and the beginning of F1
The 1950s, a time when Formula 1 began an enormous advance, where Zandvoort was the first venue for the Grand Prix of the Netherlands, while Elvis Presley had meanwhile begun his Rock ‘n’ Roll career. In addition, there were several major technological developments, such as the TV. In short; an iconic period in history.
Formula 1 in the 1950s
In 1950, the very first official Formula One Grand Prix took place for the World Championship. It took place at the Silverstone Circuit and was won by Giuseppe Farina. The cars driven during the 1950s were often years old. Whereas today only one tire supplier is active in Formula 1, in the 1950s there were no less than six suppliers, with Pirelli as the most successful. At the end of the 1950s, it also became apparent that cars that had their engine behind the driver’s back, rather than at the front of the car, were faster.
The heroes of the past
During the 1950s’ there were mainly two heroes battling it out with each other. These were Italian Alberto Ascari with his Ferrari and Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio in both a Mercedes and a Maserati. Ascari became world champion 2 times, but Juan Manuel Fangio was the big winner of these decades with 5 world championships behind his name. The 1950s ended with Australian Jack Brabham’s first world championship.
In the 1950s, the track through the dunes was fully embraced by Formula One. The race was renamed “Grote Prijs van Nederland,” and in 1952 the race was part of the official Formula One World Championship for the first time, consisting of only eight races. Several big names in the sport, such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss and Alberto Ascari, won the race at Zandvoort.
Famous and iconic cars of this era include the Mercedes Benz 300 SL with its distinctive wing doors, the Ford Thunderbird that formed the basis for the first “personal luxury cars,” and the Chevrolet Bel Air with its stylish body with chrome accents. Ford also introduced the seat belt in 1954. The follow-up was the three-point seat belt introduced by Volvo in 1959.
The 1950s are known as the beginning of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In 1953, Elvis Presley recorded his first demo. The recording, which included covers of “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin,” lead to Presley’s contract with RCA Records and his emergence as the “King of Rock and Roll.”