Leyton House Racing
|Full name||Leyton House Formula One Racing Team|
|Base||Bicester, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom|
|Noted staff||Adrian Newey
|Noted drivers|| Maurício Gugelmin
|Formula One World Championship career|
|First entry||1990 United States Grand Prix|
|Race victories||0 (best finish: 2nd, 1990 French Grand Prix)|
|Pole positions||0 (best grid position: 7th, 1990 French Grand Prix and 1991 Portuguese Grand Prix)|
|Final entry||1991 Australian Grand Prix|
It was, in essence, a rebranding of the March team which had returned to F1 in 1987. Leyton House, a Japanese real estate company, had been the team's marquee sponsor since that year, and went on to buy the team in 1989. Drivers Ivan Capelli and Maurício Gugelmin, who had been with March since 1987 and 1988 respectively, continued with the team under its new guise.
For the 1990 season, the team used the CG901 chassis, designed by Adrian Newey and powered by a Judd V8 engine. At first, the team struggled: the first six races of the year saw both Capelli and Gugelmin fail to qualify in Brazil and Mexico, while Gugelmin also missed out in Monaco and Canada. Newey was fired as a result, but not before making changes to the car which would result in a remarkable turnaround at the French Grand Prix. There, Capelli and Gugelmin qualified seventh and tenth respectively, before running first and second for much of the race, largely due to the team's decision not to pit for tyres. Gugelmin eventually retired with an engine failure, but Capelli continued to lead from Alain Prost in the Ferrari until three laps from home, when a misfire forced him to let the Frenchman past; second place was still a popular result.
The improved showings continued over the next few races: Capelli ran third in Britain before his fuel pipe broke, then finished just outside the points in seventh in Germany. Gugelmin finished eighth in Hungary, then scored a point for sixth in Belgium, finishing just ahead of Capelli. Thereafter, however, the season petered out.
Off the track, managing director Ian Phillips contracted meningitis and left his post after the Brazilian Grand Prix. Team manager Harry Mandel also resigned, while Newey was replaced as technical director by Gustav Brunner. Several other engineers, brought over from March, also departed that year.
Capelli's six points from France gave him equal 10th in the Drivers' Championship, while Gugelmin's point from Belgium placed him 18th. The team originally finished 7th in the Constructors' Championship, but were later promoted to 6th when the Larrousse team were disqualified for declaring the Lola chassis they had used to be their own.:p.101
For 1991, Brunner and Chris Murphy designed the CG911 chassis, while the team switched from the Judd V8 engine to the new Ilmor V10. As in 1990, the team struggled early on in the season: Capelli retired from the first nine races despite running in the top six in San Marino and Canada; Gugelmin also struggled to finish during this period but did manage seventh in France. A steady drive in Hungary brought Capelli and the team a point for sixth; the Italian driver then ran in the top six again in Portugal before spinning off. Gugelmin, meanwhile, finished the last five races, recording two more seventh places in Portugal and Spain.
In September 1991, team owner Akira Akagi was implicated in a financial scandal involving the Fuji Bank and was arrested. Akagi's associate Ken Marrable took over the running of the team, but money was now short. With two races remaining, Capelli stepped down to make way for Karl Wendlinger. At the time, Wendlinger was competing in the World Sportscar Championship for Sauber-Mercedes; in this context, it is notable that the Ilmor V10 was used by Sauber when they made their F1 debut two years later (with Wendlinger one of the drivers) and that Ilmor became the F1 engine manufacturing arm of Mercedes-Benz.
The team was sold to a consortium including Marrable, Brunner and others. For the 1992 season it reverted to the March name, perhaps in an effort to distance itself from the controversy surrounding Akagi and the Leyton House company. Wendlinger stayed on, joined by Paul Belmondo; the Austrian driver finished fourth in Canada. However, money remained tight and Belmondo was eventually replaced by Emanuele Naspetti, while Wendlinger made way for Jan Lammers, returning to F1 after a ten-year absence.
Complete Formula One results
|1990||CG901||Judd EV 3.5 V8||G||USA||BRA||SMR||MON||CAN||MEX||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||POR||ESP||JPN||AUS||7||7th|
|1991||CG911||Ilmor 2175A 3.5 V10||G||USA||BRA||SMR||MON||CAN||MEX||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||POR||ESP||JPN||AUS||1||12th|