What is the history of Formula 1? What are its origins? Where did Formula 1 come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of Formula 1.
Formula 1 is the highest level of auto racing in the world. The category, which is very popular all around the globe, gathers the best race car drivers in the sport in exciting and fast-paced races in all corners of the world, from Brazil to Abu Dhabi. Each grand Prix is a weekend event, where drivers practice on Friday, have qualifying sessions on Saturday and compete on the big race on Sunday. The category's prestige comes due to a rich and old history, full of interesting characters, dominant athletes, passionate fandom, heroic moments, and exciting races.
In Formula 1, drivers are part of teams, which have two cars in the grid. Some pf the most traditional teams are well-known car manufacturers such as Ferrari, Mercedes, and Renault. Although the number of teams, and consequently the number of drivers racing may change from season to season, there is always somewhere around 20 drivers in the grid. They will race against each other, and the drivers who finish in the top three positions will take part in a podium ceremony and be awarded trophies. In Formula 1, there is also a point system. The higher a driver finishes in a race, the most points he will be awarded. The driver who has the most points throughout the season is crowned Formula 1 World Champion at the end of it. There is also a Constructors championship, in which the team whose pilots score the highest number of points are crowned Constructor World Champion.
The roots of the category go far back, as people had been racing cars competitively in Europe since the early 1900's. Between the 1930's and 1940's, there were several meetings aiming to organize races into a single united championship, but the start of World War II ended up putting those plans on hold. In 1946, after the War ended, the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) standardized a set of rules and started a championship of drivers. The first Formula 1 race took place in Silverstone, England, in 1950.
Although its first race was disputed in England, the start of Formula 1 can't really be traced to a single country, as drivers from many parts of the world would join in races in different parts of the continent, such as France, England, and Spain. In addition to that, in its first seasons, the Indianapolis 500 Grand Prix was also part of the circuit, and later on, other grand Prix outside of Europe were also added.
There is no single individual who invented Formula 1. People have been racing ever since the gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine was popularized. However, Formula 1 is considered to have started after FIA standardized the rules and organized a drivers championship, and it can be said that FIA was the inventor of Formula 1. To this day, the FIA is the worldwide regulating body of Formula 1, among other racing sports. FIA is the one responsible for determining Formula 1's rules, interpret them, apply sanctions and resolve disputes; as well as issuing the super licenses needed by drivers to take part in races. It can be said that FIA also reinvents Formula 1, as changes in the design of the cars and their engines are common, as well as changes in the point system, circuits included in a season, and safety measures.
Formula 1 was officially established on May 13, 1950, when the first official race was held in Silverstone, and the first official drivers' championship began, organized by the FIA. Although there were many Formula 1 races throughout Europe (races with Formula 1 cars and Formula 1 rules), the FIA determined that only seven of those races would have points counted towards that year's drivers championship. From 1950 on, the competition only grew, adding more races per season and expanding to new countries.
Many today may watch any auto racing and believe it to be a dangerous sport. Although sometimes there are shocking crashes, auto racing, specifically Formula 1, is not as dangerous as it once was. Formula 1 has quite an unfortunate history of deaths and injuries. In its first decade of existence, 15 drivers lost their lives in Formula 1 events, and through the next years, those numbers were still scarily high. Nonetheless, there would be no space for Formula 1 in the modern world if it was not safe. The FIA makes its drivers' safety their priority, and every year there is an improvement in safety in Formula 1, and since 1980 the number of drivers that lost their lives is smaller than those of the 1950's alone. Thankfully, fatalities and violent accidents each less and less common. Also, cars are designed in a way that if a crash happens, the driver can escape with minimal injury, and recently many drivers have gotten out of seemingly ugly accidents without a single scratch. Unquestionably, safety is Formula 1's biggest evolution since its creation in 1950. The great drivers who lost their lives doing the sport they loved must not be forgotten, as they are a reminder of the love for the sport and that pilots' lives must be put first.
Auto racing was already popular in Europe way before Formula 1 officially started, people would race all through Europe as early as the late 1890's. That way, it is no surprise that Formula 1 was already born popular in Europe, as it represented and organized way to do what Europeans had already been doing and loved to do. The first-ever Formula 1 race ever, in Silverstone, was attended by King George VI and other members of the English Royal Family. It is also estimated that around 100.000 people made to trip to Silverstone to watch the race. In addition to that, there was a certain nationalism between fans and teams, that prevails to this day. Italians are very passionate about the main Italians team, Ferrari, and the English about England's most successful team McLaren Racing. Although Europe is still its main market, Formula 1 is also very popular in other continents. Countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Australia have had legendary drivers finding success in Formula 1, and so the sport is very popular in those countries too.
Despite having European origins, Formula 1 is popular in the entire globe. In a Formula 1 season, races take place in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. In addition to that, drivers come from many different countries. In the 2019 season, 11 of the 21 races were held outside Europe. Since its creation, there have been Formula 1 drivers from 41 different nations, and world champions from 14 different countries. Being a very global sport, Formula 1 has large fan bases in countries such as: