F1

  • Grand Prix

The Formula 1 World Championship has been the dominant motor racing series since it was inaugurated in 1950. The governing body of the time, the Commission Sportive Internationale (CSI), introduced the first rules to be called Formula 1 in 1947, to continue the already long tradition of Grand Prix racing.

Races for the new championship were originally centred on Europe’s finest circuits, although the Indianapolis 500 was officially a round for the first 11 years. Events in Argentina and a true United States Grand Prix had been added by the end of the 1950s.

The new decade saw British and Commonwealth drivers and teams move to the fore and compete with then four-time champions Ferrari. New races in Mexico and South Africa confirmed the spread of F1’s worldwide importance. By the end of the 1960s, teams replaced the national colours of Italian red, British Racing Green, or French blue with liveries derived from commercial sponsors.

Increased sponsorship and the wide availability of the Ford Cosworth DFV engine in the early 1970s led to more private teams, especially from British constructors. These years also saw increasing television coverage add to the awareness and popularity of the series. As the 1970s drew to a close, the numerous British teams belonging to the Formula One Constructors’ Association (FOCA) sought a more equitable share of the sport’s increasing revenues. FOCA, under the leadership of March founder Max Mosley and Brabham team owner Bernie Ecclestone, threatened a breakaway championship if the governing Federation Internationale de Sport Automobile (FISA) and the manufacturer-backed Renault, Alfa Romeo, and Ferrari teams did not compromise.

Eventually, the resulting Concorde Agreement saw Ecclestone take control of Formula 1’s commercial affairs. The coup was complete when Mosley was elected as President of FISA’s parent organisation, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Under their direction, the next decades saw Grand Prix racing grow into a true world sport, producing undreamt-of income from commercial activity and television rights. Ecclestone remained the most influential person in the sport until Liberty Media acquired a controlling interest in 2016.

With races now added in Asia, Oceania and Eastern Europe and a new American home in Texas – the World Championship of today truly lives up to its title, albeit having eroded its traditional European heartland.

What is a Grand Prix start?

The farce that was the 2005 United States Grand Prix brought this question into sharp focus. Fears of a puncture on Indianapolis’ high-speed banked final turn forced the Michelin-shod runners to withdraw from the race at the end of the parade lap. That left just six Bridgestone runners to take the starting lights. Strict interpretation of the FIA rules of the time meant that the Michelin teams were classified as having started, but common sense (and spectators’ eyes) showed that they had not been on the track when the race began.

Various sources have various definitions of what constitutes a GP start, resulting in minor but annoying discrepancies in the number of events competed in by the likes of Laffite, Barrichello and Prost, to name but a few. For the record, I have credited a driver with a start based on the following definition:

A driver who was on the grid (or in the pits prior to making a delayed entrance) when the original signal to start was given, or who joined at any subsequent restart.

Thus, if a driver was eliminated in a startline accident that stopped the event and prevented him from taking the restart, he is still credited with starting that race. This means that Mike Thackwell (who was prevented from taking the restart of the 1980 Canadian GP when his team-mate requisitioned his undamaged Tyrrell) did start, and therefore became the youngest driver to have participated in a World Championship GP to that date. This definition also means that Niki Lauda did start at the Nurburgring in 1976, albeit with near-fatal consequences.

Organisers added a concurrent Formula 2 race to enlarge the field in the 1958 Moroccan and the 1957-58, 1966-67, and 1969 German GPs. Although the F2 drivers were not eligible to be classified in the overall results, they have always been credited as starting the Grand Prix.

The only exception to this definition relates to cars being specifically used to make a movie. Some drivers, most notably Phil Hill while filming Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix, have appeared in races complete with bulky cameras to record the action. But they were never truly in the race, and therefore have never been recorded as having competed.

Finally, if a driver failed to complete the parade lap (such as at Indy in 2005), he is not credited with starting the race as he did not take the signal to start.

Indianapolis 500

The Indy 500 was officially a round of the Formula 1 World Championship from 1950 to 1960. Its inclusion in the series had little impact other than to confuse fans and record keepers. Of the European drivers, only Alberto Ascari raced at the Brickyard when he failed to finish the 1952 race. Conversely, that year’s race winner, Troy Ruttman, went on to compete unsuccessfully in the 1958 French GP.

Shared drives

From the early years of Grand Prix racing the car was more important than the driver. Often when a team’s fastest driver was delayed or had retired from a race, his team-mate was called into the pits and replaced by the team leader. For the first eight years of the championship, drivers who shared a car that finished in the leading positions shared the points, but from 1958 points were only awarded to drivers who completed an event on their own.

