The formative years of the 1950s are explored in this next instalment of Evro’s decade-by-decade series covering all Formula 1 cars and teams. When the World Championship was first held in 1950, red Italian cars predominated, from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati, and continued to do so for much of the period.
But by the time the decade closed, green British cars were in their ascendancy, first Vanwall and then rear-engined Cooper playing the starring roles, and BRM and Lotus having walk-on parts. As for drivers, one stood out above the others, Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio becoming World Champion five times. Much of the fascination of this era also lies in its numerous privateers and also-rans, all of which receive their due coverage in this completist work.
- Year-by-year treatment covers each season in fascinating depth, running through the teams — and their various cars — in order of importance.
- Alfa Romeo: these supercharged 1½-litre cars dominated the first two years, with titles won by Farina (1950) and Fangio (1951).
- Ferrari: this new marque steamrollered the opposition in two seasons run to Formula 2 rules (1952–53), Ascari becoming champion both times, and took two more crowns with Fangio (1956) and Hawthorn (1958).
- Maserati: the fabulous 250F, the decade’s most significant racing car, propelled Fangio to two more of his five championships (1954 and 1957).
- Mercedes-Benz: the German manufacturer stepped briefly into Formula 1 (1954–55) and won almost everything with Fangio and up-and-coming Moss.
- Vanwall: green finally beat red when the Vanwalls, driven by Moss and Brooks, won the inaugural constructors’ title (1958).
- Cooper: the rear-engine pioneers signposted Formula 1’s future when Jack Brabham became World Champion (1959).
- Over 600 photos from the superb archives of Motorsport Images show every type of car raced by every team and driver, presenting a comprehensive survey of all participants.