7 Decades of Formula 1

Topps Official 19-03-2021

Seven Decades of Formula 1


Like any F1 Grand Prix, the seven decades of Formula 1 has been thrilling, high-octane filled and glamorous.

Here's a trip down the lane to see how our favorite sport has evolved over the last 71 years. From Fangio to Schumacher, Senna to Hamilton, we trailblaze through decades of F1 from its first race at Silverstone in 1950 right through 2021.

Decade 1 (1950-60): The Flag Off

The first world championship race took place at Silverstone in the United Kingdom in 1950.  The cars in this period were front-engined, with narrow tyres and 1.5-litre supercharged or 4.5-litre naturally aspirated engines.

Italian driver Giuseppe Farina won the inaugural world championship, that was followed by dominance of Juan Manuel Fangio who won the title in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957, a record of five World Championship titles that broken after 45 years by Michael Schumacher when he won his sixth title in 2003.

During the same period, UK’s Stirling Moss, known to be Fangio's greatest rival and the greatest F1 driver never to win a championship. Between 1955-1961, Moss finished as championship runner-up four times and in third place the other three times.

This era is also remembered for the infamous 1955 Le Mans disaster, the most catastrophic crash that killed 83 spectators and French driver Pierre Levegh.

Decade 2 (1960-70): Rear-mid engine revolution

This period witnessed a complete transformation from the front engine cars to the rear-mid engine revolution. In another major development, Lotus introduced a car with an aluminium-sheet monocoque chassis instead of the traditional space-frame design. 

British Teams & Drivers asserted their dominance in this decade. Graham Hill, Jim Clark, John Surtees and Jackie Stewart won 7 championships between them. The British team also became the first to carry advertising on their cars.

Decade 3 (1970-80):  The Consolidation

The 70's is known for the consolidation of Formula One's commercial rights rearranged by Bernie Ecclestone. The third decade also witnessed technological development in the field of aerodynamic engineering at a furious pace.

The decade started with Jochen Rindt winning the championship posthumously after he lost his life in an accident during practice for the Italian Grand Prix. Jochen remains the only posthumous F1 World Champion till date. 

F1 fans witnessed a story of sheer determination & bravery when Niki Lauda made a near-miraculous recovery to return to the Grand Prix just six weeks after a horrendous crash at Nürburgring, German Grand Prix in 1976 that left him with severe burns and in coma.

Decade 4 (1980-90): The Rise & Fall of Turbo Engines

Turbo Engines first launched in 1977, became a common phenomenon in this decade. Nelson Piquet won the 1983 title, the first-ever by a turbocharged engine.

This was followed by a period of dominance by McLaren in which they won the drivers' title in seven out of eight years with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. In 1988, Senna and Prost combined won 15 of the 16 Grand Prix. In the following season, Alain Prost & Ayrton Senna parted ways and Turbo Engines were banned too.

However, Prost & Senna now fierce rivals continued to win titles. 

Tomorrow we will discuss the remaining decades of brilliance with the emergence of Schumacher and his love affair with Ferrari. The rise and rise of Lewis Hamilton.

Which has been your favourite decade? Which was the most memorable race you witnessed. Share with us in the comments below.

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