1950 Formula One season

The 1950 Formula One season was the fourth season of the FIA's Formula One motor racing. It featured the inaugural FIA World Championship of Drivers,[1] which commenced on 13 May and ended on 3 September, as well as several non-championship races. The championship consisted of six Grand Prix races, each held in Europe and open to Formula One cars, plus the Indianapolis 500, which was run to AAA National Championship regulations. Giuseppe Farina won the championship from Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli.[1]

black and white photo of Nino Farina wearing an open-faced helmet
Italian Giuseppe "Nino" Farina won the World Championship of Drivers, driving for the dominant Alfa Romeo team

Championship summaryEdit

Alfa Romeo won six of the seven championship races with its 158

The inaugural World Championship of Drivers saw Alfa Romeo dominate with their supercharged 158, a well-developed pre-war design that debuted in 1938; this car won all six championship Grands Prix in 1950. All of the Formula One-regulated races in the championship were run in Europe. The Indianapolis 500 (which, unlike all the other races, was staged on an oval) was run to American AAA regulations, not FIA Formula One regulations, and none of the regular drivers who competed in Europe competed in the 500, and vice versa. Alfa Romeo drivers consequently dominated the championship with Italian Giuseppe "Nino" Farina edging out Argentine teammate Juan Manuel Fangio because of his fourth place in Belgium. Although the Indianapolis 500, which ran to different regulations, was included in the World Championship each year from 1950 to 1960, it attracted very little European participation and, conversely, very few American Indianapolis drivers entered any Grands Prix.

Championship points were awarded to the top five finishers in each race on an 8–6–4–3–2 basis, and 1 point was awarded for the fastest lap of each race. Points for shared drives were divided equally between the drivers, regardless of how many laps each driver completed during the race. Only the best four results from the seven races could be retained by each driver for World Championship classification.

Race 1: BritainEdit

The Alfa Romeo team dominated the British Grand Prix at the fast Silverstone circuit in England, locking out the four-car front row of the grid. With King George VI in attendance, Giuseppe Farina won the race from pole position, also setting the fastest lap. The podium was completed by his teammates Luigi Fagioli and Reg Parnell, while the remaining Alfa driver, Juan Manuel Fangio, was forced to retire after experiencing problems with his engine. The final points scorers were the works Talbot-Lagos of Yves Giraud-Cabantous and Louis Rosier, both two laps behind the leaders.[2]

Race 2: MonacoEdit

Scuderia Ferrari made their World Championship debut around the streets of Monaco. Their leading drivers, Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari had to settle for the third row of the grid, however, while the Alfa Romeos of Fangio and Farina again started from the front row, alongside the privateer Maserati of José Froilán González. Polesitter Fangio took a comfortable victory, setting the race's fastest lap, a whole lap ahead of Ascari, with the third-placed Louis Chiron a further lap back in the works Maserati. A first-lap accident caused by the damp track had eliminated nine of the nineteen starters—including Farina and Fagioli—while González, who had incurred damage in the pile-up, retired on the following lap. Villoresi, although delayed by the accident, had made his way through the field to second place but was forced to retire with an axle problem. Fangio's win brought him level with Farina in the points standings.[3]

Race 3: Indianapolis 500Edit

The Indianapolis 500, the third round of the inaugural World Championship of Drivers held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States, was won by the Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser of Johnnie Parsons, ahead of the Deidt-Offenhausers of Bill Holland and Mauri Rose. The race was stopped after 138 of the scheduled 200 laps due to rain.[4]

Race 4: SwitzerlandEdit

Alfa Romeo's dominance continued when the World Championship returned to Europe for the Swiss Grand Prix at the tree-lined Bremgarten circuit outside Bern. Fangio, Farina, and Fagioli locked out the front row of the grid for Alfa, while the Ferraris of Villoresi and Ascari started from the second row. Fangio was the initial leader, starting from pole position, but Farina passed him on lap seven. Ascari and Villoresi were both able to compete with the third Alfa of Fagioli in the early stages, although both had retired by the ten-lap mark. Farina took the win and the fastest lap, finishing just ahead of Fagioli, while Rosier, in third place due to Fangio's retirement, took Talbot-Lago's first podium. Farina's second win of the season put him six points clear of the consistent Fagioli, while Fangio was a further three points behind, having only scored points in one race (in Monaco, where he won).[5]

