Origins of F1 racing

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Formula one race car

The Formula racing that we see today has its origins starting all the way back to the European roads of the 1890s. Racers would drive large, heavy cars and be accompanied by a team of mechanics. The race from Paris to Bordeaux and back in 1895 is considered the first European motor race. This first race was 1,200 kilometers or 745 miles. The winner of this historical race is Émile Levassor, with a time of 48 hours.

The first time Grand Prix was used for a race was the French Grand Prix at Le Mans in 1901. In 1906 the French Grand Prix was formed to replace the Gordon Bennett races. Pits, where mechanics could labor, were first introduced in the Targa Florio in Sicily. The mechanics would mostly work with detachable rims on early Grand Prix car tires.

One car dominated the racetrack in 1914, French Grand Prix. The Mercedes of Daimler-Benz took the first three places of the race. During the same year, World War I began, and racing in Europe was halted. But during this time, any racers that weren’t fighting in the trenches were racing in the Indianapolis 500 in the USA.

Before 1921, all the winners of Grand Prix races rode European-made cars but the very first American-made car to take the trophy was a Duesenberg driven by Jimmy Murphy in the 1921 French Grand Prix at Le Mans.

In 1931, the International Grand Prix was created. This was the first international race. The regulations were that two drivers had to be in the car because of how long the race was. These races were about 10 hours long. Soon after, the great depression hit, and Grand Prix racing was at an all-time low in interest and funds.

Modern-day Formula 1 racing is quite different than how it started. It used to be driven in long races in large, heavy cars that were roundish. Now we see sleek aerodynamic cars that can reach over 200 miles per hour. Also, the races are now only about 200 miles. The older cars used to have engines in the front of the cars, while today, formula-1 cars have rear engines. The safety of drivers has also come a long way. During early Grand Prix races, drivers would wear t-shirts and leather caps with goggles, but now drivers wear hard helmets, and there are multiple other safety features in the cars. Formula racing has come a long way, and it’ll be exciting to see how much it changes in the future.