The beginnings of Formula One actually hails from the 1920s and ‘30s, back during the European Grand Prix Championships – a driving competition that goes back even further, to around 1894! It wasn’t until 1946, however, that the modern Formula One competition started to take shape. Back then, the Italian manufacturers such as Maserati, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo dominated the championships. However, it didn’t take long before the British independent specialist teams had overtaken the big Italian names. Lotus, McLaren and Williams were teams set up solely to produce competitive open-wheel racing cars, and by the 1960s the Brits started to take the lead. However, it wasn’t just the manufacturers who were getting all the glory – the racers started to become the real stars of the show. In fact, F1 drivers were becoming celebrities in their own right, with many fans opting to support a driver as opposed to just a team.
Formula One, as a competition, has evolved significantly over the decades. In fact, new regulations and technological developments seem to be brought in year after year. But, does having the best car necessarily mean you’re going to win the World Championship? Not necessarily. It’s all to do with the driver and how well they can handle the pressure. Flying around the tracks at speeds of up to 233 mph, these drivers are serious professionals. One wrong move and they could be skidding off the track and seeing their Championship dreams disappear in front of their eyes. Or worse, as was the case with the racing legend, Ayrton Senna, during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. While his tragic accident shook the racing community to the core, it also led to advancements that ensured cars were safer and more sturdy. In fact, many drivers have played a part in the development of their cars, making the F1 vehicles some of the most technologically advanced in the world.
Over the years, there have been some incredible Formula One stars, who have proven that they have what it takes to win the World Championship title, time and time again. Careful training and the ability to handle the pressure has ensured some of these drivers are the best in the world. However, what happens when they hang up their helmet for the last time? Are they sworn off driving for the rest of their lives? Or does the thrill of the track keep pulling them back for more? Here are some of the world’s best F1 stars – then and now.
[post_page_title]Jackie Stewart then[/post_page_title]
Jackie Stewart, nicknamed ‘The Flying Scot,’ started his racing career back in 1964, racing for Tyrell in the Formula Three competition. Within days of his first race, Cooper offered him a place in Formula One, but he declined. He wanted to build up his experience before moving up to the F1. Eventually, he joined Owen Racing Organisation as an F1 driver and would go on to win three World Drivers’ Championships.