65 years of F1 - remembering every world champion (Part I)

As F1 turns 65 (the first ever F1 race was held May 13th, 1950 at Silverstone) we have a look at every world champion produced from 1950 to 1978…

1950 - Nino Farina: The gentlemen of Turin. The first world champion, he’s recalled for his “straight-arm” driving style, he won 3 out of 6 races with two pole positions.

1951, 1954-1957 - Juan Manuel Fangio: El Maestro. He won an incredible five world championships and 24 races from 51 starts. Maybe the best ever, his most staggering performance at the Nürburgring.

1952, 1953 - Alberto Ascari. Popular with crowds, modest, extremely hard to get by. Won his second championship from Fangio and Farina.

1958 - Mike Hawthorn: Le Papillon. Had a ‘devil-may-care’ attitude. Given the car, he was one of the fastest, as he proved winning the world title in 1958.

1959, 1960, 1966 - Jack Brabham: Black Jack. His nickname, variously attributed for his dark hair and “ruthless” approach on track, he’s the only man in history to have designed, built and driven a championship-winning car.

1961 - Phil Hill. A driver of very few mistakes, his tactical racing was vital in team-mate Hawthorn winning the title in 1958. His three career wins, along Hawthorn’s, are recorded as the least needed to be a world champion.

1962, 1968 - Graham Hill. The perfect ambassador for the sport, he was determined, record-breaking, humorous. His best moment was pulling the team together following Clark’s death to win in Spain and get back on track to win his second title.

1963, 1965 - Jim Clark. Shy off track, brilliant on it. First F1 driver to win the Indianapolis 500, and one of the greatest ever. Clark had the ability to get the most out of the car and master the track and was extremely naturally talented.

1964 - John Surtees. The only man to win the world championship on both two wheels and four. His career high - winning the title on the last race in Mexico after Jim Clark’s engine failed on the last lap.

1967 - Denny Hulme: The Bear. Hulme’s consistency meant strong results. His best was beating team-mate and boss Jack Brabham to win the title in 1967.

1969, 1971, 1973 - Jackie Stewart. A brilliant wet-weather driver, he got the most out of any car he drove - always remembered for driving the blue V8 Tyrrell. His best victory at the Nüburgring in 1968 under the worst conditions.

1970 - Jochen Rindt. Aggressive and fast, popular with spectators. His style caused him to retire from 35 out of 60 starts, though his talent was undoubtable. He remains the only posthumous world champion to date.

1972, 1974 - Emerson Fittipaldi: Emmo. A precise driver, apparently unbeatable before Ronnie Peterson. His career best was winning in Monza in 1972 to secure the title and become F1’s youngest world champion for 33 years.

1975, 1977, 1984 - Niki Lauda. Immense in work ethic, extremely fast when he needed to. Following a crash which nearly killed him at the Nürburgring, he returned in Monza only two races later with a heroic drive. He cemented his value as a Ferrari driver and went on to win two world titles with the Scuderia.

1976 - James Hunt. Rebellious, glamorous, popular off track, very fast driver. His passion for women and alcohol made him unpredictable. His best moment: recovering from fifth place at the Japanese Grand Prix to finish third and win the title from Lauda, by one point.

1978 - Mario Andretti. Known for his adaptability, an attribute which made him world champion. He returned after a decade at age 44 to win his fourth IndyCar crown.


Have a look at Part II of every world champion in F1 history here