BAT Industries had long been involved in Formula One for many years, with several of its companies adorning the bodies of F1 cars. In 1997, the corporation was convinced by Craig Pollock to purchase a Formula One team. This team would be Tyrrell, and BAT and Pollock would use £30,000,000 (approximately $47 million U.S.) to acquire the team during the offseason of that year. The team officially was still Tyrrell in 1998 before it became BAR the following year.
Pollock was the team's principal and was able to lure World Champion Jacques Villeneuve away from Williams for the 1999 season with a lucrative contract. Pollock had managed him throughout his racing career so perhaps it was only natural that he signed on. Joined by F1 rookie Ricardo Zonta, Pollock bragged about the team's success in its maiden year. However, the team was an outright disaster and failed to score a point in the constructors championship, Minardi was even able to outscore them. Villeneuve started the year with 11 straight DNF's, and only had a best finish of 8th, while Zonta missed 3 races to injury and managed only a best of 8th himself. Adding insult to injury, figuratively speaking, Mika Salo filled in for Zonta while he was hurt and provided the team's best finish of 7th.
Running on Supertec engines (rebadged Renault engines) in 1999, it still managed to get a contract to run Honda engines in 2000 despite team struggles. The new Honda driven cars did show improvement, proving to be more reliable and slightly more competitive, but the team only had a best finish of 4th. While it was a marked improvement on its first year, with the team finishing tied for 4th in the points, it was still not the kind of year envisioned by team owners. Villeneuve reached the podium twice in 2001 for BAR, but neither he nor new teammate Olivier Panis did enough for the team, and it lead to the sacking of Pollock from the team.
David Richards has run the team since 2002 but the story has been the same for BAR, with Villeneuve still struggling to score points and Panis and later Jenson Button doing the same. Villeneuve's failure to produce eventually led to him being replaced in 2004 by Japanese driver Takuma Sato.
See also: List of Formula One constructors