Race 5: BelgiumEdit

Alfa Romeo took their third front row lockout of the season at the Belgian Grand Prix at the speedy 8.7 miles (14.0 km) Spa-Francorchamps circuit, while the Ferrari of Villoresi shared the second row with the privateer Talbot-Lago of Raymond Sommer. The Alfas were once again untouchable at the start of the race, but when they stopped for fuel, Sommer emerged as an unlikely race leader. His lead, however, was short-lived, and he was forced to retire when his engine blew up. Fangio ultimately took the victory, ahead of Fagioli, who again finished second. Rosier again made the podium in his Talbot-Lago. He had been able to pass the polesitter Farina when the Italian picked up transmission problems towards the end of the race. It was not all bad for Farina, however, as he picked up the point for fastest lap. Fagioli and Fangio closed the gap to Farina in the points standings—Fagioli was just four points adrift, while Fangio was a further point behind.[6]

Race 6: FranceEdit

At Reims-Gueux, Alfa Romeo was largely unchallenged at the French Grand Prix at the high-speed Reims-Gueux circuit due to the withdrawal of the works Ferraris of Ascari and Villoresi. The Alfas produced yet another lockout of the front row of the grid, with Fangio taking pole for the third time in six races. The power of the Alfas suited this public road circuit- made up entirely of long straights, and Farina, starting from second, led for the first quarter of the race before fuel problems put him to the back of the field. He fought back to third before he was forced to retire (he was ultimately classified seventh). Fangio picked up the fastest lap on his way to his second consecutive victory. Fagioli finished second for the fourth time out of five starts, while Peter Whitehead, in a privateer Ferrari, took a maiden podium in his first start of the season. Fangio took the championship lead as a result of his victory. Fagioli remained in second, while Farina dropped to third, four points behind his Argentinian teammate.[7]

Race 7: ItalyEdit

The final championship round of the season was the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza Autodrome near Milan, and all three of the regular Alfa Romeo drivers were in contention for the title. If Fangio finished first or second, he would win the title, regardless of where his teammates finished. If Farina failed to score at least five points, he would be unable to take the title. Fagioli's only chance of becoming World Champion was if he won the race and set the fastest lap; even then, he would need Farina to finish no higher than third, and Fangio would have to score no points at all.

Fangio again took pole position, but Alfa Romeo could not make it a fifth front-row lockout of the season, as Ascari qualified second for Ferrari. Farina started from third, while Consalvo Sanesi completed the front row in an additional Alfa Romeo. Fagioli could only manage fifth on the grid, alongside the fifth Alfa of Piero Taruffi, the second Ferrari of Dorino Serafini, and Sommer in a Talbot-Lago. Farina took the lead early on, with Ascari and Fangio not far behind. Ascari briefly held the lead but was forced to retire when his engine overheated. Two laps later, Fangio also retired due to problems with his gearbox. Taruffi's car, which was now running in second, was taken over by Fangio, although the Argentinian was forced to retire for the second time in the race, this time with engine problems. Ascari took over Serafini's car and ultimately finished second behind Farina, whose victory clinched the title by taking him three points clear of Fangio. Fagioli finished third in the race, and clinched the same position in the Drivers' Championship standings.[8]

Championship reviewEdit

In this first World Championship of Drivers, 14 teams (4 works teams and ten independent teams) participated, along with several privately entered cars, in the six European Grands Prix. Only US teams, constructors, and drivers participated in the Indianapolis 500. The chassis, engine, and car numbers varied from race to race.

