Ligier F1 Team Logo




  • Équipe Ligier Official Name
  • Magny-Cours, France Base
  • 1976 F1 Debut
  • Guy Ligier Team Boss
  • n/a Technical Chief
  • 0 World Championships

The Ligier F1 team, known for its distinct French identity, was active in Formula One from 1976 to 1996. Founded by Guy Ligier, a former racing driver and rugby player, the team quickly established itself with competitive performances, including a memorable victory with Jacques Laffite in 1977. Ligier’s cars, particularly the JS11 and its successors, made the team one of the top constructors in the early 1980s. However, the team’s competitiveness began to wane around 1982, despite substantial sponsorship and political support, including from François Mitterrand, the President of France from 1981 to 1995.

Notable Team Members and Drivers

Guy Ligier: Founder of the team, instrumental in the team’s direction and ethos.

Jacques Laffite: One of the most successful Ligier drivers, winning several Grand Prix for the team in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Didier Pironi and Patrick Depailler: Both contributed to Ligier’s early successes.

Olivier Panis: Last driver to win a race for Ligier at the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.

After acquiring assets from the Matra F1 team, Ligier made its Formula 1 debut in 1976, equipped with a Matra V12 engine. The following season, the team won their first race at the 1977 Swedish Grand Prix with driver Jacques Laffite behind the wheel. This win is widely regarded as the first complete French success in Formula 1, becoming the first time a French-licensed team and a French engine secured a win.

In 1979, after ending their partnership with Matra, Ligier introduced the Cosworth-powered Ligier JS11, a car featuring innovative aerodynamics. Jacques Laffite drove the JS11 to victories in the first two races of the season. However, as the season progressed, Ligier faced stiffer competition, particularly from Williams and Ferrari, which had introduced their own aerodynamic enhancements. This increased competition made it challenging for Ligier to maintain its early success throughout the season.

The Ligier JS11 and its subsequent versions propelled Ligier to the front of the grid in the early 1980s. The team enjoyed significant support from Talbot (rebranded as Talbot Ligier during the 1981 and 1982 seasons) and several major French corporations. Despite this strong backing, Ligier’s competitive edge faded around 1982. During this period, the team experimented with a Matra V6 turbocharged engine, although it never reached a race.

The mid-1980s saw the team benefit from a free Renault turbo engine deal, enhancing its competitiveness. However, Renault’s departure in 1986 left Ligier without an engine supplier, leading to a series of customer engine deals with Megatron, Judd, and Cosworth and work contracts with Lamborghini, Renault again, and Mugen-Honda.

Despite struggling between 1987 and 1991, including a year where they failed to score any points, Ligier saw an upswing in 1993 after Guy Ligier sold the team to Cyril de Rouvre. This period witnessed Ligier securing eight podium finishes over the next four years, thanks to the talents of aerodynamicist Frank Dernie and engineer Loïc Bigois. The team’s fortunes fluctuated with various ownership changes, including a sale to Flavio Briatore and Tom Walkinshaw in 1994 and a controversial switch to Mugen-Honda engines in 1995, which, despite reliability concerns, led to competitive performances, including a podium finish.

Équipe Ligier F1 Legacy

Ligier’s final Formula 1 win came in 1996, with Olivier Panis winning the Monaco Grand Prix. This victory was notable as it was the first all-French victory at Monaco since 1930 and ended a long winless streak for Ligier. The team’s last appearance in Formula 1 was at the 1996 Japanese Grand Prix, after which the team was sold to Alain Prost and became Prost Grand Prix in 1997.

Beyond Formula 1, Ligier has continued its involvement in motorsport, including returning to competition with the acquisition of Automobiles Martini in 2004 and the introduction of various sports cars and prototypes designed for gentleman drivers and sports prototype racing.

Équipe Ligier Formula One World Championship Records

First entry1976 Brazilian Grand Prix
Races entered322 entries (326 starts)
Constructors’ Championships0 (best finish: 2nd, 1980)
Drivers’ Championships0 (best finish: 4th, 1979-81, Jacques Laffite)
Race victories9
Pole positions9
Fastest laps10
Final entry1996 Japanese Grand Prix

Équipe Ligier Championship Results

1976Équipe LigierJS5Jacques Laffite206th
1977Équipe LigierJS7Jean-Pierre Jarier
Jacques Laffite
1978Équipe LigierJS7
Jacques Laffite196th
1979Équipe LigierJS11Jacky Ickx
Jacques Laffite
Patrick Depailler
1980Équipe LigierJS11/15Didier Pironi
Jacques Laffite
1981Talbot LigierJS17Jean-Pierre Jarier
Jean-Pierre Jabouille
Patrick Tambay
Jacques Laffite
1982Talbot LigierJS17
Eddie Cheever
Jacques Laffite
1983Équipe LigierJS21Jean-Pierre Jarier
Raul Boesel
1984Équipe LigierJS23Andrea de Cesaris
Francois Hesnault
1985Équipe LigierJS25Philippe Streiff
Andrea de Cesaris
Jacques Laffite
1986Équipe LigierJS27Philippe Alliot
Jacques Laffite
Rene Arnoux
1987Équipe LigierJS29B
Piercarlo Ghinzani
Rene Arnoux
1988Équipe LigierJS31Rene Arnoux
Stefan Johansson
1989Équipe LigierJS33Olivier Grouillard
Rene Arnoux
1990Équipe LigierJS33BNicola Larini
Philippe Alliot
1991Équipe LigierJS35
Erik Comas
Thierry Boutsen
1992Équipe LigierJS37Erik Comas
Thierry Boutsen
1993Équipe LigierJS39Mark Blundell
Martin Brundle
1994Équipe LigierJS39BFranck Lagorce
Johnny Herbert
Eric Bernard
Olivier Panis
1995Équipe LigierJS41Martin Brundle
Aguri Suzuki
Olivier Panis
1996Équipe LigierJS43Olivier Panis
Pedro Paulo Diniz

Previous/Next Team Names

Team Nationality Debut Season Status
Matra French 1967 Historic
Prost French 1997 Historic