Auto Technisches Spezialzubehör – ATS for short – were a German manufacturer of alloy wheels and other car parts who sponsored a number of different sporting teams and competitions before volatile owner Günther Schmidt decided to take the plunge and launch his own Formula One team in 1977 to better increase brand awareness. Purchasing the chassis left over by Penske’s departure from F1, ATS began with a single car for Jean-Pierre Jarier with a second car run in some races, and in 1978 the team employed no fewer than seven drivers over the course of the season as Schmidt’s famous temper led to frequent fallings-out. 1979 saw one car run for Hans-Joachim Stück, who took the team’s first points for fifth at the final race of the season and in 1980 Marc Surer, Jan Lammers and Harald Ertl swapped among two cars before the team dropped back to one car for 1981 to concentrate on Jan Lammers.
ATS – now ATS Euromaster – still exist, though they concentrate mainly on tyres.
Dutchman Lammers hailed from Zandvoort, home of the Dutch Grand Prix, and in his early years learned how to drift cars successfully, before moving into single-seat racing. He won the 1978 European F3 championship before moving straight into F1 with Shadow alongside Elio de Angelis. After a disappointing debut season he moved to ATS for 1980 but was dropped after six races and moved to the Ensign team, before re-signing with ATS for 1981 on the promise of sole-driver status.