Classic season opener: 1950 British GPby Alex Harmer on 22nd February 2013
In the run-up to the first Grand Prix of the year, we'll be posting some classic season openers. If you have any suggestions, let us know in the comments.
We start with the first World Championship Formula 1 Grand Prix ever, at Silverstone in 1950. While there had been Grands Prix before and after the Second World War, this sunny May day marked the start of the modern era.
The first four spots were taken by the Alfa Romeos of Farina, Fagioli, Fangio and Parnell, giving an indication of who the top team would be for the rest of the year. There was a good fight between them though, and after Fangio dropped out with engine problems, Farina led Fagioli by 2.5 seconds at the line with Parnell third after hitting a hare.
The first World Championship race was fairly typical of the time, with ageing aces fighting tooth-and-nail for strong manufacturers and a gaggle of lesser cars circulating in their wake. Apart from the pageantry – with the royal family touring the track during the race and the flowers lining the straight – what's interesting about the 1950 British Grand Prix is just how momentuous it was, given how the sport developed over the next 60 or so years. The first race of the World Championship was just like a lot of races before it, but F1 would change dramatically from here.