulli. Ten points followed over the next two seasons – and then none at all in 2000 with Jean Alesi and Nick Heidfeld, which led to Prost turning to a customer supply of expensive Ferrari engines rebadged as Acer.
By now the team were on the ropes financially and following another poor season where they earned four points and went through five drivers, the team went bankrupt.
BAR to Honda (2006)
BAR were humiliated after starting out in 1999 and promising race wins only to not even score a point in their debut season. But by 2005 they had progressed to regular podium finishers and had a star driver in the form of Britain’s Jenson Button.
Honda, who already supplied the team with engines from 2000, bought them outright and turned it into a works outfit for 2006. They reaped the benefits instantly as Button earned them a first win at the Hungarian Grand Prix and he finished the season by outscoring everyone in the final six races.
BAR soon started producing positive results with Britain’s Jenson Button behind the wheel
Once Honda bought the team, Button secured their first win in 2006 at the Hungarian GP
However, Honda’s performances soon nosedived after the release of the 2007 car (above)
But Honda dropped the ball at management level and in changing technical staff built 2007 and 2008 cars that turned the team from hopeful championship contenders to near back-of-the-grid plodders despite the talents of Button and his team-mate Rubens Barrichello.
Ironically once they did design a winning car, they pulled out of F1 following a global financial crisis and left it to Ross Brawn who in eponymously renaming the team swept up both championships in 2009 with Button as drivers’ champion.
Jordan to Midland (2006)
Jordan were the rock n’ roll team at the start of the century, with eye-catching livery, fancy car launches and a strong team capable of race wins.
But as finances started to cripple the team over the next five years, team owner Eddie Jordan was forced to sell the now back-of-the field outfit to businessman Alex Shnaider in 2005, who would rename the team Midland in 2006.
Jordan were one of the most exciting teams on the grid at the start of the century, as team boss Eddie Jordan poses alongside driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who is holding a cake of the car
But by 2005 Jordan sold his team, who in 2006 ran as the forgettable Midland outfit
They quickly became one of the most boring teams on the grid, lacking the spark from Jordan’s previous years and now not even having the name to fall back on.
A boring grey, red and white livery brought no upturn in performance. The Midland name didn’t even last a season before they were brought by Spyker who at least made the car look more attractive with an orange livery makeover.
Jaguar to Red Bull (2005)
Following Jaguar’s miserable failure to do anything in five seasons other than design an attractive livery, Red Bull came in and showed Ford how taking over a team should be done.
They did copy Jaguar by brining in a highly respected experienced driver in David Coulthard from McLaren but they played an even smarter move by also bringing over car designer Adrian Newey from the Woking outfit.
David Coulthard helped kick off the Red Bull era after their purchase of Jaguar
After making slow gains the team eventually started dominating between 2010 and 2013
Vettel took four consecutive world championships for the team during this period
The team, although improved on Jaguar’s results, struggled to break out of the midfield for four seasons, before vast regulation and rules changes allowed Newey to design a race-winning car in the hands of Vettel and Mark Webber in 2009.
Brawn pipped them to both championships but double world titles followed with Vettel as drivers’ champion for the next four seasons.
Although Mercedes have knocked them off their perch since 2014, they remain one of the front-running teams and 16 years on are now preparing to evolve again by moving away from being reliant on engine deals by creating their own supply with help from outgoing partner Honda.
Benetton to Renault (2002)
Renault had actually taken over at Benetton for the 2001 campaign – albeit an utterly forgettable one for the team following a terrible season where they were fortunate to claim even seventh in the championship, having previously been a leading team where Michael Schumacher won his first two world championships in 1994 and 1995.
But once the Renault name was above the door at the Enstone factory, steady continued improvements followed. In 2002, Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button brought the team to fourth in the championship.
Benetton endured a miserable final season in 2001 following the take over from Renault
However just four years later Fernando Alonso had helped the team win both world titles
Renault though struggled to keep up their 2005 and 2006 form once Alonso departed
Button was controversially replaced by Fernando Alonso in 2003 and although the team remained fourth they took a first win with the Spaniard at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Trulli won at Monaco in 2004, but it was in 2005 and 2006 where the team hit their stride as Alonso, now partnered with Giancarlo Fisichella, helped the team to double world championship glory.
Alonso then left for McLaren and, despite returning for 2008 and 2009, the team never hit the same heights again as they dropped into the midfield before transforming into Lotus for 2012, with Renault having sold the team to Genii Capital Management prior to the 2010 season.
Minardi to Toro Rosso (2006)
Minardi had for years been struggling at the back of the grid but rather than being forgotten about they were the second-favourite team for many due to their underdog spirit and ability to punch above their weight despite far inferior financial resources.
While their sale by businessman Paul Stoddart brought an end to one of the sport’s much-loved outfits, it brought an upturn in results once Red Bull started investing into the Faenza-based outfit.
Minardi were the underdogs of the Formula One grid before they were sold to Red Bull in 2005
They morphed into Toro Rosso from 2006, with Vettel winning the team’s first race in 2008
Changing the team name to Toro Rosso and making it the sister development team of factory outfit Red Bull, it became a breeding ground to supply Red Bull’s talent pool with F1 experience and prepare them for a move to the main team if they impressed.
Sebastian Vettel was the first to benefit, even bizarrely winning for the team before Red Bull had done after a sensational drive at the rain-hit Italian Grand Prix in 2008.
Not many drivers have followed a similar success path but it has launched the careers of current Red Bull star Max Verstappen as well as Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. The team changed their name to AlphaTauri in 2020 but are still controlled by Red Bull.
Brawn to Mercedes (2010)
Brawn took the best of Honda’s leftovers for 2009 but despite claiming both titles there was no money to develop a car that relied on its astonishing early-season pace to eventually limp over the line.
So when Mercedes bought the team from Brawn for 2010 expectations were measured, despite the hot prospect of seeing the returning Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg as team-mates.
Jenson Button helped lead Brawn to double world championship success in 2009
Mercedes then purchased the team for the 2010 season and brought back Michael Schumacher from retirement to partner Nico Rosberg
Lewis Hamilton replaced Schumacher and has won every title bar 2013 and 2016 since
Mercedes struggled to make much progress at the upper end of the midfield though for three years, despite Rosberg winning in China in 2012. Lewis Hamilton replaced Schumacher for 2013 and once the turbo hybrid era kicked off in 2014 fortunes skyrocketed on an unprecedented scale.
From 2014 to the current day, the Silver Arrows have won both championships every year, with Hamilton claiming six drivers titles and Rosberg claiming the other in 2016. Heading into the 2021 season there still appears to be little sign of their domination ending.