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History of Formula 1 & Formula One (Automobile Documentary)

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Formula One (the formula in the name refers to a set of rules to which all participants and cars must comply and was originally and briefly known as Formula A) can trace its roots back to the earliest days of motor racing and emerged from the buoyant European racing scene of the inter-years.

There were no shortage of privateers - drivers who operated on their own and who bought and raced their own cars. Nevertheless the formula was dominated by major pre-manufactures such as Alfa Romeo Ferrari Maserati and Mercedes Benz. Although Giuseppe ("Nino") Farina won the inaugural title the key driver in the 1950s was Juan Manuel Fangio who won the drivers' championship in 1951 1954 1955 1956 and 1957 with five different manufacturers.

It was not an easy beginning. In 1952 and 1953 the lack of entrants meant the authorities ran races to Formula Two regulations with Alberto Ascari winning the championship in both years. Of the 20 makes that competed in 1950 most were soon forced out by the cost. Only Ferrari have competed since the off. The toll in races was gruesome - 13 drivers were in F1 cars in the first decade.

Formula One automobile racing has its roots in the European Grand Prix championships of the 1920s and 1930s though the foundation of the modern Formula One began in 1946 with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile's (FIA) standardisation of rules which was followed by a World Championship of Drivers in 1950.

The sport's history parallels the evolution of its technical regulations. In addition to the world championship series non-championship Formula One races were held for many years the last held in 1983 due to the rising cost of competition. National championships existed in South Africa and the United Kingdom in the 1960s and 1970s.

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