A brief history of Formula One (Part 2)

The cars used considerable technological advances. The first seasons were organized using pre-war cars like Alfa’s 158, featuring front engined, narrow-treaded tyres and 4.5 litre normally aspirated engines or 1.5 litre supercharged. When Formula One regulations issued in 1954 engines were limited to 2.5 litres. Mercedes Benz made major upgrade until they withdrew from all motor sports events in the aftermath of the 1955 disaster at Le Mans. In the late 1950s Cooper introduced a rear-engined car and by 1961 all manufacturers were using them. As an added incentive for the competing teams, a constructors’ championship was introduced to the game in 1958.

An era of British dominance began with Mike Hawthorn’s championship win in 1958, although Stirling Moss had been at the forefront of the competition without ever securing the world title. Between Jim Clark, Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Graham Hill, and Denny Hulme, British and Commonwealth drivers won nine championship titles and British teams won ten constructors’ titles between the period of 1962 and 1973. The famous British Racing Green Lotus, featuring a revolutionary monocoque chassis to replace the traditional design with space-frame, was the dominant vehicle, and in 1968 the team broke new barriers when they were the first to have advertising featured on their cars

In 1970 Lotus’ Jochen Rindt won the drivers’ championship posthumously, the only man be able to achieve such record, underlining the continuing risks. His replacement was Lotus’ No. 1, was young Brazilian racer Emerson Fittipaldi, he then split the next four championships, with Jackie Stewart taking 1971 and 1973 for the new Team Tyrrell and Fittipaldi 1972 and 1974.

The cars became faster and performed better – Lotus again were the innovators when they used ground-effect aerodynamics that enabled enormous downforce and greatly improved of cornering speeds – by the early 1970s the days of private entries were all but over as the costs of racing increased rocketed. Not only that, with the advent of turbocharged cars, speeds and power also rapidly increase.

A brief history of Formula One (Part 1)

Formula One is a popular car racing tournament in which the “formula” refers to a set of rules that all participants and cars manufacturers must follow and was originally and briefly recognized as Formula A. The race can trace its roots date back to the earliest time of motor racing, and developed from the buoyant European racing scene of the years since inter-war. Plans for a Formula One drivers’ championship began in the late 1930s but were postponed during the onset of World War Two.

SUZUKA, JAPAN – OCTOBER 13: Start during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

In 1946 the idea was reignited and in that season the first races were organized and the following year the decision was made to officially host a drivers’ championship. It took until 1950 for the details to be rolled out and in May 1950 the first world championship race was organized at Silverstone – the first F1 race had been hosted a month earlier in Pau. Only seven of the twenty something Formula One races that year counted towards the title but the championship was up and running. Even as more races were included in the championship, there were countless number of non-championship Formula One races. Non-championship races continued throughout the 80s until 1983 when rising costs made them unprofitable.

There were no shortage of privateers – drivers who compete on their own terms and who bought and raced their own cars. Nonetheless, the formula was prevalent and dominated by major pre-war manufactures such as Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Mercedes Benz. Although Giuseppe (“Nino”) Farina got the inaugural title, the key drivers in the 1950s was Juan Manuel Fangio who got the drivers’ championship many times in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957 using cars of five different manufacturers.

It was not an easy start. In 1952 and 1953, there were lack of manufacturers joined which meant the authorities ran races to Formula Two regulations. In which, Alberto Ascari won the championship in both years. Of the 20 manufacturers joined the race in 1950, most were soon forced out by the high cost. Only Ferrari have competed since the off. The death toll in races was gruesome in which there were 13 drivers died in F1 cars in the first decade.