Gallery: The first Formula 1 race – the 1950 British Grand Prix
Today (May 13th) is Formula 1's 70th Birthday! Yes, it was seven decades ago on this very day that the cars left the line for the first race that would count toward the Formula 1 World Championship for Drivers.
Officially given the title 'The Royal Automobile Club Grand Prix d'Europe Incorporating The British Grand Prix' the race was held over 70 laps around a slightly different version of Silverstone than we see today. It was, as my colleageue Andrew Frankel explains, a very dull race in terms of competition. Alfa Romeo turned up with its voiturettes that had dominated pre-war and, against a pretty rag-tag mob of ERAs, Altas and more, dominated again. In fact eventual victor Nino Farina, and team-mates Luigi Fagioli and Reg Parnell, finished two laps clear of everyone else.
But in reality the competitive element (of which there was none) was not the important factor. World Championship racing was back after the war, and would forever be different – Formula 1 had been born. And the 150,000 spectators who packed into Silverstone's windy surrounds that day could say that they were there for one of the most important races in history.