The idea of F1 was thought of in 1946, but the first race was not until 1950 at Silverstone. At this time, there were teams such as Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Maserati. From day 1, F1 was a dangerous sport and particularly in the early days, many drivers died due to lack of protection, car fires and large crashes.
The 1950’s and 60's saw individuals such as Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir Stirling Moss and Graham Hill starting their racing careers. This particular trio are considered as the legends that many young drivers still look up to today.
In the 1970's Bernie Eccelstone arrived on the scene transforming F1 into a billion-dollar business. Bernie bought the Brabham team and received a seat on the Formula One Constructers Association (FOCA), which he would eventually develop into Formula One Management, the company that currently owns and maintains the sport. This century was also famous for the infamous duel in 1976 between Austria’s Niki Lauda and Britain’s James Hunt. Lauda almost died in an 800 degree inferno at Nurburgring whilst trying to beat Hunt. Despite his efforts, Hunt won the championship by just 1 point.
The 80’s and 90’s were two of the most popular centuries of F1 and will forever remembered for the intense rivalry between Brazil’s Ayrton Senna and France’s Alain Prost. The competitive duo were teammates at McLaren-Honda for 5 years, sending Team Principal Ron Dennis to breaking point as he attempted to be the mediator. In January 1994, Senna moved to Williams and only completed 2 race weekends before being killed in a high impact crash at Tamburello Curve during the San Marino Grand Prix. Despite their bitter rivalry, Prost was first to show his respects to his old teammate, both immediately after the incident and at Senna’s funeral.
The 21st Century (2000 - present) has and continues to be an incredible era for F1 due to the talent, nail-biting battles and technological advances that the sport is blessed with. The legendary Michael Schumacher is the most well known driver, winning 7 Drivers’ Championships, 5 of which were back to back titles. In 2005, Fernando Alonso joined the sport, becoming the youngest ever double World Champion, winning the 2005 and 2006 titles, ending Ferrari’s domination. The 2008 finale in Brazil was one of the most tense in F1 history, with local hero Felipe Massa winning the championship for 30 seconds before having it taken away from him by Britain’s Lewis Hamilton as a result of a vital pass at the last corner. 2012 was a special year for F1, with 6 World Champions on the grid, the most in the sport’s history.
In recent years, technological advances have changed both the look and sound of Formula 1. Despite this, the world champions have continued to set new records, with both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton on the verge of becoming the most successful driver in the history of the sport, overhauling the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.
No matter who's on the grid, Formula 1 continues to excite and unite audiences around the world.