Jump to content


Photo

Q & A Why Is It Called Formula 1?


  • Please log in to reply
30 replies to this topic

#1 DCapps

DCapps
  • Member

  • 575 posts
  • Joined: August 16

Posted 15 May 2020 - 19:30

 

On the 70th anniversary of the first official Formula 1 World Championship race, F1 Hall of Fame journalist David Tremayne explains the origins of Formula 1 as we know it.

 

(https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.why-is-it-called-formula-1-and-12-other-questions-about-the-championships.1GHeel6u4jga6hMpX2eFs1.html}

 

I never cease to be utterly astounded at the depth of my ignorance of motor sport history!

 

Although it will perhaps once again send Bira spinning at about 20K rpm while hovering about a meter or two above the ground and spitting certain words (censored expletives) at me, I was under the obviously very much mistaken impression that "first official Formula 1 World Championship race" took place at Long Beach in March of 1981....

 

How could I be so misguided and mistaken? All II did, after all, was simply to read this in the appropriate FIA Yellow Books..... Apparently, J.M. Balestre misled me once again it would seem!

 

Oh, the shame, the shame....!



Advertisement

#2 Risil

Risil
  • Administrator

  • 37,065 posts
  • Joined: February 07

Posted 15 May 2020 - 21:25

Well you do at least get this unintentional comedy:
 

The Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) was the sport’s governing body and between 1931 and 1939 it hosted the European Championship, which was a World Championship in all but name.

And geography!



#3 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Administrator

  • 36,043 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 15 May 2020 - 21:45

The FIM's Motorcycle World Championship, which started in 1949, didn't actually include a non-European round until 1961.



#4 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 3,716 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 16 May 2020 - 08:12

I never cease to be utterly astounded at the depth of my ignorance of motor sport history!

 

Although it will perhaps once again send Bira spinning at about 20K rpm while hovering about a meter or two above the ground and spitting certain words (censored expletives) at me, I was under the obviously very much mistaken impression that "first official Formula 1 World Championship race" took place at Long Beach in March of 1981....

 

How could I be so misguided and mistaken? All II did, after all, was simply to read this in the appropriate FIA Yellow Books..... Apparently, J.M. Balestre misled me once again it would seem!

 

Oh, the shame, the shame....!

 

Yes, Don, and shame on David Tremayne for perpetuating such a heinous crime. I am sure that all of us on TNF, and elsewhere, as we enjoy our motor sport,  separate in our minds 1950-1980 from 1981-present day. Thanks again for the reminder.  :wave:



#5 Izzyeviel

Izzyeviel
  • Member

  • 860 posts
  • Joined: March 16

Posted 16 May 2020 - 16:44

I'm so confused.



#6 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 3,716 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 16 May 2020 - 17:11

Izzy, these threads (there are others...) might help. 

 

 

https://forums.autos...ld championship

 

https://forums.autos...ld championship



#7 BRG

BRG
  • Member

  • 19,349 posts
  • Joined: September 99

Posted 16 May 2020 - 18:20

I'm so confused.

 

Izzy, these threads (there are others...) might help. 

 

 

https://forums.autos...ld championship

 

https://forums.autos...ld championship

Or you could try this one.  Or even this one.



#8 uechtel

uechtel
  • Member

  • 1,842 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 17 May 2020 - 14:05

Well, why fuss about truth, when it comes in the way of business.

 

But I don´t understand why celebrate history one one hand and at the same time demonstrate that one doesn´t care about history at all.



#9 DCapps

DCapps
  • Member

  • 575 posts
  • Joined: August 16

Posted 19 May 2020 - 14:49

Well, why fuss about truth, when it comes in the way of business.

 

But I don´t understand why celebrate history one one hand and at the same time demonstrate that one doesn´t care about history at all.

That might be an excellent summation regarding the relationship of history and motor sport.

 

Generally, those dwelling within the hallowed groves of Academe (whose ranks diminish every day, by the way....) apparently do not care much for either automobile or sport history (...and I speak from great personal experience on this matter...), with the combination of the two not even rising to the point where it could be dismissed as frivolous nonsense. (Although for a time in the USA it must be noted that NASCAR did attract the attention of a small band of academics resulting in some very interesting work.)

 

The Business World tends to equate "history" with "nostalgia" with the latter being seen as a marketing strategy and a means to commercialize the past.