Seasons

Season Championship Champion

2021

F1 World Championship

2020

F1 World Championship

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

2019

F1 World Championship

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport

2018

F1 World Championship

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport

2017

F1 World Championship

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

2016

F1 World Championship

Nico Rosberg

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

2015

F1 World Championship

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

2014

F1 World Championship

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

2013

F1 World Championship

Sebastian Vettel

Infiniti Red Bull Racing

2012

F1 World Championship

Sebastian Vettel

Red Bull Racing

2011

F1 World Championship

Sebastian Vettel

Red Bull Racing

2010

F1 World Championship

Sebastian Vettel

Red Bull Racing

2009

F1 World Championship

Jenson Button

Brawn GP Formula One Team

2008

F1 World Championship

Lewis Hamilton

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

2007

F1 World Championship

Kimi Raikkonen

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

2006

F1 World Championship

Fernando Alonso

Mild Seven Renault F1

2005

F1 World Championship

Fernando Alonso

Mild Seven Renault F1

2004

F1 World Championship

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

2003

F1 World Championship

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

2002

F1 World Championship

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

2001

F1 World Championship

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

2000

F1 World Championship

Michael Schumacher

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

1999

F1 World Championship

Mika Hakkinen

West McLaren Mercedes

1998

F1 World Championship

Mika Hakkinen

West McLaren Mercedes

1997

F1 World Championship

Jacques Villeneuve

Rothmans Williams Renault

1996

F1 World Championship

Damon Hill

Rothmans Williams Renault

1995

F1 World Championship

Michael Schumacher

Mild Seven Benetton Renault

1994

F1 World Championship

Michael Schumacher

Mild Seven Benetton Ford

1993

F1 World Championship

Alain Prost

Canon Williams Renault

1992

F1 World Championship

Nigel Mansell

Canon Williams Team

1991

F1 World Championship

Ayrton Senna

Honda Marlboro McLaren

1990

F1 World Championship

Ayrton Senna

Honda Marlboro McLaren

1989

F1 World Championship

Alain Prost

Honda Marlboro McLaren

1988

F1 World Championship

Ayrton Senna

Honda Marlboro McLaren

1987

F1 World Championship

Nelson Piquet

Canon Williams Honda Team

1986

F1 World Championship

Alain Prost

Marlboro McLaren International

1985

F1 World Championship

Alain Prost

Marlboro McLaren International

1984

F1 World Championship

Niki Lauda

Marlboro McLaren International

1983

F1 World Championship

Nelson Piquet

Fila Sport

1982

F1 World Championship

Keke Rosberg

TAG Williams Team

1981

F1 World Championship

Nelson Piquet

Parmalat Racing Team

1980

F1 World Championship

Alan Jones

Albilad-Williams Racing Team

1979

F1 World Championship

Jody Scheckter

Scuderia Ferrari

1978

F1 World Championship

Mario Andretti

John Player Team Lotus

1977

F1 World Championship

Niki Lauda

Scuderia Ferrari

1976

F1 World Championship

James Hunt

Marlboro Team McLaren

1975

F1 World Championship

Niki Lauda

Scuderia Ferrari

1974

F1 World Championship

Emerson Fittipaldi

Marlboro Team Texaco

1973

F1 World Championship

Jackie Stewart

Elf Team Tyrrell

1972

F1 World Championship

Emerson Fittipaldi

John Player Team Lotus

1971

F1 World Championship

Jackie Stewart

Elf Team Tyrrell

1970

F1 World Championship

Jochen Rindt

Gold Leaf Team Lotus

1969

F1 World Championship

Jackie Stewart

Matra International

1968

F1 World Championship

Graham Hill

Team Lotus

1967

F1 World Championship

Denny Hulme

Brabham Racing Organisation

1966

F1 World Championship

Jack Brabham

Brabham Racing Organisation

1965

F1 World Championship

Jim Clark

Team Lotus

1964

F1 World Championship

John Surtees

Scuderia Ferrari

1963

F1 World Championship

Jim Clark

Team Lotus

1962

F1 World Championship

Graham Hill

Owen Racing Organisation

1961

F1 World Championship

Phil Hill

Scuderia Ferrari

1960

F1 World Championship

Jack Brabham

Cooper Car Co

1959

F1 World Championship

Jack Brabham

Cooper Car Co

1958

F1 World Championship

Mike Hawthorn

Scuderia Ferrari

1957

F1 World Championship

Juan Manuel Fangio

Officine Alfieri Maserati

1956

F1 World Championship

Juan Manuel Fangio

Scuderia Ferrari

1955

F1 World Championship

Juan Manuel Fangio

Daimler-Benz

1954

F1 World Championship

Juan Manuel Fangio

Officine Alfieri Maserati

1953

F1 World Championship

Alberto Ascari

Scuderia Ferrari

1952

F1 World Championship

Alberto Ascari

1951

F1 World Championship

Juan Manuel Fangio

Alfa Corse

1950

F1 World Championship

Giuseppe Farina

Alfa Corse

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