Why Is It Called Formula 1? (All You Need to Know)

Last Updated on July 6, 2022 by Chad Y. Paiz

Formula 1 is a popular sports genre renowned globally. The rules of this game are stringent and only allow for the best cars to race. The name not only stems from these rules but also from the fact that this is one of the top racing categories under FIA, representing some of the most advanced and fastest cars in all racing competitions worldwide.

Car racing is fast becoming a popular sport, thus the unmatched fame of the formula one sport. The beautiful sport has its roots in the United Kingdom, where it was inaugurated on January 25th, 1950. During the inauguration year, only one race took place between the practitioners.

Fast forward to 1975, Formula One was founded and was known as the FIA Formula One World Championship. The first world championship occurred on October 13th, when UK, Belgium, and France drivers competed for a cup trophy.

Currently, Multiple races called Grand Prix are hosted for a season. They are called Formula One because they follow a set of rules. All teams participating in these events should strictly stick to the rules. The races are run on race tracks that range from grades 1-5, with number one being the best.

How Did Formula 1 Start?

How did Formula 1 really start

After the Second World War, The Commission Sportive Internationale (CSI) gathered to discuss the idea of reviving road racing. We know this wasn’t an easy task since only a few countries organized and held races during wartime. It is also known that CSI stood for the sporting arm of AIACR (The Automobile International Federation) back in 1946.

Augustin Perouse was voted president of this sport’s governing body and began devising new regulations to create a more modest race car formula that would be less expensive for teams to run. It is true even today that Augustin’s name is well known in formula one circles for a good reason, as he contributed significantly towards improving road racing competitions.

Another well-known name in the sport is Marquis Antonio Brivio-Sforza. He was a former Grand Prix racer and organized the Italian Grand Prix in 1926. He is the man responsible for proposing the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) creation. This forerunner of today’s world governing body of motorsport was created in Paris on June 20th, 1904, by car directors from France, Belgium, Germany, and Italy.

After a few months of going back and forth about the event name, it was decided that the term ‘formula’ best represented this type of world racing tournament. The decision became apparent when one considered that there was already Formula 2 (a series for Formula 1 drivers that are preparing to step into Formula 1 directly) and an annual Formula 3 race (Formula 3 being a junior formula series open to anyone aged 15 up to 20 years with cheap budgets). Registering an event under the name ‘Formula Internationale’ was also disallowed in case there were two events with the same name.

Why is it called Formula 1?

Why is it called Formula 1

In 1946, the CSI decided that the title ‘formula’ was an appropriate way to represent their racing category. They chose this designation because it encompasses a strict set of rules that mandates most aspects of the sport. It also refers to how you can solve or express one variable based on another variable. It is an algebraic formula because it is used to find unknown numerical values when other variables are given constraints (in this case, being regulated by race officials). So, eventually, drivers called their category Formula 1, and it stuck!

However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that Formula One racing began to skyrocket, partly due to a decade-long rivalry between F1 champions James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Only after Lauda nearly lost his life during a fire race did many realize the dangerous potential and excitement of the sport. The event caused greater attention among fans, new sponsorships, and partnerships with major automobile manufacturers to form competitive teams.

Both the F2 and the F3 feeder series were synonymous with Formula 1. They independently organized events, which attracted a lot of fans. Recently, a new and extreme racing series was launched by France. It was called Formula E (or FE) and had only electric cars. Compared to other motorsports, it’s been doing pretty well as an “Indie” league. These races happen in well-known locations like Monaco or Great Britain and places like Hong Kong and Paris.

Formula 1 current rules

The rules and regulations have been updated over the years. Here are some of the rules observed currently:

  • A Ferrari must weigh more than 801 kg, not exceed 905 mm in width, height, or length (wheelbase), and ground clearance of 150 mm.
  • The engine must be a V6 with cylinders with a volume not exceeding 2400 cm3.
  • Fuel will be limited to 220 liters for every race.

Formula 1 racing is just like baking. New advancements are added every week to ensure that things run smoothly, rules are followed, and millions of fans worldwide can enjoy the race. Modern racing is not just about who drives the most laps and who wins – it’s also about what they wear while driving.

Related Article: What Effect Would Racing Fuel Have On A Normal Street Car? (Find Out Now!)

Frequently Asked Questions

What were the basic rules of Formula 1?

Most cars featured a naturally aspirated engine with 4.5 liters of displacement. Turbocharged engines were limited to only 1.5 liters of displacement until 1954 when the rules changed and allowed for more capacity and supercharging.

Did Car Racing Exist Before Formula 1?

The event was initially referred to as the European Grand Prix. Although the name had ‘European,’ they were essentially world-ranking events. The AIACR ran the series and ensured a competition, however small or large, all around the world. They didn’t stop until World War II erupted and ended their reign over their championship races. Only then was the history of Formula 1 officially born!

Who won the first Formula 1 World Championship?

The first Formula 1 World Champion was crowned in 1950 at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo after coming out on top in a controversial race staged at the tight and twisting Autodromo Nazionale Monza in which he beat his teammate Juan Manuel Fangio by just four seconds. The Argentina man returned to win the following year’s title and the next two. He set a record for championship wins with four consecutive titles, which stood for 45 years until the Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna won five in succession between 1988 and 1993.

In the early days, many manufacturers raced their own cars against each other to prove their dominance in the market. These manufacturers included companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Maserati. Their cars all played a role as pioneering models that helped pave the way for modern racing technology. The earliest models featured front-mounted supercharged 1.5-liter engines or 4.5-liter naturally aspirated engines, which were very competitive in their days.

Final Thoughts 

The Formula 1 race has a deep and fascinating history. Since its inception in 1950, the sport has evolved to its current state. One notable thing about formula one sport is that it has stringent rules that all competitors must observe. Many fans globally love the race. They constantly crave the next competition to witness how drivers exhibit their skills.

Reference 1: Why is it called Formula 1 – and 12 other questions about the championship’s origins | Formula 1®

Reference 2: Formula One – Wikipedia

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