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Origin of Formula 1


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#1 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 08:16

Over the years, I have tried to find the origin of the term Formula 1 and when it was used officially for the first time. As far as I know, at the end of 1946 the CSI (Commission Sportive Internationale) of the newly instituted FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) had introduced Formula A for grand prix cars, coming officially into force from 1948 on but was applied already in 1947. In 1950, the FIA established their World Championship of drivers, keeping Formula A as the formula for grand prix cars but renaming it Formula 1 from 1950 on.

Therefore, if above holds true, all GP races from 1947 to 1949 were run to Formula A and NOT to Formula 1. Your comments and opinions about this topic will be greatly appreciated.


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#2 Joe Fan

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 08:46

This is a real beef with me. The 1947, 1948 and 1949 seasons had the same regs as the 1950 and 1951 seasons and virtually all the drivers and teams carried over from 1947-49 seasons to the 1950 season. When it gets right down to it, there really wasn't much different between the 1947-49 seasons as the 1950-51 seasons other than the description as F1 World Championship over a European Championship and the designation of WDC (which I ask has there ever really been a true WDC?). But yet the FIA does not recognize and retroactively include these stats from the 1947-49 seasons into F1's history like I passionately feel that they should. If they did, Jean-Pierre Wimille would be two time WDC for the 1947 and 1948 seasons and Alberto Ascari would have been WDC in the 1949 using the point system in place for the first few season in F1.

#3 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 09:15

Joe,
Thank you for your opinion. Do you say the 1947 to 1949 races were run to Formula A or Formula 1?



#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 13:41

Why stop at 1947?
There was an official championship in the pre-war years, but the title was 'European'... was that not good enough?
And wasn't there an African race that counted to that title?

#5 Joe Fan

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 13:49

Hans, I can't answer your question regarding whether or not the 1947-49 seasons were Formula A. I have heard the term before but Don Capps or Karl Ludvigsen are probably the men who could answer that question. However, here are the comparisons between the the 1947-1949 seasons and the 1950-51 seasons.

1947-1949
4500 cc normally aspirated and 1500 cc supercharged maximum engine capacity.

Circuits raced at:
1947: Bremgarten, Spa, Milan, Lyon, Monte Carlo
1948: Monte Carlo, Bremgarten, Reims, Turin, Silverstone
1949: Silverstone, Spa, Bremgarten, Reims, St. Gaudens, Monza, Brno

1950-51
4500 cc normally aspirated and 1500 cc supercharged maximum engine capacity

Circuits raced at:
1950: Silverstone, Monte Carlo, Indianapolis, Bremgarten, Spa, Reims, Monza
1951: Bremgarten, Indianapolis, Spa, Reims, Silverstone, Nurburgring, Monza, Pedralbes

Cars that raced in the 1949 season and in F1's first season in 1950 (there may be a few others):
Ferrari 125
Lago-Talbot T26C
Lago-Talbot T26C-GS
Maserati 4CLT/48

Others that differed from 1949 to 1950:
1949 ERA B type in 1949--ERA C and E Type in 1950. A ERA B type did race in the 1950 season opener at Silverstone.

Simca-Gordini T8 IN 1949--Simca-Gordini 15 in 1950.


Drivers who raced in the 1949 season and in F1's first season(note: there may be more than listed):

Alberto Ascari
Luigi Villoresi
Louis Rosier
Philippe Etancelin
Guiseppe Farina
Juan Manuel Fangio
Raymond Sommer
Peter Whitehead
B Bira
Emanuel de Graffenreid
Cuth Harrison
Henri Louveau
Johnny Claes
Pierre Levegh
Franco Cortese
Peter Walker
Bob Gerard
David Hampshire
Eugene Chaboud

So I ask the question, what was really that different from these seasons when compared to the first two F1 seasons? Nothing that I can find other than the inclusion of the Indianapolis 500 which very few Grand Prix drivers took part in.



#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 14:58

Perhaps they thought that there were too few races in that initial year or two to justify a championship?

#7 Marco94

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 15:20

Hans,

In his book about the history of grand prix racing, Adriano Cimarosti says the first use of the term "Formula 1" was in 1947. This did apparently not involve the WDC as we know it since 1950. I'll look into it within a few days and see what Cimarosti said exactly.

BTW, the latest edition is from 1997 or 1998 and can still be bought, also in German.

Marco.

#8 AUSTRIA

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 15:23

Hi Hans!

A few month ago exactly that was my question! Here I summarize the results of my investigations:

Early in the year 1946 the FIA intoduced the rules for the new 'Formula A' to be started with the beginning of the 1947-season !

But the organisers of the Valentino-GP decided to run their race according to those new rules already in 1946. Further the organizers of Circuito di Milano and of the GP du Salon (Paris) followed doing the same. So there were three races in 1946, based on the formula A rules, thought there was no official formula A in that year!

