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13 May 2012

On this day in history: First Formula One Championship race, 1950

Following the conclusion of hostilities in Europe in 1946, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) standardised the rules of automobile racing. The FIA tasked their Commission Sportive Internationale (CSI) with defining Formula A, the premier single-seater category. By the time of the first drivers championship in 1950, the name of the category had become Formula One.

Each of the six European stages of the inaugural Formula One Championship took the title of Grand Prix, the name used to describe the blue-ribbon motor races before the Second World war; the Indianapolis 500 was included as a stage but only U.S. teams and drivers competed there. The first stage was the British Grand Prix held on 13th May 1950, which involved seventy laps of the Silverstone Circuit, on the Northamptonshire/Buckinghamshire border. The spectators, including King George VI, watched the Italian Nino Farina win in an Alfa Romeo 158, known as the Alfetta.

Farina went on to win the Drivers Championship after having won three races. His Argentinian teammate, the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio, came second having also won three races. Another Alfa Romeo driver, Luigi Fagioli, came third after finishing in second place in four Grands Prix, including the British Grand Prix.

Related posts
First gasoline-driven automobile patented: 29th January 1886
First Volvo car produced: 14th April 1927
First man to drive an automobile at over 300 mph: 3rd September 1935
Juan Fangio kidnapped in Cuba: 23rd February 1958

Also on this day in history
French workers joined student protest, 1968