A brief history of Formula 1, before Formula 1 existed


Hans Heyer
In a moment of boredom, i've stuck my head in book a had a look at the very, very old days of motor racing. With my brain still warm from information overload, I thought you may like to see how Formula 1 came into existence.


1861 – The first four-cycle internal combustion engine is patented.

1885 – The Benz Motorwagen is patented, it is the first ever car.

1887 – The first ever motor race is upon us! Sadly only one person turns up.

1894 – The first proper motor race is the Paris-Rouen Trial it is completed at an average speed of 19km/h

1895-1903 – Races are popping up everywhere on open roads, but this comes to a halt following the disastrous Paris-Madrid Trial, where nine people were killed, and the race abandoned.

1906 – The Grand Prix de l’ACF, is the first ever “Grand Épreuve”, and is held on a 65 mile road course outside Le Mans.

1907 – The first purpose built track in the world is Brooklands.

1907-1914 – There are four more Grand Prix de l’ACF, before they are stopped after war breaks out.

1921 – Grand Prix racing is back and it includes the Italian Grand Prix this year at Brescia.

1922 – Monza hosts its first ever Grand Prix.

1925-1927 – The ”AIACR World Manufacturers' Championship” is the first motor racing world championship. It is won by Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, and Delage.

1931 – The first “AIACR European Championship” is held with races at Spa, Monza, and Montlhéry.

1933 – The Monaco Grand Prix Grid is decided by qualifying times.

1939 – The last European Championship ends with confusion after the points system was considered to be changed, but never was. Of this period Rudolf Caracciola dominates, winning the championship 3 times.

1939 – There’s been another war, racing in Europe stops.

1946 – The FIA have standardized “Formula A” rules, the first race to be run like this is the 1946 Turin Grand Prix.



Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Nice review Tooncheese, I'm currently half way through a book called Motor Racings Strangest Races which, if you can find a copy, covers many of the events you have listed and is a fabulous read.

One important date for F1 you have neglected from you list:

28th October 1930 - Bernard Charles Ecclestone born :snigger:


Not a Moderator
Valued Member
The supercharged engines in the pre-WW2 Mercedes and Auto Unions produced in excess of 600bhp, a figure that Formula One cars didn't reach until the turbo years of the early 1980s.


Hans Heyer
However a lot of this power was wasted - The napier Railton had a 24 litre aeroplane engine, and has the lap record at brooklands, of just 145mph*.

*I cant remember exactly
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