After the Second World War, Formula 1 starts as a championship in which several races are being held, with cars that are subject to just a few rules. There isn’t freedom to do everything with the car, but some basic rules are laid down and based on those you have to build a car which is as fast as possible. These remain a few races, until the first world championship was established in 1950.
In 1950 it is Italian Giuseppe Farina who takes the first world title for Alfa Romeo, narrowly beating teammate Juan Manuel Fangio. The number two, however, will go down in the history books as one of the largest that Formula 1 has known to this day. After his defeat Fangio wins the world title in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957. A record that was not broken until 2003 (45 years later) by Michael Schumacher.
Juan Manuel Fangio
After Fangio, who wins for the Italian Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati and also for the German Mercedes, the British emerge. The British domination starts in 1959 when the Australian Jack Brabham takes the world title for the British team Cooper and it only ends in 2000, when Schumacher puts an end to the domination of the British teams. Between 1959 and 1999, six titles didn’t go to a British race team, while the other 35 titles did went to the British teams.
Formula 1 becomes a British affair
In addition to British teams such as Cooper, Brabham, BRM, Lotus, Tyrrell, McLaren and Williams, Formula 1 also grosses in British world champions. It's the time of Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Jim Clark and James Hunt where it's a prize for the English almost every year, but also under the leadership of Stirling Moss, the British are quickly throwing high praise for the Formula 1 championship.
Meanwhile, Formula 1 is also a inspiring environment for the technicians in the automotive industry. From engines in the front of the car, engineers in F1 quickly manage to get engines to the centre of the car. The chassis was first made of aluminium in 1962 and Lotus impresses with the ground-effect cars in the 1970s. These cars which are sucked to the track which gave them tremendous amounts of downforce which allowed them to go through the corners like a rocket.
The power of Bernie Ecclestone
Based on Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1 is also growing financially. In 1978, Ecclestone took over as president of Formula 1 and made circuits pay more to organize a race. Participating or staying away was the motto of Ecclestone, who was very hard in negotiations with circuits and teams. Formula 1 is growing under Ecclestone into a multi-billion dollar business, as we know it today.
Meanwhile, a lot has changed on the track. Williams and McLaren are in the competition, but it's other nationalities that are running away with the driver's title. However, after Nelson Piquet, Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg, a storm is blowing up that will go down in the books as the greatest rivalry of all time: Alain Prost versus Ayrton Senna.
Senna versus Prost
Prost is the established name with two world titles in its pocket and Senna is the great talent and huge figurehead for the sport. Millions of fans all over the world watch the battles between the two, which ended mainly in 1989 and 1990. In the first edition Senna is disqualified after a disputable duel with Prost in which the Frenchman is held over by the French boss at the FIA and in 1990 the incident in which Senna deliberately crashes with Prost, so that he would become world champion.
When Prost signed for Williams in 1993, he had a clause included in his contract that his teammate could not be Senna. Williams has by far the best car and gives Prost his fourth and final title. Senna comes to Williams the following year but crashed in the fourth race during the Grand Prix of San Marino, which tragically resulted in his death.
The death of Senna and Roland Ratzenberger, who died the same weekend, marks a turning point in Formula 1. Formula 1 safety is finally taken more seriously and since the death of Senna and Ratzenberger, only Jules Bianchi was killed in a Formula 1 race in 2015.
The breakthrough of Michael Schumacher
In 1994, however, a great talent emerged: Michael Schumacher. The German will drive all the records from the history books. The German is far ahead of his time and is fitter and sharper than any driver ever. He first wins two titles at Benetton, then takes the decayed Ferrari to the top with a self-constituted management with Jean Todt and Ross Brawn.
Schumacher won five world titles at Ferrari between 2000 and 2004. The Formula 1 team thus takes most of the titles in a row, but above all Schumacher is the first with seven titles to set the record for Juan Manuel Fangio. Ferrari's supremacy continues, until a new talent emerges in 2005. Fernando Alonso wins the title twice with the old team of Schumacher (Renault that used to be Benetton), after which Schumacher retires at the end of 2006.
Hamilton on the hunt for Schumacher
After Schumacher, however, it is not Alonso who is there to take the throne, until his teammate debuted in 2007: Lewis Hamilton. The Brit first wins a title with McLaren, then five titles with Mercedes. Six titles in total, giving the Formula 1 driver a hair removed from the record of Michael Schumacher. However, with new talents Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen lurking, a seventh title is not a foregone conclusion.
The Formula 1 anno 2020
After a long period of leadership by Bernie Ecclestone, the American Liberty Media took the reins of Formula 1 since 2016. Led by top man Chase Carey and technical man Ross Brawn, the future of Formula 1 will be colored by new regulations from 2022, a budget cap from 2021 and new engines from 2026.
The calendar of the Formula 1 Championship has expanded over the years and under the leadership of Liberty Media this will only increase. Without the coronavirus, the 2020 Formula 1 calendar would be full of 22 races and the organisation even aims for 25 races in the future. Formula 1 has been running V6 hybrid engines and tyres supplied by Pirelli since 2014. The championship consists of ten teams and twenty drivers.
The scoring in Formula 1 has also been adjusted over the years. Whereas in the beginning only points were awarded to the first six drivers, now the fastest ten drivers get points (25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1) and one more point will be awarded to the driver with the fastest lap, provided he finishes in the top ten.