 

For more on this notion,I suggest that you try David Lowenthal, The Past is a Foreign Country (1985) or the later edition, The Past is a Foreign Country--Revisited (2015), both Cambridge University Press.

 

Keep in mind that the termination of the world championship that came into being during the 1950 season was done for strictly commercial reasons, with the FIA now owning the commercial rights of the new world championship that began with the 1981 season.

 

It was always about money and power, these being the basis for controlling the product, with the ownership of the commercial rights facilitating that goal. See, J.M. Balestre.

 

Now, one does not have accept that one world championship ended in 1980 after 31 years and that the one created in 1981 is in its 40th season, any more than accepting the belief that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west -- just as it always did before those pesky scientists told everyone that the world is round and rotates, orbiting the sun.

 

One may believe what one wishes, but Alternate Facts (https://www.psycholo...ternative-facts) tend not to be facts.

 

It is a fact that this event happened and, as a result, served as the catalyst for significant changes in not only F-1 ©, but international motor sport.

 

As they say, the paradigm shifted, much as the tectonic plates do at times -- and with similar results.

 

At any rate, so it goes....



#10 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 3,716 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 20 May 2020 - 11:00

Don, that's an interesting reply to uechtel's post, but isn't it also slightly insulting, or at the very least patronising? 

 

You write:

 

"Now, one does not have (to?) accept that one world championship ended in 1980 after 31 years and that the one created in 1981 is in its 40th season, any more than accepting the belief that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west -- just as it always did before those pesky scientists told everyone that the world is round and rotates, orbiting the sun.

 

One may believe what one wishes, but Alternate Facts (https://www.psycholo...ternative-facts) tend not to be facts.

 

It is a fact that this event happened and, as a result, served as the catalyst for significant changes in not only F-1 ©, but international motor sport."

 

You seem to be picking a fight without any opponent. I (and probably many others) understand, in part thanks to you, the commercial and political significance of the 1981 change. But lots of us are here on the forum because we like the sport, and the history of that sport, while the history of that sport's commercial rights and politics might seem to us to be interesting, but of secondary importance. We're not saying you're wrong, we don't believe in a flat Earth, nor in 'Alternate Facts', but we think you continue to get this topic out of proportion. 

 

You can't avoid the happy fact that the forum which you helped create attracts enthusiasts, and amateur historians, who care more for the cars, teams and drivers than for the structure of the sport. As someone posted on an earlier related thread (I paraphrase...), Niki Lauda was a three-times Formula 1 World Champion, pure and simple, and I really don't care whether his third title was achieved under a new commercial régime, or not.



#11 DCapps

DCapps
  • Member

  • 575 posts
  • Joined: August 16

Posted 21 May 2020 - 00:32

Meanwhile, moving on past John's slightly insulting, or at the very least patronising comments....



#12 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 3,716 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 21 May 2020 - 08:05

I give up.



#13 BRG

BRG
  • Member

  • 19,349 posts
  • Joined: September 99

Posted 21 May 2020 - 11:33

Storm in a tea-cup.



#14 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 3,716 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 21 May 2020 - 12:02

Storm in a tea-cup.

 

"..it doesn't matter, you know it doesn't matter..."



#15 RA Historian

RA Historian
  • Member

  • 3,784 posts
  • Joined: October 06

Posted 21 May 2020 - 15:25

"..it doesn't matter, you know it doesn't matter..."

Quoting Bill Murray as Tripper in the 1979 movie "Meatballs",  "It just doesn't matter!'



#16 DCapps

DCapps
  • Member

  • 575 posts
  • Joined: August 16

Posted 21 May 2020 - 17:39

Gosh, I am truly impressed that there are those who seem to really care a great deal that it doesn't matter. Or, as usual, am I missing something...?



#17 uechtel

uechtel
  • Member

  • 1,842 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 21 May 2020 - 18:51

Well, so let´s see what celebrations will come up next:

30th May 2020 - 95 years of World Championship Grand Prix Racing (Indianapolis 1925 being the first World Championship Grand Prix ever)

15th March 2021 - 40 years of Formula 1 (the official Formula 1 World Championship that started at Long Beach in 1981)

14th May 2021 - 60 years of 'true' Formula One World Championship (in which no races to other Formulae were included any more)

25th July 2021 - 75 years of Formula One Racing (GP Valentino of 1946 being the first race run according to the technical specifications that some time later became known as Formula One)

