13/5/1950

The first ever grand prix to count towards the World Championship took place.

May 13, 1950, was surely one of the most auspicious days in motor racing history. On that day the Formula One World Championship was born when 21 cars took part in the British Grand Prix, grandly named Grand Prix dEurope for the first event to count towards the new series. And a Royal occasion it was, too, as the drivers lined up to meet King George VI and Queen Elizabeth before the start. After World War II, motor racing had begun as early as September 1945 (this was already the third British Grand Prix) but now Silverstone, Monaco, Bremgarten in Switzerland, Spa-Francorchamps, France (in champagne capital Rheims) and Monza would stage World Championship events. The fabled Indianapolis 500 would also count towards the series, but the Europeans didnt go there and the Americans didnt travel to race in Europe either. It was the wonderful era of the Three Fs: Farina and Fagioli of Italy, Fangio of Argentina, all driving for Alfa-Romeo. For that great Silverstone day they invited local favourite Reg Parnell to be a guest driver too. All four Alfas duly filled the front row, with Farina on pole in a time of 1 minute 50.8 seconds. Some 70 laps later the Italian Doctor of Laws was also the first race-winner in World Championship history. Fangio had made a rare mistake, clipping a straw bale (yes, they were used as trackside markers!) and retiring after 62 laps, but Farina, Fagioli and Parnell made it an all-Alfa 1-2-3 and Farina claimed fastest lap to boot. While Fangio and Farina both won three races that year, Farina it was who claimed the first Drivers World Championship in early September.

Leave a comment

Comments