Ted Toleman, ex-F1 team boss who handed Ayrton Senna his debut, dies

Former F1 team boss Ted Toleman has passed away aged 86 after a long illness.

Ayrton Senna made his F1 debut with Toleman
Ayrton Senna made his F1 debut with Toleman

Ted Toleman - the 1980s F1 team boss who handed Ayrton Senna his grand prix debut - has died at the age of 86 after a long illness.

After competing in junior categories including F2, the Toleman-run operation made the step up to F1 in the early 1980s, but initially struggled and did not qualify for their first nine races.

Toleman launched the careers of drivers including Senna, Stefan Johansson and Derek Warwick, while legendary F1 designer Rory Byrne and engineer Pat Symonds also started out at the team.

It was Senna who gave Toleman their best-ever result with a brilliant second-place finish at a rain-hit Monaco Grand Prix in his rookie season in 1984.

The Brazilian would go on to claim a further two podiums for Toleman before being signed by Lotus for the following year.

Although the team would not win under the Toleman guise, Teo Fabi claimed the British outfit's one and only pole position at the 1985 German Grand Prix.

Benetton bought the outfit from Toleman in 1986 and following further rebrands currently operates as the Alpine team of today.

F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali led tributes to Toleman on Thursday morning following the news of his passing.

“I am saddened to hear that Ted Toleman has passed away,” Domenicali said.

“He gave so much to Formula 1 and his achievements and legacy will always be part of our history. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

Toleman is survived by his wife Maitie and their son Michael. 

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