Birthday bell Toles for Team Enstone

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Toleman of Ayrton Senna

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This month marks 40 years since Team Enstone made its F1 debut, as Brian Henton laboured the ungainly Toleman TG181 to 23rd on the grid at the 1981 Italian GP.

The team now traced from that lineage has, of course, just won again, Esteban Ocon taking a warmly received debut victory in Budapest for the squad now branded ‘Alpine’.

In its original guise, Toleman’s best car was the TG184. Designed by Rory Byrne and driven to legend by Ayrton Senna, it became notorious after nearly carrying the Brazilian to a first victory at a red-flagged Monaco GP.

In this month’s F1 Retro choice, from November 1984, Gordon Cruickshank talks to Byrne while Dieter Serowy drives the very chassis (No2) Senna made his name with.

Its early efforts resembled a flying brick, but use of the MoD wind tunnel made the ’84 car a more potent prospect. “Brian did an incredible job on the budget he had,” says Byrne in the article. “No one else could have done it for the money; it was remarkable.”

Team Enstone might have had humble beginnings, but as Cruickshank concludes, this car was the start of something bigger. “It was like a Hollywood script: an underdog team, a chassis from an unproven designer, and the first flash of genius from a champion-to-be.”

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