The team was formed by John Surtees, a four-time 500cc motorcycle champion and the 1964 Formula One champion. This inspired Surtees to expand to Formula One, and after having had a difficult season with BRM in 1969, he decided to become an owner/driver again. The team ran the full 1970 season, but John Surtees was forced to run the first four races in an old McLaren due to a delay in the construction of his in-house F1 car. The new BP-sponsored car earned its first (and only) points that year in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Surtees added a second full-time car in 1971 for German driver Rolf Stommelen, and ran a third car for various drivers in a number of races. Three drivers, Surtees, Stommelen, and motorcycling champion Mike Hailwood earned three points each for the marque that year.

Hailwood returned to Surtees for a full year and produced Surtees' first podium finish that year in the Italian Grand Prix. Schenken was replaced in 1973 by Brazilian Carlos Pace, and the team only ran two full-time cars after de Adamich left following the season opener. Pace finished third in Austria and fourth in Germany, but it was the only points finishes the team had all season, Low on money for 1975, the team pared back to a single car for John Watson. The season was a tremendous struggle for Surtees, with no points scored,

Brambilla's season was effective, also finishing in the points three times. Still, his good results did not prevent Surtees from further monetary troubles. In 1978, the team added a second car for pay driver, Briton Rupert Keegan, but the money problems continued. A lack of decent results the team left F1 after the 1978 season

Activity: 1970 - 1978
Grand Prix: 119
Best Result: 2nd - M. Hailwood (Italy 1972) 
Best Grid Position: 2nd - C. Pace (South Africa 1974)
Fastest Laps: 4
Championship Points: 53