Alfa Romeo SpA 158/50
By: Jeremy McMullen
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By: Jeremy McMullen
|The last couple of years I have been detailing the new cars for the Formula One season. Quite often in motorsports it is easy to look at new technology as exactly that…new. But often, the new technologies are based upon past innovations. At other times, old innovations actually re-appear as though brand-new, but actually only redesigned, improved upon, or utilized in a different way to make it seem new.
Each year it is the focus and the goal of each team to improve upon the previous year, but each year is the result of lessons learned and improvements upon technologies over the years. And so, I will start a new series of articles that will take a look back into the history of Formula One with the goal of detailing the teams and the innovations of the past and how they were employed and influenced subsequent chassis designs. To start, I will look at the team and the car that swept the top three spots in the 1950 World Championship, the first official year of Formula One.
At the time, the World Championship was composed of seven races. Yet, there were many other races that were run during that year but that didn't count. The seven race calendar, at this time, included the Indianapolis 500 and, interestingly enough, was the only race on the schedule not won by the dominant Alfa Romeo 158 Alfetta and the Alfa Romeo SpA team. Johnnie Parsons was able to take the checkered flag at Indy to break up what was sheer dominance by two drivers of the same team—Giuseppe 'Nino' Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio.
Nino Farina, the nephew of Pinin Farina the famous coach maker, took the first race of the season at the British Grand Prix held at Silverstone. Fangio took the win at the next event held at Monaco. Indy was the next race, won by Parsons. Farina then took the next race, the Swiss Grand Prix held at Bremgarten. Fangio scored two in a row by winning the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps and the French Grand Prix held at Reims-Gueux. Nino Farina went on to take the final race of Formula One's first season at Monza and the Italian Grand Prix. Farina ended up winning the first championship due to the fact he was able to finish races in the points when Fangio ended up winning, while Fangio did not finish the races that Farina ended up winning. Therefore, the only points Fangio ended up scoring the whole season were the ones he earned from his wins, whereas Farina had the same number of wins but was also able to score other points by finishing races in the points.