The first Formula One World Championship Grand Prix race took place at the Silverstone circuit in England.
Formula One racing can trace its origins back to the European Grand Prix championships that took place in the 1920s and 1930s. Racing was put on hold following the outbreak of the Second World War, but restarted again at its conclusion. 1946 saw the development of a set of standardised rules for cars and drivers that were collectively referred to as Formula One, and plans began to be made for a drivers’ championship.
Although numerous races took place throughout the year, the Championship would only record the results of the British, Swiss, Monaco, Belgium, French and Italian Grand Prix alongside the Indianapolis 500 in the United States of America. Points were to be awarded to the top five finishers of each race, and each driver’s best four results were used to determine their overall championship position.
The first race of the World Championship took place at the Silverstone circuit on the border of Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire. An estimated 200,000 spectators travelled to the circuit to watch eleven out of the 21 qualifying competitors finish the inaugural Championship race, which was dominated by Alfa Romeo’s drivers who secured the top three finishing positions. King George VI, his wife Queen Elizabeth, and their daughter Princess Margaret were also in attendance.
The race winner was Italian driver Giuseppe Farina, who finished 2.6 seconds ahead of his teammate Luigi Fagioli. Farina went on to finish the year as the first official Formula One World Champion with a total of 30 points.