On this Day:
On May 13, 1950, the first ever race of the Formula 1 World Drivers Championship was run at Silverstone, England and won by Giuseppe Farina of italy in an Alfa Romeo.
Formula One (also known as Formula 1 or F1) is the highest class of international racing for open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The World Drivers’ Championship, which became the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1981, has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950. The word formula in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants’ cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix, which take place worldwide on both purpose-built circuits and closed public roads.
A points system is used at Grands Prix to determine two annual World Championships: one for drivers, the other for constructors. Each driver must hold a valid Super Licence, the highest class of racing licence issued by the FIA.The races must run on tracks graded “1” (formerly “A”), the highest grade-rating issued by the FIA.
Formula One cars are the fastest regulated road-course racing cars in the world, owing to very high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of aerodynamic downforce. Much of this downforce is generated by front and rear wings, which have the side effect of causing severe turbulence behind each car. The turbulence reduces the downforce generated by a car following directly behind, making it hard to overtake. Major changes to the cars for the 2022 season has seen greater use of ground effect aerodynamics, and modified wings to reduce the turbulence behind the cars, with the goal of making overtaking easier. The cars are dependent on electronics and aerodynamics, suspension and tyres. Traction control, launch control, and automatic shifting, plus other electronic driving aids, were first banned in 1994. They were briefly reintroduced in 2001, and have more recently been banned since 2004 and 2008, respectively.
With the average annual cost of running a team – designing, building, and maintaining cars, pay, transport – being approximately US$247 million, its financial and political battles are widely reported. On 23 January 2017, Liberty Media completed its acquisition of the Formula One Group, from private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners for $8 billion.
The Formula One series originated with the European Championship of Grand Prix motor racing of the 1920s and 1930s. The formula consists of a set of rules that all participants’ cars must meet. Formula One was a new formula agreed upon during 1946 with the first non-championship races taking place that year. The first Formula 1 race was the 1946 Turin Grand Prix. A number of Grand Prix racing organizations had laid out rules for a world championship before World War II, but due to the suspension of racing during the conflict, the World Drivers’ Championship did not become formalized until 1947. The first world championship race took place at Silverstone in the United Kingdom in 1950. Giuseppe Farina, in his Alfa Romeo, won the first World Championship for Drivers in 1950, narrowly defeating his teammate Juan Manuel Fangio. However, Fangio won the title in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957 (his record of five World Championship titles stood for 45 years until Michael Schumacher took his sixth title in 2003). Fangio’s streak was interrupted (after an injury) by two-time champion Alberto Ascari of Ferrari.
A championship for constructors followed in 1958. Although the UK’s Stirling Moss was able to compete regularly, he was never able to win the world championship and has been described by The Independent as “The greatest driver to never win the world championship”. In a seven-year span between 1955 and 1961, Moss finished as championship runner-up four times and in third place the other three times. Fangio, however, achieved the record of winning 24 of the 52 races he entered – a record that holds to this day. National championships existed in South Africa and the UK in the 1960s and 1970s. Non-championship Formula One events were held by promoters for many years. However, due to the increasing cost of competition, the last of these occurred in 1983.
This period featured teams managed by road-car manufacturers Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Maserati. The first seasons featured pre-war cars like Alfa’s 158. They were front-engined, with narrow tyres and 1.5-litre supercharged or 4.5-litre naturally aspirated engines. The 1952 and 1953 World Championships were run to Formula Two regulations, for smaller, less powerful cars, due to concerns over the lack of Formula One cars available. When a new Formula One formula for engines limited to 2.5 litres was reinstated to the world championship for 1954, Mercedes-Benz introduced the advanced W196. This featured innovations such as desmodromic valves and fuel injection, as well as enclosed streamlined bodywork. Mercedes drivers won the championship for two years, before the team withdrew from all motorsport in the wake of the 1955 Le Mans disaster (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
What do baby mathematicians drink whose mothers want them to grow up to keep statistics of the world’s best automobile races?
Second, a Song:
Courtesy of The Royal Ghoul and YouTube.com, here is a BBC Video of the Silverstone Royal Grand Prix – The Very 1st F1 World Championship race ever: 13 May 1950.
The race took place at Silverstone in the presence of King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, and was dominated by Alfa Romeo cars. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.” – George Best
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Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2022 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky