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The History of F1 Auto Racing
Part II : The Birth of Formula One
March 8, 2005


The birth of the glamorous world of Formula One started when the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) kicked off the series in 1950.

Since then the world has been a different place. The early years of F1 witnessed revolutionary changes in racing technology, in an era in which drivers competed for sport, not money, and routinely perished in sometimes horrific crashes. The names from these days — Ascari, Fangio and Moss, to list a few — live on today as Grand Prix legends.

On April 10th 1950, Argentinean Juan Manuel Fangio, in a Maserati, won the Pau Grand Prix, the first contest to be labeled as an "International Formula One" race. A month later Silverstone hosted the British Grand Prix at a former military airport and it became the first sanctioned championship race for Formula One Grand Prix cars. The F1 World Championship was born.

The winner at Silverstone was the first F1 champion, Giuseppe "Nino" Farina who drove an Alfa Roméo 158. He also captured the Belgium, Swiss and Italian races along with non-championship wins at Bari and Donington.

It was a revolutionary year that spearheaded a new wave of motorsports and was a turning point for this industry. The Grand Prix started with the driver’s cup and in 1958 a constructor’s cup was established as a reward for the team accumulating the most points each season.

As races passed, the championship’s regulations were altered in order to reduce speed, ensure safety, cope with technology advancement and decrease costs.

The driver’s cup received the centre of attention as it dealt with the human factor. However the constructor’s cup was in constant battle between Ferrari and other teams that were eager to grab the title.

Since the odd 50 years in the history of Formula One, 733 Grand Prix were held. As years passed, the championship witnessed a growing number of races due to its increasing popularity.

During the 1950’s around seven to eight races were held every season. In the 60’s they increased around nine to 12 races until it reached the golden 17 races a season. In 2004, the calendar boosted an 18 race schedule for the first time after the addition of Bahrain and China. In 2005, the calendar will be increased to 19 races with Turkey joining the exclusive club.

Press release
Bahrain International Circuit

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