Leyton House Racing was a constructor that participated in Formula One during the 1990 and 1991 seasons. The team was owned by the Japanese real estate company, Leyton House. The team folded at the end of the 1991 season following the arrest of the team founder Akira Akagi for a financial scandal involving a Japanese bank.
Leyton House was involved in various motorsport during the mid-1980s. Following the death of the team's driver Akira Hagiwara while testing Mercedes touring car at Sportsland Sugo, team founder Akira Akagi met the manager of Italian driver Ivan Capelli at an F3000 race at Imola. Capelli was eventually signed as Hagiwara's replacement for the 1986 Japanese Formula Two Championship, on the condition that Capelli keep a significant portion of the prize money to help his racing career in Europe. Akagi gave Capelli more prize money than originally agreed upon.
Akagi arranged a sponsorship deal for Capelli to race in the 1986 International Formula 3000 Championship with Genoa Racing in a March. Capelli won the championship by 2 points over fellow Italian Pierluigi Martini.
In 1987, Akagi offered Capelli a full-time drive for a Formula Two season in Japan. Capelli declined the offer, wanting to make the move to Formula One instead. Akagi reached a title sponsorship deal with March Engineering for the 1987 Formula One Season to build a car for Capelli. This marked March's return to Formula One, having pulled out of the sport at the end of 1982.
The March was not very competitive in 1987. The following season, the team signed Adrian Newey to design the car and contracted Maurício Gugelmin to race alongside Capelli. The 1988 car proved to be more competitive, becoming the first naturally-aspirated car to lead a Grand Prix since 1983. Capelli earned 2 podium finishes that season and the team accumulated 22 points for 6th in the World Constructors' Championship.
During the 1989 Formula One Season, March sold its Formula One team and F3000 rights to Akagi. The team continued to operate as March for that season. The car was renamed to the March CG891 to honour Capelli's manager Cesare Gariboldi, who was killed in an auto accident. Despite a podium finish for Gugelmin in the opening round of the season, the car proved to be unreliable.
Formula One World Championship
For the 1990 Formula One Season, the team was rebranded to Leyton House Racing and the number of staff expanded rapidly from 19 people in 1987 to 120 people. The team retained both drivers and Adrian Newey, who had been promoted to technical director.
The CG901 car resulted in a number of aerodynamic design flaws largely caused by erroneous data obtained from the team's wind tunnel. The car failed to qualify in many of the first races, with both cars qualifying for only two of the first six rounds. The design blunders ultimately led to Newey being fired from the team in the summer.
At the 1990 Brazilian Grand Prix, team manager Ian Phillips took a leave of absence after falling ill with meningitis. Control of the team was left to the team's accountant, Simon Keeble. After falling out with Keeble, Newey was dismissed from the team, accepting a previous offer from Williams. He was replaced by Gustav Brunner.
A B-spec chassis was released during the season to correct many of the errors with the original design. The new chassis proved to be a major improvement over the previous, with Capelli and Gugelmin running 1-2 for much of the 1990 French Grand Prix, albeit largely because of the team's pit strategy. Gugelmin retired with a mechanical failure, but Capelli finished runner up to Alain Prost, having been overtaken a few laps from the end.
By the end of the season, numerous staff members who had joined the team from March parted ways. Phillips, who returned to his role at the 1990 Hungarian Grand Prix, left the team at the end of the season to join Jordan.
For the 1991 Formula One Season, the team made the switch from Judd V8 engines to the new Ilmor V10 engine, with Leyton House Racing providing some funding to the engine builder. The design of the new Leyton House CG911 car was headed by Brunner and Chris Murphy.
The car was not as reliable as its predecessor, with Capelli failing to finish the first 9 rounds of the championship, due mostly to mechanical failures. Gugelmin struggled similarly, finishing only 2 of the first 9 rounds. The best result was a 6th place finish at the 1991 Hungarian Grand Prix for Capelli, which earned the team their only point of the season.
In September that year, Akagi was arrested in relation to a financial scandal involving the Fuji Bank, which included charges of fraud and money laundering. Management of the team was taken over by one of Akagi's associates, Ken Marrable. However, the team's money quickly began to dry up.
With two races remaining in the season, Capelli voluntarily stepped down from the team, having signed with Ferrari for 1992. He did so to make way for pay-driver Karl Wendlinger to bring the team some much-needed cash. Capelli remained with the team as an advisor, attending the remaining races at his own expense.
With the team sent into disarray, Gugelmin left the team at the end of the season, taking a seat at Jordan.
The team was sold to a consortium that included Marrable, Brunner as well as lawyer John Byfield and Dutch motorsport businessman Henny Vollenberg. The team was reverted to the March name, attempting to distance itself from the controversy surrounding Akagi and Leyton House.
The team retained Wendlinger and signed Paul Belmondo to drive the CG911B, although the team struggled to achieve results. Both Wendlinger and Belmondo left the team near the end of the season, leaving Emanuele Naspetti and Jan Lammers to finish the season.
At the end of the season, Lammers was signed for 1993 alongside Jean-Marc Gounon. However, attempts to sell the team to a Swiss investment group during the winter were unsuccessful and the team did not have enough money to continue operations.
After skipping the first round of 1993, the team was officially withdrawn from the Formula One entry list after the second round of the championship.
|Year||Entrant||Chassis||Engine||Tyre||Drivers||Rounds||WCC Pts||WCC Pos|
|1990||Leyton House Racing||CG901||Judd EV 2.5 V8||Maurício Gugelmin||All||7||7th|
|1991||Leyton House Racing||CG911||Ilmor 2175A 3.5 V10||Maurício Gugelmin||All||1||12th|
|Distance Raced||9905 km (6155 mi)|
|Distance Led||172 km (107 mi)|
Complete Formula One Results
|Complete Formula One Results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||DNS||Did not start|
|18th†||Classified finish (retired with >90% race distance)||NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)|
|4thP||Qualified for pole position||[+] More Symbols|
- Arron, Simon (December 2020). "(Virtual) Lunch with... Ivan Capelli". Motorsport Magazine. https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/december-2020/47/virtual-lunch-with-ivan-capelli. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
- Simmons, Marcus (June 2005). "The short, dazzling story of Leyton House in F1: Marching to civil war". Motorsport Magazine. https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/june-2005/82/marching-to-civil-war. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
- Taylor, Simon (November 2013). "Lunch with Ian Phillips". Motorsport Magazine. https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/november-2013/99/lunch-with-ian-phillips. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
- Clark, Joel (1 December 2015). "For A Time, Leyton House Was The Picture Perfect Privateer". Petrolicious. https://petrolicious.com/articles/for-a-time-leyton-house-was-the-picture-perfect-privateer. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
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