Grands PrixEdit

Rnd Race Circuit Date Pole position Fastest lap Winning driver Constructor Tyre Report
1   British Grand Prix Silverstone 13 May   Giuseppe Farina   Giuseppe Farina   Giuseppe Farina   Alfa Romeo P Report
2   Monaco Grand Prix Monaco 21 May   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio   Alfa Romeo P Report
3   Indianapolis 500A Indianapolis 30 May   Walt Faulkner   Johnnie Parsons   Johnnie Parsons   Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser F Report
4   Swiss Grand Prix Bremgarten 4 June   Juan Manuel Fangio   Giuseppe Farina   Giuseppe Farina   Alfa Romeo P Report
5   Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps 18 June   Giuseppe Farina   Giuseppe Farina   Juan Manuel Fangio   Alfa Romeo P Report
6   French Grand Prix Reims-Gueux 2 July   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio   Alfa Romeo P Report
7   Italian Grand Prix Monza 3 September   Juan Manuel Fangio   Juan Manuel Fangio   Giuseppe Farina   Alfa Romeo P Report
^A The Indianapolis 500 was AAA-sanctioned and not run to Formula One regulations. It also counted towards the 1950 AAA Championship Car season.

Teams and driversEdit

The following teams and drivers competed in the 1950 FIA World Championship of Drivers.

Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Tyre Driver Rounds
  Alfa Romeo SpA Alfa Romeo 158
Alfa Romeo 158 1.5 L8 s P   Juan Manuel Fangio 1–2, 4–7
  Giuseppe Farina 1–2, 4–7
  Luigi Fagioli 1–2, 4–7
  Reg Parnell 1
  Consalvo Sanesi 7
  Piero Taruffi 7
  Scuderia Ambrosiana Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4 s D   David Murray 1, 7
  David Hampshire 1, 6
  Reg Parnell 6
  T.A.S.O. Mathieson ERA E ERA 1.5 L6 s D   Leslie Johnson 1
  Peter Walker ERA E ERA 1.5 L6 s D   Peter Walker 1
  Tony Rolt 1
  Joe Fry Maserati 4CL Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4 s D   Joe Fry 1
  Brian Shawe-Taylor 1
  Cuth Harrison ERA B ERA 1.5 L6 s D   Cuth Harrison 1–2, 7
  Bob Gerard ERA B
ERA 1.5 L6 s D   Bob Gerard 1–2
  Automobiles Talbot-Darracq Talbot-Lago T26C-DA
Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Yves Giraud-Cabantous 1, 4–6
  Louis Rosier 1, 4–6
  Philippe Étancelin 1, 5
  Eugène Martin 1, 4
  Raymond Sommer 6
  Ecurie Belge Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Johnny Claes 1–2, 4–7
  Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4 s P   Louis Chiron 1–2, 4, 6–7
  Franco Rol 2, 6–7
  Enrico Platé Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4 s P   Toulo de Graffenried 1–2, 4, 7
  Birabongse Bhanudej 1–2, 4, 7
  Joe Kelly Alta GP Alta 1.5 L4 s D   Joe Kelly 1
  Geoffrey Crossley Alta GP Alta 1.5 L4 s D   Geoffrey Crossley 1, 5
  Scuderia Achille Varzi Maserati 4CLT/48
Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4 s
Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4 s
P   José Froilán González 2, 6
  Alfredo Pián 2
  Nello Pagani 4
  Toni Branca 4
  Horschell Racing Corporation Cooper-JAP T12 JAP 1.1 V2 D   Harry Schell 2
  Equipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T15 Simca-Gordini 15C 1.5 L4 s E   Robert Manzon 2, 6–7
  Maurice Trintignant 2, 7
  Philippe Étancelin Talbot-Lago T26C
Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Philippe Étancelin 2, 4, 6–7
  Eugène Chaboud 6
  Ecurie Rosier Talbot-Lago T26C
Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Louis Rosier 2, 7
  Henri Louveau 7
  Peter Whitehead Ferrari 125 Ferrari 125 F1 1.5 V12 s D
  Peter Whitehead 2, 6–7
  Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125
Ferrari 125 F1 1.5 V12 s
Ferrari 166 F2 2.0 V12
Ferrari 275 F1 3.3 V12
Ferrari 375 F1 4.5 V12
P   Luigi Villoresi 2, 4–5
  Alberto Ascari 2, 4–5, 7
  Raymond Sommer 2, 4
  Dorino Serafini 7
  Scuderia Milano Maserati-Speluzzi 4CLT/50 Speluzzi 1.5 L4 s[9] P   Felice Bonetto 4, 6
  Franco Comotti 7
Milano-Speluzzi[10] 1[10]   Felice Bonetto 7
  Ecurie Bleue Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Harry Schell 4
  Pierre Levegh Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Pierre Levegh 5–7
  Raymond Sommer Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Raymond Sommer 5, 7
  Ecurie Lutetia Talbot-Lago T26C-DA Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Eugène Chaboud[N 1] 5–6
  Antonio Branca Maserati 4CL Maserati 4CL 1.5 L4 s P   Toni Branca 5
  Charles Pozzi Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Charles Pozzi 6
  Louis Rosier 6
  Clemente Biondetti Ferrari-Jaguar Biondetti/166 SC Jaguar XK 3.4 L6 P   Clemente Biondetti 7
  Paul Pietsch Maserati 4CLT/48 Maserati 4CLT 1.5 L4 s P   Paul Pietsch 7
  Guy Mairesse Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6 D   Guy Mairesse 7
  1. ^ Chaboud originally entered his own Talbot for the French Grand Prix but did not start the race, and instead co-drove with Philippe Étancelin[11]

