|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2014)|
|Full name||Ensign Racing Team|
|Base||Burntwood, United Kingdom|
|Noted drivers|| Clay Regazzoni
Rikky von Opel
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Debut||1973 French Grand Prix|
|0 (best finish: 10th, 1977)|
|Race victories||0 (best finish: 4th, 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix)|
|Pole positions||0 (best grid position: 3rd, 1976 Swedish Grand Prix)|
|Final race||1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix|
Ensign was a Formula One constructor from Britain. They participated in 133 grands prix, entering a total of 155 cars. Ensign scored 19 championship points and no podium finishes. The best result was a 4th place at the 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix by Marc Surer, who also took fastest lap of the race.
Ensign team was founded by Morris Nunn who also carried out design duties during the first two seasons of the team's existence. Nunn would later go on to be a prominent chief engineer in the American-based Champ Car series, winning championships with drivers Alex Zanardi and Juan Pablo Montoya in the late 1990s.
In 1973 Ensign was promoted to Formula One financed by Rikky von Opel. Their first season was not successful with von Opel only finishing three races. The team's best result that season was 13th at the British Grand Prix. Ensign kept Rikky von Opel for 1974, but he left after the first race of the season to retire from racing and later moving to the Brabham team. Vern Schuppan replaced von Opel. Schuppan only finished at the Belgian Grand Prix and later that season he was replaced by Mike Wilds. Wilds only qualified in America; he finished the race but was not classified.
For 1975 Ensign was sponsored by HB Bewaking (a Dutch company) leading them to sign Dutch drivers. Roelof Wunderink and Gijs van Lennep. Wunderink did not have much of success qualifying for three races and finishing one. Gijs van Lennep qualified for all his races and took sixth place in Germany, securing the first points for Ensign in Formula One. Chris Amon also raced for the team in Austria and Italy finishing 12th both times. In 1976 Chris Amon stayed with Ensign having great qualifying results. He qualifying third in Sweden and sixth in Britain but only took points in Spain where he finished in fifth place. Patrick Nève replaced Amon in France and Hans Binder replaced Amon in Austria. Jacky Ickx would race the rest of the season for Ensign.
In 1977 Clay Regazzoni raced for Ensign, scoring five points with best finishes of fifth in Italy and America. In 1978 the team entered cars for Danny Ongais and Lamberto Leoni, but Ongais left after two races and Leoni after four races. Jacky Ickx would race the next four races. Derek Daly would race the rest of the season scoring a point in Canada. Also in 1978 Nelson Piquet made his debut in Formula 1 at the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring driving the Ensign. In 1979 Daly stayed with Ensign but he left after the Monaco Grand Prix and was replaced by Patrick Gaillard. Gaillard only qualified at two out of five races and was replaced by Marc Surer for the final three races of the season.
In 1980 Clay Regazzoni again joined Ensign but at Long Beach Regazzoni's brake pedal broke causing him to go straight on at the Queen's Hairpin crashing in the parked car of Ricardo Zunino leaving him paralyzed. Tiff Needell raced in Belgium, but failed to qualify for the Monaco Grand Prix. Jan Lammers raced the rest of the season.
Marc Surer raced for Ensign in 1981 and finished in a sensational fourth place in Brazil where he also took fastest lap of the race. Surer also finished sixth in Monaco. Eliseo Salazar replaced Surer from Spain onwards. Salazar finished sixth in the Netherlands. In 1982 Roberto Guerrero raced for Ensign. He only finished in two races. After the 1982 season, Ensign was merged into the Theodore team, which it had previous ties to via financier Teddy Yip and took that team's name. During many seasons, the connection between Ensign and Theodore was so great that in some years they used almost the same car, much as Red Bull Racing has a second but separate team, Toro Rosso, in more recent times.
Ensign driver Roberto Guerrero continued on with the newly merged team for 1983, as did the team's main car designer. The Theodore F1 team did not last the 1983 season, though, and shut down late in the year.
Complete World Championship Formula One results
(key) (results in italics indicate fastest lap)
Results of other Ensign cars
(key) (Results in bold indicate pole position)
|1977||Theodore Racing Hong Kong||Ensign N177||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8||G||ARG||BRA||RSA||USW||ESP||MON||BEL||SWE||FRA||GBR||GER||AUT||NED||ITA||USA||CAN||JPN|
|1978||Mario Deliotti Racing||Ensign N175||Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8||G||ARG||BRA||RSA||USW||MON||BEL||ESP||SWE||FRA||GBR||GER||AUT||NED||ITA||USA||CAN|
|Sachs Racing||Ensign N177||Harald Ertl||11||Ret||DNPQ||DNPQ|