The Car

F1 History

The Formula 1 World Championship started in 1950 with the first race being held at Silverstone, Great Britain. In these early days, the length of the race was 300Km or 3 hours. The cars could have engines up to 4500cc normally aspirated, or 1500cc supercharged. The points system was somewhat different than it is today with 8-6-4-3-2 points being awarded to the top five drivers, with an extra point for the driver with the fastest lap time. Drivers were allowed to share cars with the points being divided accordingly. Only the best four results counted towards the world championship standings.

In 1952/53, world championship races were held with Formula 2 style cars due to the insufficient number of Formula 1 cars. Engines were 2000cc normally aspirated or 500cc supercharged.

1954 saw the re-introduction of Formula 1 cars. The maximum engine sizes were now 2500cc normally aspirated or 750cc supercharged. The points system was changed so that the best five results in a year counted towards the championship standings. Things stayed fairly constant until 1958 when it was ruled that drivers could no longer share cars in a race. To compensate, the race length was changed to 300 and 500 Km with a maximum race length of two hours. The points system changed yet again with the best six races counting.

There were more changes on the way and in 1960, the extra point for the fastest lap was removed. 1961 saw the introduction of a minimum dry weight for the car, and body work restrictions stopped enclosed wheels. The points also changed again to 9-6-4-3-2 -1 for the first six finishers.

The maximum engine size changed again in 1966 to 3000cc normally aspirated or 1500cc supercharged, and in 1972 the restriction of a maximum of 12 cylinders per engine was introduced.

In 1983 more aerodynamic changes were imposed mandating a flat underside to the car. Three years later the engines specification changed again to a maximum of 1500cc supercharged or turbocharged with no other restrictions. This only lasted a few years before a maximum of 3500cc normally aspirated only was introduced in 1989 thus bring to the end the 'turbo period'.

1994 saw the next set of changed after Ayrton Senna's death. More aerodynamic restrictions were imposed and the airbox was revised in an attempt to reduce engine power. A 10cm stepped flat bottom was also introduced to slow down the cars.

The points system continuously changed up to 1984 when it stabilised at the best 11 results out of the 16 races. This remain until 1991 when all restrictions were removed and the points from all 16 races counted - this is what we have today.

Now we have a 3000cc normally aspirated engine as a maximum, but the airbox restrictions have been removed. The traction control and self levelling suspension systems of the early 1990 's have been band, and further new rules are planned for 1997/98.

Of these, the most noticeable is the planned introduction of grooved tyres to reduce grip in cornering and thus speed. It has been suggest that this may lead to some of the aerodynamic restriction being removed. The thinking being that if cars get too fast again, another groove can be introduced.


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