World Championship of Drivers standingsEdit

Points were awarded on an 8–6–4–3–2 basis to the first five finishers at each Grand Prix, with an additional point awarded for setting the fastest lap. Only the best four results counted towards the championship. Numbers without parentheses are championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.

Pos. Driver GBR
1   Giuseppe Farina 1PF Ret 1F 4PF 7 1 30
2   Juan Manuel Fangio Ret 1PF RetP 1 1PF RetPF/(Ret) 27
3   Luigi Fagioli 2 Ret 2 2 2 (3) 24 (28)
4   Louis Rosier 5 Ret 3 3 6† 4 13
5   Alberto Ascari 2 Ret 5 DNS (Ret)/2† 11
6   Johnnie Parsons 1F 9
7   Bill Holland 2 6
8   Prince Bira Ret 5 4 Ret 5
9   Peter Whitehead DNS 3 7 4
=   Louis Chiron Ret 3 9 Ret Ret 4
=   Reg Parnell 3 Ret 4
=   Mauri Rose 3 4
13   Dorino Serafini 2† 3
=   Yves Giraud-Cabantous 4 Ret Ret 8 3
=   Raymond Sommer 4 Ret Ret Ret Ret 3
=   Robert Manzon Ret 4 Ret 3
=   Cecil Green 4 3
=   Philippe Étancelin 8 Ret Ret Ret 5† 5 3
19   Felice Bonetto 5 Ret DNS 2
20   Eugène Chaboud Ret 5† 1
=   Joie Chitwood 5† 1
=   Tony Bettenhausen 5† 1
  Toulo de Graffenried Ret Ret 6 6 0
  Bob Gerard 6 6 0
  Luigi Villoresi Ret Ret 6 DNS 0
  Lee Wallard 6 0
  Charles Pozzi 6† 0
  Johnny Claes 11 7 10 8 Ret Ret 0
  Cuth Harrison 7 Ret Ret 0
  Pierre Levegh 7 Ret Ret 0
  Walt Faulkner 7P 0
  Nello Pagani 7 0
  Harry Schell Ret 8 0
  George Connor 8 0
  Geoffrey Crossley Ret 9 0
  David Hampshire 9 Ret 0
  Paul Russo 9 0
  Toni Branca 11 10 0
  Pat Flaherty 10 0
  Brian Shawe-Taylor 10† 0
  Joe Fry 10† 0
  Myron Fohr 11 0
  Duane Carter 12 0
  Mack Hellings 13 0
  Jack McGrath 14 0
  Troy Ruttman 15 0
  Gene Hartley 16 0
  Jimmy Davies 17 0
  Johnny McDowell 18 0
  Walt Brown 19 0
  Spider Webb 20 0
  Jerry Hoyt 21 0
  Walt Ader 22 0
  Jackie Holmes 23 0
  Jim Rathmann 24 0
  Joe Kelly NC 0
  Franco Rol Ret Ret Ret 0
  Eugène Martin Ret Ret 0
  José Froilán González Ret Ret 0
  David Murray Ret Ret 0
  Maurice Trintignant Ret Ret 0
  Leslie Johnson Ret 0
  Peter Walker Ret† 0
  Tony Rolt Ret† 0
  Bill Schindler Ret 0
  Jimmy Jackson Ret 0
  Sam Hanks Ret 0
  Dick Rathmann Ret 0
  Duke Dinsmore Ret 0
  Henry Banks Ret† 0
  Fred Agabashian Ret† 0
  Bayliss Levrett Ret† 0
  Bill Cantrell Ret† 0
  Guy Mairesse Ret 0
  Paul Pietsch Ret 0
  Clemente Biondetti Ret 0
  Henri Louveau Ret 0
  Franco Comotti Ret 0
  Consalvo Sanesi Ret 0
  Piero Taruffi Ret† 0
  Alfredo Pián DNS 0
Pos. Driver GBR
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver Second place
Bronze Third place
Green Other points position
Blue Other classified position
Not classified, finished (NC)
Purple Not classified, retired (Ret)
Red Did not qualify (DNQ)
Black Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Race cancelled (C)
Blank Did not practice (DNP)
Excluded (EX)
Did not arrive (DNA)
Withdrawn (WD)
Did not enter (empty cell)
Annotation Meaning
P Pole position
F Fastest lap

