The first Formula 1 Grand Prix

The pinnacle of motorsport can look back on decades of tradition. 73 years ago on Saturday, May 13, 1950, the first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix was held in Silverstone, England. A car race that made history.

The history: In the post-war years of the late 1940s, the international automobile association FIA agreed on a set of rules for a new motorsport series, which was to overshadow all previously known racing series in terms of size, duration and influence.

The automobiles themselves were also to have more horsepower and be more durable than ever, and a corresponding set of building regulations was also formulated for this purpose. The set of rules for the new elite class of motorsport quickly became known as “Formula 1”.

The racing series: The new Formula 1 included a calendar of seven races, which were held from May 13th to the first weekend in September 1950. In addition to the premiere race at Silverstone, six more stations followed, three of which are still being driven to today: Monte Carlo in Monaco, Spa-Franchorchamps in Belgium and Monza in Italy.

The driver: 24 drivers were registered for the first race weekend in Formula 1 history. In addition to several factory teams such as Alfa Romeo, Talbot-Darracq and Maserati, they were spread across several British, Irish and French private racing teams. Many teams only started with one driver, Alfa Romeo with a quartet. Incidentally, Scuderia Ferrari, which only made its debut on the second race weekend in Monaco, was not there.

The race: 70 laps were completed on the Silverstone Circuit, corresponding to a total distance of 325.43 kilometers. An estimated 200,000 curious motorsport fans lined the course of the airfield course to watch the 21 drivers who had qualified for the race – including the British royal family of King George and Crown Princess Elizabeth.

The race turned into a single show of power by Alfa Romeo, the dominant designer of its time. The four Alfa Romeo cars will start the race from positions one to four, followed only behind by Prince Bira in the Maserati, the first non-Alfa driver.

The first laps of the “European Grand Prix”, as the race was christened by the organizers, were characterized by great excitement. The Alfa Romeo trio of Guiseppe Farina, Luigi Fagioli and Juan Manuel Fangio fought several hot duels and three-way battles for the lead. Despite tough wheel-to-wheel duels, there was no crash. After a few laps, Farina maintained his lead and then led the race to the end.

The winner: The first winner of a Formula 1 race was named Guiseppe Farina. In the end, his lead over Fagioli was less than three seconds. In the course of the further inaugural season of the premier class, Farina also won the races in Switzerland and finally in his home country Italy, so that the then 43-year-old from Turin became the first Formula 1 world champion in history.

In 1966, Farina died in a car accident on a public road in Chambéry, France.

The oddities of the weekend:

  • The race started on a Saturday. In Great Britain, sporting events on a Sunday were still unusual at the time.
  • Local hero Reg Parnell ended up in third place, 52 seconds back. Main reason for the deficit: Parnell collided with a rabbit during the race and damaged his radiator grille.
  • The later five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio crashed into a bale of straw after a driving error. He retired with a defective oil line.
  • The first non-Alfa driver, Yves Giraud-Cabantous, only crossed the finish line two laps behind
  • Of the 21 racers who started, only eleven saw the checkered flag.
  • During the race, the drivers were swapped in both an ERA and a Maserati car. Tony Rolt took over the ERA from Peter Walker, Brian Shawe-Taylor also continued driving the Maserati for Joe Fry. However, both teams had nothing to do with the outcome of the race.

Mats-Yannick Roth

Source: RSS-Feed: Aktuelle News | by

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