8th June 2022 - 75 years of Formula One Racing (Swiss GP of 1947, the first Grande Epreuve run under the Formula that later became known as Formula One)

26th August 2022 - 120 years of Formula One Racing (introduction of the idea of a "Grand Prix Formula", which finally developed into Formula One)

29th March 2023 - 75 years of Formula One Racing (Pau GP 1948, the first race of the International Grand Prix Formula after the introduction of Formula 2, hence the old Formula had now turned into "International Formula no. 1")

16th May 2023 - 75 years of Formula One Racing (Monaco GP 1948, same as Pau 1948, but the first Grande Epreuve, so that Formula One was obligatory)

7th July 2023 - 115 years of Formula One Racing (the Oostende Formula being the first International Formula, direct precursor to what finally develioped into today´s Formula One)

17th January 2024 - 70 years of Formula One Racing (since then uninterruptedly use of Formua One rules for the World Championship, unlike before)

2nd April 2024 - 90 years of Formula One (the 750 kg was the re-introduction of the idea of an International Grand Prix Formula containing technical specifications, which directly and uninterruptedly developed into Formula One)

...indeed history just doesn´t really matter, as it would spoil all the fine merchandising.



#18 Charlieman

Charlieman
  • Member

  • 2,020 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 12 June 2020 - 10:24

It would be wise for the Formula One management company to pay attention to dates. Back in September 1980 when McLaren Racing merged with Project Four, a new company was formed, McLaren International (MI). MI seems to have been granted some FOCA privileges at the time (i.e. treated as a continuation of McLaren Racing) with MI participating in the 1981 non-championship race in South Africa. In more recent years, it was determined that the team started in 1980 making it younger than Williams Grand Prix Engineering (1978 as a constructor).

 

Team payments and prize money are covered in the Concorde Agreement of 1981 and its successors, none of which have been officially published. Team seniority means money each season from the Formula One management company, and owing to a choice made 40 years ago, MI seem to have missed out on millions of pounds. 

 

It can be argued that McLaren broke continuity as a legal organisation when McLaren Racing became McLaren International, and thus the calendar starts in September 1980. Alternatively, the Formula One management company believes that continuity is something which is interpreted and is flexible...



#19 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 10,115 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 18 June 2020 - 21:37

Somehow I tend to prefer down-to-earth lifelong-enthusiast chatter and sharing as opposed to faux-professorial pronouncements about detail realities which really have nothing to do with on-track competition, frontier engineering and human talent, skill and courage...

 

As background - sure - the bureaucratic and commercial niceties of 'Formula 1' or of 'Grand Prix racing' have a significance.  But of infinitely greater significance is the bald fact that once the flag drops, the bullshit stops.

 

That's always been the core interest, for me.  Am I in a minority...?

 

DCN



Advertisement

#20 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 3,716 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 18 June 2020 - 22:39

No, you're not!



#21 RogerFrench

RogerFrench
  • Member

  • 653 posts
  • Joined: February 08

Posted 19 June 2020 - 11:51

Well, if you're in a minority, then I am too.

#22 Fred Gallagher

Fred Gallagher
  • Member

  • 305 posts
  • Joined: October 02

Posted 19 June 2020 - 19:37

With you all the way Doug.



#23 BRG

BRG
  • Member

  • 19,349 posts
  • Joined: September 99

Posted 20 June 2020 - 11:45

Storm in a tea-cup.

I've always liked being in a minority!



#24 DCapps

DCapps
  • Member

  • 575 posts
  • Joined: August 16

Posted 26 August 2020 - 19:00

Well, apparently, it appears that Mike Lawrence was also thinking along similar lines, suggesting, correctly in my view, that the entire ballyhoo over the "70th anniversary" of the F1 world championship was yet another "distortion" -- Mike's choice of words -- of history.

 

Having seriously tired of storms in cracked teacups and other such things, I meant to point this out earlier, but with Mike apparently being quite unwell I thought I might find some comfort in not necessarily being alone on this. Maybe only two of us, but that would seem to constitute a distinct minority,

 

(I almost thought about commenting on something that Richard Hofstadter mentioned over 55 years ago, but decided not to, thinking about teacups and storms once again...)



#25 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 7,073 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 27 August 2020 - 12:53

I don't think there are many regulars on this forum who would disagree with Mike Lawrence's central thesis.  I did, however, raise a modest eyebrow at his statement that Indianapolis was the only time that Ascari drove a formula 1 car in 1952-53.



