The History of F1 – A beginner’s guide to Formula One

The Bahrain Grand Prix takes place this weekend, and ahead of the 2021 F1 season kickoff, we at NetBet thought it would be great to take you through the history of the sport! Just in the Bahrain GP alone there’s been a myriad of great memories. From Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso’s legendary 2006 contest to Nico Rosberg’s and Lewis Hamilton going at it in 2014, and the carnage-filled rescheduled 2020 race that saw both Red Bulls make the podium behind the prodigious Hamilton, this weekend’s GP has had its fair share of memorable moments.

But where did it all begin? We’re going to help you find out, so that you can brush up on your knowledge before your chats with your mates during Bahrain and the rest of the 2021 calendar.

What Does F1 stand for?

Formula One (also known as Formula 1 or F1) is the highest class of international auto racing for single-seater formula racing cars sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

When did F1 begin?

There has been a debate throughout history over what constitutes the first Formula 1 race, but the first tournament under the new regulations took place on September 1st in 1946: The 1946 Turin Grand Prix. It technically took place before the ‘formula’ was officially established and put in place, but many believe it to be the first ever F1 race. Achille Varzi won in an Alfa Romeo 158 Alfetta.

In 1950, after years of development in Grand Prix racing, the FIA created the first ever official World Championship for Drivers. It has been theorised, and all but confirmed, that this came in direct response to The Motorcycle World Championships which were launched a year prior.  The championship series was held over the course of the Indianapolis 500 as well as the six Grands Prix in Europe. Initially, the tournament was dominated by Italian teams such as Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo, while other national manufacturers like Talbot from France or BRM from Britain made up the numbers. The Italian and German factory teams in those days generally would employ up to three drivers whose nationality was the same as the team’s, with a minimum of one foreign driver. In regional races, a few private cars also took part.

Who is the best F1 Driver of all time?

Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir Stirling Moss and Alain Prost could all lay claim to the title of ‘best driver of all time’, while Lewis Hamilton, while still winning GPs, could definitely not be begrudged a spot on the list. Hamilton and Schumacher have both won the World Drivers’ Championships on seven occasions, meaning they are tied for the record, while Juan Manuel Fangio is third with five titles. Schumacher also holds the record for the most consecutive drivers’ titles with five between the 2000 and the 2004 seasons. We’ve got Hamilton priced at 8/5 to win the Bahrain GP starting this weekend.

The 2021 F1 rules and regulation changes you need to know about

There were a number of rule changes made in 2020, with a much smaller set of changes to come in this year. The biggest change being brought in ahead of the 2021 calendar is the introduction of Formula 1’s first ever cost cap. It will be set this season at $145 million, with teams afforded an extra $1.2m per race in the regulations. The baseline is expected to be reduced to $140m in 2022, and $135m for 2023.

Meanwhile, the Technical Regulations now allow “flax, hemp, linen, cotton [and] bamboo” to feature in F1. There are also some minor but notable changes being made to the cars that will be visible this weekend. Winglets on the lower half of the ducts are set to be reduced in length by 40mm to 80mm, while the top winglets remain at 120mm. These winglets create downforce that is fed directly to the wheels, making them highly efficient. Regulations now also state that the whole floor must be solid and the floors will also feature triangular cutaways at their rear, which will reduce the downforce-generating surface area on cars further. Similarly, there will be a shortening of the diffuser fences which will be reduced in length by 50mm in an effort to further reduce downforce levels by making a less effective floor seal.

How do I bet on F1 Racing this year?

Here at NetBet, we have a wide variety of markets available for Bahrain and beyond, just head over to the ‘Motor Sports’ section on sport.netbet.co.uk and find all the latest prices.

2021 F1 Race Calendar

  • 28 March – Bahrain (Sakhir)
  • 11 April – China (Shanghai)
  • 25 April – TBA (TBA)
  • 9 May – Spain (Barcelona)*
  • 23 May – Monaco (Monaco)
  • 6 June – Azerbaijan (Baku)
  • 13 June – Canada (Montreal)
  • 27 June – France (Le Castellet)
  • 4 July – Austria (Spielberg)
  • 18 July – United Kingdom (Silverstone)
  • 1 August – Hungary (Budapest)
  • 29 August – Belgium (Spa)
  • 5 September – Netherlands (Zandvoort)
  • 12 September – Italy (Monza)
  • 26 September – Russia (Sochi)
  • 3 October – Singapore (Singapore)
  • 10 October – Japan (Suzuka)
  • 24 October – USA (Austin)
  • 31 October – Mexico (Mexico City)
  • 14 November – Brazil (Sao Paulo)*
  • 28 November – Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)
  • 5 December – Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi)

*Subject to contract

*Odds are subject to change.