Formula A was not existing before 1946, although some authors say so! The name was changed to 'Formula 1' late in 1947 and generally being referred to as such by late 1948. Only a very few still referred to it as Formula A by 1949 - and even the FIA finally caved in that year.

In 1948 the FIA added 'Formula B' and it was universally called 'Formula 2' by the spring of 1949.

Later (1950) 'Formula 3' (500ccm unsupercharged) followed, but never was named 'Formula C' first.

E.T.


#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 15:42

A consequent question is: In Britain, where the 500cc movement got under way very quickly after the war, was it called F3 then? Or did they call it by the FIA clas grouping for the capacity (can't look that up now, but the classes for records etc)?

Also, we musn't forget that it was no new formula, but one which had existed pre-war as the voiturette category.

#10 AUSTRIA

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 16:06

Ray !

The 500cc class never was very important before 1950. The lower classes pre-war were 1500cc (Voiturettes), 1100cc (often called cyclecars, only in the years 1926 and 1927 called Voiturettes - when 1500cc was the GP-class), and 750cc (without great importance). So you can say, F3 was a new sort of racing in 1950. And it was called 'Formula 3' from its beginning.

E.T.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 16:33

My point was the British F3 movement, which Stirling Moss was a part of in 1948 and which was well in train in 1947, perhaps even in 46. So strong was it that I read in Australian Motor Sports of that era about the movement here, which was based on what was happening in England, and even of one competitor planning to build a car and take it to England...
Maybe it was known as Class H (I think 500cc is H)?

#12 Roger Clark

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 19:19

I think that 500cc racing started in Britain immediately after the war, more or less spontaneously. THere were engines available and the Coopers and others spotted an opportunity. THe FIA/CSI first recognised the class as Formula 3 in 1950. Bafore that, I very much doubt whether anybody worried about a name; it was just 500cc racing cars.

#13 John Cross

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 19:57

Here are some relevant extracts from a few books:

The 'Autocourse 50 Years' book says:

"Before the war. a change in Formula A regulations - effectively Formula 1 - had been pencilled in for 1941. These rules would call for 4.5-litre unsupercharged or 1.5-litre supercharged engines, and in 1945 the newly titled FIA quickly adopted these regulations for those who felt able to take part."

Hodges' 'A-Z of Formula Racing Cars' says:

"...the term formula being used as it became universally accepted after the second world war. ... By 1947 ... the Formula A that had been framed for 1941 (was) promulgated as Formula 1". He also says that this Formula ran until the end of 1953, and the 1952-53 World Championship was the only one to be held for Formula 2. So 'Formula 1' and 'Grand Prix' and 'World Championship' are certainly not synonymous (of course, the Indy 500 was part of the WC for a few years).

Nye's 1945-65 GP Car book says that:

During the Paris Show in October 1947, the FIA confirmed that the existing fait accaimpli of 1.5/4.5 should apply for Grand Prix racing until the end of 1953. They also adopted a new voiturette formula of 500cc/2-litre. To differentiate these two Formulae, the Grand Prix class was referred to as Formula A, the voiturette class as Formula B. They were to become better known as Formula 1 and Formula 2.

Cimarosti says that:

At the end of 1946, the newly formed FIA decided to establish new rules for Grand Prix racing, and for the first time the term 'Formula One' was used.

So, there isn't total agreement among these sources and none of them say when the term 'Formula A' was superceded by 'Formula 1'. Maybe Karl can help us?

BTW, just to make you guys jealous, I have won a trip to the Italian GP :lol:

#14 Joe Fan

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Posted 02 August 2000 - 21:28

Personally myself, after reading all the replies in combination with my own information, I think Formula One was Formula One in 1947 and referred to as such but it wasn't officially recognized by the FIA as Formula One until 1950. Does anyone find that the inclusion of the Indianapolis 500 in 1950 to be a bit peculiar here since this season is recognized as F1's first season?

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 August 2000 - 01:33

You'll probably find that Indy was included to make it look more like the 'World' Championship they called it.
By 1961, when it was dropped, there was a US GP and moves were afoot to get into Mexico and South Africa, even Australia would have looked a possibility with the opening of Warwick Farm.

#16 Darren Galpin

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Posted 03 August 2000 - 07:14

I've just started reading the Mike Lawrence book on Cooper (we have a surprisingly good local library here), and it says that 500cc racing started in 1946/47, with the first races at Gransden Lodge and Brough Airfield, Stirling Moss and Eric Brunsdon being some of the first drivers. It was sometimes known in the newspapers as Midget racing. It was originally ignored by the continental European drivers, but on its first year of "International F3", the Cooper's won everything. The Italians then set up their own series with 750cc engines rather than 500cc.