Formula One’s 1000th Grand Prix is finally here, 69 years on from its maiden race at Silverstone back in 1950 as China is set to host such honour.
In a period where records have been broken continuously, moments to go down in history created as teams, drivers also engineers have come and gone, it is obvious how Formula One has reached this stage and why people continue to watch the drama.
From Giuseppe Farina becoming the first ever World Champion in 1950, to Nico Rosberg entering his name as the 33rd title winner in 2016, the sport has presented many breath-taking moments, but how exactly did Formula One get to its 1000th race?
The early years
Hosting seven races in its inaugural season, Silverstone held the honour of hosting the first in May 1950 as Farina drove out victorious for Alfa Romeo, in both the British Grand Prix and the championship.
However, the early stages of the sport were dominated by the so-called ‘Godfather of Formula One’ as Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio, claimed his five championships during the 1950s.
Such feat wouldn’t be achieved again until Michael Schumacher did so in 2002.
With regulations in place during the 1950s of 2.5 litre engines, companies such as Ferrari, Mercedes and Alfa Romeo excelled, however the United Kingdom then had its say following its maiden champion in 1958 becoming the catalyst for Britain’s success.
Following Mike Hawthorn’s title win in 1958, in all but seven of the championships between 1958 and 1999, a driver won the title for a British manufacturer.
Whether it was Sir Jackie Stewart in the Tyrell, Ayrton Senna in the McLaren, Nigel Mansell in the Williams or even Michael Schumacher in the Benetton, it was evident which country ruled the Formula One paddock.
As Britain’s car industry thrived during the latter 20th century added with the world’s leading engineers, this was reflected on the grid as Tyrell, Lotus, Williams and McLaren took centre stage, to showpiece some of the most enthralling cars and title wins the sport has seen.
Dominating in the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren and Williams took it to a whole new level for Britain in the following two decades.
With legends of the sport such as Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Mika Hakkinen winning for either team in this period, Britain was the epicentre of motorsport as 16 of the constructor championships between 1980 and 1999 were won by either McLaren or Williams.
Although, the same perhaps could not be said about present day with Mercedes and Ferrari dominating the front row and Williams now struggling at the back week in, week out – it really has been the significant fall of a once, great giant.
Following the success witnessed by British manufactures, Ferrari managed to get their act together and fight at the front row once again – although British engineer, Ross Brawn, was vital to such Ferrari brilliance.
With Michael Schumacher winning the title every year for the Scuderia between 2000 and 2004, the German eventually eclipsed Fangio’s title tally and showcased his greatness to win seven titles and 91 Grand Prix’s, still the most of any driver present day.
However, Renault and Fernando Alonso then put an end to this to win the championship in 2005 and ’06 but the only two titles Alonso won, despite his sheer raw talent.
With the Spaniard unable to then add to his tally, teams such as Red Bull and Mercedes became the new McLaren and Williams, added with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
As Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button all claimed a title each between 2007 to 2009, Adrian Newey, Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull car then became unstoppable for four straight years.
Due to Newey’s brilliance providing Vettel a scintillating car, this enabled the German to claim four straight championships, highlighting how Newey can engineer title winning cars in many different generations – following his success with Williams and McLaren in the 1990s.
Although, Hamilton, Toto Wolff and Mercedes have since took centre stage to hold off Vettel with Mercedes winning five straight constructor titles and the Brit winning four himself in this period, as it now looks increasingly likely that he could eclipse Schumacher in title wins, needing two more to tie.
Already with 1000 gone, the future of Formula One looks to be in safe hands as Hamilton remains in his prime added with incredible young and upcoming drivers in Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
So here is to the next 1000.
First seen on Formula 1