  • † Position shared between more drivers of the same car

Non-championship racesEdit

The following Formula One races, which did not count towards the World Championship of Drivers, were also held in 1950.

Race name Circuit Date Winning driver Constructor Report
  XI Pau Grand Prix Pau 10 April   Juan Manuel Fangio   Maserati Report
  II Richmond Trophy Goodwood 10 April   Reg Parnell   Maserati Report
  V San Remo Grand Prix Ospedaletti 16 April   Juan Manuel Fangio   Alfa Romeo Report
  IV Grand Prix de Paris Montlhéry 30 April   Georges Grignard   Talbot-Lago Report
  XII British Empire Trophy Douglas 15 June   Bob Gerard   ERA Report
  IV Gran Premio di Bari Lungomare 9 July   Giuseppe Farina   Alfa Romeo Report
  IV J.C.C. Jersey Road Race Saint Helier 13 July   Peter Whitehead   Ferrari Report
  XII Circuit de l'Albigeois Albi (Les Planques) 16 July   Louis Rosier   Talbot-Lago Report
  I Grote Prijs van Nederland Zandvoort 23 July   Louis Rosier   Talbot-Lago Report
  III Grand Prix des Nations Geneva 30 July   Juan Manuel Fangio   Alfa Romeo Report
  I Nottingham Trophy Gamston 7 August   David Hampshire   Maserati Report
  IV Ulster Trophy Dundrod 12 August   Peter Whitehead   Ferrari Report
  XIX Coppa Acerbo Pescara 15 August   Juan Manuel Fangio   Alfa Romeo Report
  I Sheffield Telegraph Trophy Gamston 19 August   Cuth Harrison   ERA Report
  II BRDC International Trophy Silverstone 26 August   Giuseppe Farina   Alfa Romeo Report
  III Goodwood Trophy Goodwood 30 September   Reg Parnell   BRM Report
  X Gran Premio de Penya Rhin Pedralbes 29 October   Alberto Ascari   Ferrari Report


  1. ^ a b World Championship of Drivers, 1974 FIA Yearbook, Grey section, pages 118 & 119
  2. ^ "British GP, 1950 Race Report". grandprix.com. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Monaco GP, 1950 Race Report". grandprix.com. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  4. ^ "United States GP, 1950 Race Report". grandprix.com. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Swiss GP, 1950 Race Report". grandprix.com. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Belgian GP, 1950 Race Report". grandprix.com. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  7. ^ "French GP, 1950 Race Report". grandprix.com. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Italian GP, 1950 Race Report". grandprix.com. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Formula 1 1950". OldRacingCars. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Data Search Results". ChicaneF1.com. Archived from the original on 5 November 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Grand Prix de l'ACF (French Grand Prix) -Reims, 2 Jul 1950". OldRacingCars. Retrieved 15 June 2019.