#26 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 3,716 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 27 August 2020 - 12:55

Don, is the Mike Lawrence piece to which you refer this article on Pitpass from early June?

 

https://www.pitpass....es_art_id=67040



#27 Eric Dunsdon

Eric Dunsdon
  • Member

  • 1,002 posts
  • Joined: February 08

Posted 27 August 2020 - 13:48

I don't think there are many regulars on this forum who would disagree with Mike Lawrence's central thesis.  I did, however, raise a modest eyebrow at his statement that Indianapolis was the only time that Ascari drove a formula 1 car in 1952-53.

And Turin 1952 and Albi in 1953.  May I also wish Mr Lawrence all the very best?.


Edited by Eric Dunsdon, 28 August 2020 - 10:23.


#28 DCapps

DCapps
  • Member

  • 575 posts
  • Joined: August 16

Posted 27 August 2020 - 18:46

 

Mike Lawrence Very Ill
Mike Lawrence, one of the world's top writers on motor racing history and who supplied the tribute article about
Sir Stirling Moss that appeared in the May 2020 issue of Vintage Metal, is very ill. Mike's three dozen books
include Brabham + Ralt + Honda, Colin Chapman Wayward Genius, March: The Rise and Fall of Motor Racing,
Cooper, The Reynard Story: From Formula Ford to Indy Champions, Grand Prix Cars 1945-1965 and The Glory of
Goodwood (co-author).
I received an email from Mike's son Mark telling me that his father was suffering from pneumonia, thrombosis,
pulmonary embolism, and lately an adverse reaction to his chemotherapy.
I first got to know Mike when we were both writing for Pitpass.com, the F1 web site around 20 years ago. He has
been a big help to me with historic facts and information when I was preparing articles on motor racing history
for Vintage Metal and other publications. He was also quick to let me know if I got it wrong, but always polite
about it.
His most recent article for Pitpass.com was called Distorting History and criticised those who claim that 2020
marks the 70th anniversary of Formula One. He is extremely pedantic about facts and you can read his article at
https://www.pitpass....torting-History to get some idea of how strongly he feels about those who
rewrite history for commercial gain.

 

This is from a good friend in West Australia who also knows Mike and worked with him at Pitpass some years ago. I knew that Mike was unwell, but not that it had gotten this bad.

 

I had to admit that reading the article that even if I were handed it for a cold read, I would have recognized Mike's work immediately. I admit to chuckling and laughing quite a bit as I read it.

 

As with all of us, Mike doesn't necessarily get everything spot on, but when he gets on a roll.... (...it is something akin to Bluto in Animal House, just go with it.)

 

At times, it seems as if Maxwell Scott and Winston Smith are now the patron saints of motor sport history.



#29 uechtel

uechtel
  • Member

  • 1,842 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 27 August 2020 - 19:32

Don, is the Mike Lawrence piece to which you refer this article on Pitpass from early June?

 

https://www.pitpass....es_art_id=67040

Quote: "Any attempt to deliberately falsify history, even something as relatively trivial as motor racing, is a crime against what humankind aspires to be."

 

Can not agree more with this and the rest of the article!

 

I don´t know Mike Lawrence personally, but I have a number of his books. I hope very much, that he will overcome his disease and get well again soon!



#30 Michael Ferner

Michael Ferner
  • Member

  • 5,452 posts
  • Joined: November 09

Posted 28 August 2020 - 08:46

Very sorry to hear of Mike Lawrence's illness. He's an excellent writer, and a very knowledgable motor sport historian. Hopefully, he'll pull though!



#31 Eric Dunsdon

Eric Dunsdon
  • Member

  • 1,002 posts
  • Joined: February 08

Posted 28 August 2020 - 10:33

And Turin 1952 and Albi in 1953.  May I also wish Mr Lawrence all the very best?.

In  the late 1970's I used to scribble for the local press and radio and was a regular at Silverstone meetings which is where I first met Mr Lawrence who was always very friendly and helpful and I used to look forward to those very enjoyable and amusing  afternoons in the old Press box overlooking Woodcote Corner. Once again I would like to offer my very best wishes to him for a speedy return to good health. Mikes  race summaries in the Brooklands Books Mille Miglia history are a joy and I still have a wonderful article that he once wrote about the great Luigi Fagioli.


Edited by Eric Dunsdon, 28 August 2020 - 10:46.