Quote Originally Posted by zako85 View Post
This is a good observation. I recall that around 1992 and after Ligier cars had fairly strong or commendable results. In 1992 they improved over 1991 significantly, and in 1993-96 they had outright a whole bunch of strong podium finishes. The car was probably good, as well as the drivers. And don't forget the dominant Renault engine they could use until end of 1994. How could such a good team, and the last all-French team, disappear after that?
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was relatively easy for a talented bunch of people to run a competitive F1 team on a small budget. Remember how good Tyrrell were with Alesi? Jordan's fantastic debut year? Even Minardi managed the odd front row grid slot!

The Ligier cars of 1992-1996 were all good cars. So was the Prost of 1997. A very significant factor was the Renault engines that were world-beaters in the Williams at the time. Benetton's Flavio Briatore bought Ligier in 1994 so that Benetton could take over the engine contract. That left Ligier with Peugeot power, but they were still good for a few more years. In Brundle, Panis, and Trulli, they also had some very good journeyman drivers. I still have Panis's Monaco win on tape somewhere! Alesi wanted to join them mid-season in 1997 because they were so competitive, but I believe that Benetton wouldn't release him.

The real problem, I think, was the rising cost of competing in F1 from the late 1990s onwards. Under Prost's management, the team's competitivity slipped away. They went bust at the start of 2002, and were followed by Arrows half-way through the year. The rising costs also saw Jordan and Minardi both sold on by 2005.