Most of us have at least a few good memories of spending our Sunday mornings watching the Grand Prix races with our parents. Formula 1 is definitely one of the most watched sports all around the world: in 2005, for example, the Montreal Grand Prix was considered the 3rd most watched sporting event all around the world!
It has many reasons to make us dream. For some, it may be because of the beautiful and powerful cars, made by Mercedes and Ferrari. For the others, it might be the excitement of watching racers competing against each other in narrow corners. Others appreciate the beautiful girls and the crazy nightlife that comes with a Grand Prix! But most people barely know about the history of F1. Before the Montreal Grand Prix comes in June, let’s make a quick recap of how this championship started to take place.
The first championships
It is said that similar competitions took place as soon as the ’20s, but the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) wrote the rules of the F1 only in 1946. The first official championship would have taken place in 1950, with only 7 races. At that time, points were not calculated with today’s standards: amongst the seven races, a driver would have the possibility to choose his four best performances in order to improve his spot in the standings. The racer whom would complete the fastest lap during the race would also be credited with an extra point!
There were not as many teams and manufacturers implicated in the circuit. Two of the big names were Ferrari (yes, again!) and Alfa Romeo, even though the latter left the circuit very quickly.
The Schumacher’s domination
If you are a F1 lover, you absolutely have to know about Michael Schumacher, Ferrari’s champion. In 1994, he started to dominate the other drivers, thanks to his talent and the amazing racing car he had. He won 7 championships out of 10 after 1994, including 5 consecutive championships. He didn’t always play clean, though. In 1997, he purposely hit Jacques Villeneuve, his closest rival, in order to put him out of a race and make sure he would win the championship. Of course, he was disqualified and didn’t get the gold cup on that year, but this move was remembered for a very long time by many people.
Formula 1 today
The last major regulation modifications occurred in 2009: back then, the FIA was hoping to give back some prestige and popularity to its brand with quicker racers. With the economic crisis, drastic budget cuts had to be done so that all the teams would be able to stay financially viable. Another big change is regarding the different tracks that compose the championship: there have been some additions in Asia, including China, as well as a race in Bahrain. The famous Canadian Grand Prix was even withdrawn from the circuit during one year, which caused a major outcry amongst the racing fans as well as government officials and the touristic industry.