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Formula One: Was the Chinese Grand Prix really the 1000th F1 race?

legends of the sport have converged in Shanghai and fans all across the world have been eagerly waiting but is it really the 1000th race?

Abhranil Roy
Last updated: 16.04.2019
Was the Chinese Grand Prix really the 1000th F1 race | Sports Social Blog

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By the time you read this piece, Lewis Hamilton will probably have won the Chinese Grand Prix( he is currently leading the pack in the 50th lap), which has been marketed and widely acclaimed as the 1000th race in the history of Formula One. Commemorative retro helmets have been designed for the drivers, legends of the sport have converged in Shanghai and fans all across the world have been eagerly waiting for this momentous occasion: but is it really the 1000th race?

As per most records, it seems not!

What do the historians say?


Historians of the sport agree that the first F1 Championship kicked off in 1950, with seven of the 20 Grand-Prix’s counted in the final championship standings. Before that, racing was popular in the 1930s and 1940s but it was only after World War II that a decision was taken in 1946 to organize and give a structure and create an official body to oversee the competition. It took around 3 and a half years to do that, and the Silverstone circuit in England was the venue of the first official F1 race in history.

However, as ESPN points out, the Indianapolis 500, which was a big and prestigious racing competition in the early 50s did not follow any F1 rules. The cars were different, the racers were mostly American and except Alberto Ascari and Juan-Manuel Fangio, no European driver actually ever raced in it. Even the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the sport’s authority did not recognize the Indy 500 as its official event. To its credit though, despite all that, the Indy 500 swelled in popularity and is now permanently a part of Formula One folklore

The Indy 500 racers, however, were granted F1 points and often found themselves on the F1 championship list, but technically, none of the 11 Indy 500 championships from 1950 to 1960 should be counted as F1 races.

Another bone of contention is the fact that in 1952 and 1953, stringent F1 regulations meant that apart from Ferrari, no one was able or willing to compete in F1 championships. Both BMW and Alfa Romeo backed out from the F1 at the start of the 1952 season leaving Ferrari as the only participant and thus, the default winner.

Under such circumstances, the FIA relaxed the rules and transformed F1 into the lower cost, lower-power F2. All the races held in those 2 years were as per F2 regulations, which mean technically another 26 races, should not be accounted for in the history of F1 races.

So where does that leave us?

Basically, if you are an internet geek who likes his or her history to be flawless, then this race should technically be the 964th race in the history of the competition. Sorry Lewis Hamilton, but the history records are the only facts that the reddit and 4-chan-fueled Internet geeks stand by.

However, none of that should dampen your spirit, because irrespective of whether it is the 1000th race or not, there is nothing quite as pulsating and breathtaking as watching super-fast cars whizz past your ears in a bid to win a 56-lap race.

Bon Voyage, F1!

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