The FIA Formula One World Championship, also known as Formula 1 or just F1, is the highest class of auto racing regulated by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). The F1 Championship is an event held throughout the world with a series of Grand Prix racing events on circuits build for this purpose. There are two World Championships for drivers and constructors, with a combined race result and two trophy awarded champions.
The European Grand Prix motor racing is the cornerstone of F1, an organized race for automobiles started in France in 1894. At first it was a simple race on town roads, but it developed into endurance tests for drivers and cars reaching more than 100 miles ( 160 km/h) per hour. There were many accidents and fatalities because of the open roads.
In 1946 the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile standardized the rules and the Grand Prix racing became Formula One. In 1950 the first World Drivers’ Championship took place. The term Grand Prix is still used for every event.
The French Grand Prix
France, the birthplace of the Grand Prix held the races in locations like Tours, Lyon, Le Mans, Strasbourg, Miramas and in 1931 in Montlhéry, an oval and road course circuit. The 1934 Montlhéry race between Alfa Romeo, Mercedes and German Auto Union is a classic, won by Luis Chiron in his Alfa Romeo. The last location before World War II was Reims, in 1939.
Lyon hosted the first post-war race in 1947 but Reims remained as a permanent location for the French Prix until 1966. In 1958,one of the most famous Grand Prix racing events was won by Mike Hawthorne. It was the last run for his team mate Luigi Musso who suffered a fatal accident. The next year Hawthorne retired and few months later he died in a car accident.
Most memorable drivers
Michael Schumacher is one of the greatest F1 drivers in the world, with the record for 91 races won, the most Grand Prix victories. The retired German racer is a seven-time champion and hold records for points scored, pole positions and fastest laps.
Alain Prost is second with 51 wins followed by Brazilian Ayrton Senna, 41 wins. Kimi-Matias Räikkönen won the 2007 Formula One World Drivers’ Championship and has a total of 20 wins, the same as Mika Häkkinen, a two-time champion Finish driver. Sebastian Vettel is the youngest winner of a Grand Prix, with a total of 28 wins. He is also the youngest consecutive and double champion.