The History Of F1
FORMULA 1 - FROM 1950 TO 2004
After the Second World War, motor sports took a new form. Originally called Formula A, it soon changed to Formula 1 and the sport began in 1950 at the unused airfield of Silverstone. The race was won by Nino Farina, who eventually went on to win the title with Alfa Romeo. Farina moved to Ferrari in 51 and fought a losing battle with Alberto Ascari. However, in 1951 the title belonged to Juan Manuel Fangio. Injuries sidelined the Argentine in 52 and Ascari romped home to take the title. He went on to take the title the following year despite Fangio’s presence. But in the next 4 years there was no stopping the Argentine and by the end of 1957 he had no less than 5 titles to his credit. Exceedingly quick till his last race France in 1958, Fangio retired at the age of 47. His closest rival was probably Stirling Moss. Widely regarded as the best driver not to have won a single Championship, the British driver finished second to Fangio in 1955, 56 and 57. In 1958, Mike Hawthorn broke the shackles to become the first British Champion. However, he retired at the end of the season and in January 1959, he died in a road accident.
The 60s ushered in a British era. Between 1962 and 1973, British F-1 teams managed to win no less than 12 World Championships. Jimmy Clark was probably the most talented driver in that era. After losing narrowly to Graham Hill in 1962, the British driver won hands down in 1963 and 65. Clark broke Fangio’s record for the most number of victories in 1968 at South Africa and a few months later died in an F-2 race at Hockenheim, Germany after crashing into the trees. His accident is unexplained to this date. In 1966, Jack Brabham became the first driver to win the title driving his own team. Jackie Stewart ended the decade by winning the title in1969.
In 1970, the Lotus team emerged as a strong force with Jochen Rindt taking 5 victories. But at Monza, tragedy struck and Rindt crashed at Parabolica, which killed him. However, Rindt emerged Champion that season. Jackie Stewart, who was Rindt’s close friend and Emerson Fittipaldi, Rindt’s replacement split the next 4 titles with Stewart taking the honours in 71 and 73.
Stewart’s retirement in 1973 was marked by Ferrari’s resurgence though Fittipaldi gave Mclaren their first title in 1974. In 1975, Niki Lauda took no less than nine poles and five victories to clinch the title. In 1976, Niki Lauda battled with James Hunt winning six out of the first nine races when the F-1 circus moved to Germany where the Austrian met with a 150 mph crash. Severely damaged in the face Lauda’s hopes of surviving were slim, but there followed one of the miraculous comebacks and Lauda was back behind the wheel of an F-1 car within 6 weeks! With his face permanently scarred he remarked, “To race you don’t need a face.” Though the season went down to the wire Lauda pulled out of the finale after 3 laps of torrential rain, literally gifting the title to James Hunt. In 1977, Lauda regained the title with Ferrari and left the team at the end of the season and Gilles Villeneuve replaced him. Poor Enzo Ferrari, one moment he had Lauda and in the next he had this maniac. Gilles was known for his aggressive style in handling his machinery. Nevertheless, Gilles had a never say die attitude and finished second in 1979 by a slim 4 points. He also had many duels with other drivers, the most notable being the one in France in 1979, where he led Rene Arnox across the line by 0.3 seconds. Jarama, 1981, was another race where Gilles led a train of no less than 6 cars across the finish in a vastly inferior car. Affectionately called ‘The Prince of Destruction’ by Enzo Ferrari, Villeneuve died at Zolder in 1982 in qualifying, ending one of the most illustrious careers in Formula 1.
In 1984, the world witnessed the most closely contested title ever with Niki Lauda beating Alain Prost by a mere half a point. But another legend was in the making, a Brazilian named Aryton Senna. There ensued one of the fiercest rivalries between Alain Prost-“The Professor” and Aryton Senna. In 1988, both drivers found themselves in a vastly superior Mclaren and agreed that (they usually qualified 1-2) they would not fight over the first corner. The famous agreement was however broken in 1989 at San Marino where Senna overtook Prost. Prost was arguably furious. In the season finale, Senna collided with Prost after trying to overtake him after catching him. Both cars went out. While a disgruntled Prost got out of the car, Senna repaired his car and went on to win the race only to be disqualified. The title went to Prost. In 1990, the same happened but at a different corner, but Senna was leading the title race this time and many believe Senna deliberately pushed Prost off. In 1991,Senna won again but it was Nigel Mansell and Williams who gave him a run for his money. It was in this season that Michael Schumacher made his debut with Jordan. In 1992, Mansell won comprehensively (Prost took a year off) with nine victories in the season. In 1993, Prost returned and won the title and promptly retired at the end of the season.
On May 1st, 1994, the sport witnessed its darkest day in history. Senna was leading the San Marino Grand Prix and on lap 2 he suffered a high speed crash at Tamburello, which wrecked his car killing him. A legend was gone and many thought F1 would never be the same again. Ironically, Senna was the first driver to have won the world championship to die in the actual race, unlike all the others before him. Ronald Ratzen Berger also died in the very same race in qualifying.
Michael Schumacher took the 1994 title and also the one in 1995. Not without a fresh rivalry though as Damon Hill became Schumi’s favorite sparring partner. In 1997, often described as ‘The Battle of the Century’, Jacques Villeneuve (son of the legendary Gilles) managed to do what his father never achieved. Scrapping all the way with none other than Michael, the Canadian won the coveted Formula 1 title in only his 2nd year of F-1.The 1998 season saw Mika Hakkinen and Mclaren dominate proceedings though they had Michael snapping at their heels. In 1999, the situation was pretty much the same only it was Eddie Irvine instead of Michael this time (Michael broke his legs at the British GP). In 2000, Ferrari tasted success after 21 years (Jody Scheckter won last in 1979) when Schumacher finally won the driver’s title. Ever since, the sport is yet to witness another Champion as Schumacher won from 2000-2004 equalling Fangio’s record achieving 4 titles in a row and breaking his record of 5 titles. 2004 was easily Schumi’s best. With 15 wins in the season, it was literally Forza Schumi all the way. Gosh, will this guy ever stop?
Now i'll have to say this is only a brief one covering the history of F1 so please don't mistake me for not covering some of the finest races in F1. And as for Schumacher well he id stop thank goodness though it was more due to Ferrari not producing a good car than his own driving