AGS, short for Automobiles Gonfaronnaises Sportives, was a French Formula 1 team based out of Gonfaron (as the name suggests), a small town in the south of France. Approximately half way between Marseilles and Cannes and with a population of no more than 3,500, it perfectly fits the no mans land which was the back of the grid in the late 80s and early 90s.
In their 6 season stint in Formula one from 1986 to 1991, AGS managed to score two points, actually quite an achievement with 1st – 6th points structure, but failed to pre-qualify 48 times (counting both cars), not to mentioned many more failed attempts to qualify on a Saturday afternoon. There was hope initially, but various setbacks such as sponsor Bouygues Group pulling funding while a new facility was being built, creating a huge financial hole and causing owner Henri Julien to sell the team, as well as driver Philippe Streiff being paralysed in a testing crash in 1989, contributed to their eventual collapse one race before the end of the 1991 season.
Going into 1991, the team had retained Gabriele Tarquini, and had brought in one time championship hopeful Stefan Johansson. His tenure only lasted two races, neither of which he qualified for, before being replaced by Fabrizio Barbazza, whilst Olivier Grouillard also made an appearance in the team’s final event. The season began with this asymmetric white, blue and silver livery, before it changed along with new ownership, to what we see in the images above and below. Does it look familiar?
A striking resemblance to Fernando Alonso’s new 2018 helmet! Now it must be a coincidence – his helmet has always used these colours in one way or another, but the similarities are uncanny. Perhaps this is foreshadowing? With all things pointing to a future in Indycar to complete his triple crown, maybe he’ll follow AGS’ path in this being the last helmet livery he uses in F1. Amazing how similar the colours and design are, but can’t imagine he took inspiration from a perennial backmarker…
Moving on from ridiculous asumptions, the livery’s main colour is navy blue, filling almost the entire rear and side of the car, with sky blue in front of the cockpit and nose. The two sections are separated by a yellow and red ribbon, starting just behind the nose and wrapping over the airbox.
And that’s about all there is to it. Sponsorship is minimal, leaving plenty of empty space on the livery, and what logos do appear are small and don’t add much to the overall design. The design is a little off but not offensive, the colours work but only just, it is memorable but also an afterthought. A perfect summary of the team.