100 F1 race winners part 1: 1950-1953

Posted on

| Written by

Juan Manuel Fangio (left) heading to his ninth F1 win at Reims in 1954
Juan Manuel Fangio (left) heading to his ninth F1 win at Reims in 1954

I once heard that more men had been into space than had won an F1 race and apparently it’s true. Depending on what definition of ‘space’ you use between 475 and 484 men and women have been in outer space.

Last weekend Heikki Kovalainen became the 100th driver to win a Formula 1 world championship race. The list of winners stretches back to Giuseppe Farina’s triumph in the first ever world championship race at Silverstone 58 years ago.

It seems a fitting time to take a brief look back at the 100 men who have won world championship Grands Prix: from Farina to Kovalainen via Clark and Senna…

1. Giuseppe ??Nino? Farina

First win: 1950 British Grand Prix, Silverstone
Total wins: 5
Nationality: Italian

Farina won the first ever world championship F1 race and later collected the inaugural F1 title. But his peers, who thought his defensive driving tactics bordered on the dangerous, often gave him a wide berth on the track.

His career was already well advanced when the first F1 world championship was held and he drove his final F1 race in 1955, still suffering from injuries sustained in a fiery crash in 1954.

Read more about Giuseppe Farina: Giuseppe Farina biography

2. Juan Manuel Fangio

First win: 1950 Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo
Total wins: 24
Nationality: Argentine

Fangio was the dominant force of his era. Not only did he win five world championships and 24 Grands Prix, he commanded immense respect from his rivals, the like of which is rarely seen in any sport today.

He won championships for Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari and Maserati. His final win, at the Nurburgring in 1957 in one of the famed Maserati 250Fs, is regarded as one of the very best ever.

Read more about Juan Manuel Fangio: Juan Manuel Fangio biography

3. Johnnie Parsons

First win: 1950 United States Grand Prix, Indianapolis
Total wins: 1
Nationality: American

From 1950 to 1960 the Indianapolis 500 was counted towards the world championship, although it was not run to F1 rules. None of the drivers who won the Indy 500 in this period also won Grands Prix, so they are something of an anomaly, but they are still winners of world championship rounds.

Parsons won the 1950 Indianapolis 500 in his second attempt at the event having been runner-up in 1949.

4. Lee Wallard

First win: 1951 United States Grand Prix, Indianapolis
Total wins: 1
Nationality: American

With a win in the 1951 Indianapolis 500, and a sixth in the 1950 race being the only other event Wallard participated in that counts towards the championship, he is technically the F1 driver with the best strike rate of wins to starts, at 50%.

5. Luigi Fagioli

First win: 1951 French Grand Prix, Reims
Total wins: 1
Nationality: Italian

Fagioli?s sole Grand Prix win in 1951 made him the oldest ever winner of an F1 championship round at 53 years and 22 days ?ǣ over six years older than the next most senior winner, Farina. He shared a car (and the win) with Fangio, in what would turn out to be his last championship race. He died of injuries sustained in a sports car crash in Monaco in 1952.

6. Jose Froilan Gonzalez

First win: 1951 British Grand Prix, Silverstone
Total wins: 2
Nationality: Argentine

Gonzalez, a hefty Argentine with the nickname ??Pampas Bull?, had the honour of scoring Ferrari?s first win in the world championship. After a move to Maserati he returned to Ferrari in 1954 and scored his second and final victory at Silverstone once again.

7. Alberto Ascari

First win: 1951 German Grand Prix, Nurburgring

Total wins: 13
Nationality: Italian

Ascari was the first driver to win back-to-back championships in 1952 and 1953. He scored nine consecutive victories during those two years (except for Indianapolis, where he did not compete).

In 1955 he survived a crash into the Monaco harbour. But a few days later, while visiting Monza to see the new Ferrari road car being testing, he decided to drive the car for a few laps, reasoning it would do him well to get back behind the wheel as quickly as possibly. But he crashed at the Vialone curve and was killed. When the circuit was re-designed in 1972, the new corner there was named after Ascari, who remains Italy?s last champion.

Read more about Alberto Ascari: Alberto Ascari biography

8. Piero Taruffi

First win: 1952 Swiss Grand Prix, Bremgarten
Total wins: 1
Nationality: Italian

Taruffi?s sole win came at the punishing Bremgarten course in the year when he finished third in the world championship. He contested just six further F1 races after that season but enjoyed much successs in sports cars.

9. Troy Ruttman

First win: 1952 United States Grand Prix, Indianapolis
Total wins: 1
Nationality: American

Ruttman drove in seven of the 11 world championship Indianapolis 500s, winning in 1952.

10. Bill Vukovich

First win: 1953 United States Grand Prix, Indianapolis
Total wins: 2
Nationality: American

Bill Vukovich won back-to-back Indianapolis 500s in 1953 and 1954 but was killed trying to win a third straight Indy in 1955, while leading the race.

This is part one of a ten-part series: join us tomorrow for part two. To make sure you don?t miss it you can subscribe to F1 Fanatic by RSS or email.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

14 comments on “100 F1 race winners part 1: 1950-1953”

  1. Nice article Keith.

    It’ll be interesting to see how sparse it’s going to get between new race winners as it reaches the modern F1 era.

  2. I agree, good article and I look forward to the rest of the series.

    You’ve got 3, Jonnie Parsons as 1960 in the header, 1950 in the main text :)

  3. Ta Noel – fixed it. I’m learning a lot about Indy winners of the ’50s I didn’t know…

  4. While I’ve been watching for ten or twelve years, I know so little history of the sport, so it’s good to read these kinds of articles.

    I’m a little surprised that you’ve got a couple of deaths mentioned in this article… I didn’t realise we’d lost that many drivers in the early days. A bit morose, I know, but there could be a future article in that.

  5. Noel – afraid so, many of the drivers in the first few parts of this series lost their lives competing.

  6. I’ve never seen the championship Indy 500s called Grands Prix. Even formula1.com calls them “Indianapolis 500” in its results: http://www.formula1.com/results/season/1951/

    I once saw an interview w/ Jackie Stewart where he discussed the points being awarded for the 500 in the 50s. I wish I had made a ringtone out of him saying “Who’s Bill Vukovich?” =)

  7. I was thinking of writing an article about deaths in F1 but there’s a cracking one out there already at F1complete, titled All Formula 1 Deaths. Sorry, can’t link it, mobile browser!

  8. Yeah it is odd, they’re United-States-rounds-of-the-F1-world-championship-that-weren’t-run-to-F1-rules-but-points-counted… Perhaps it would be less confusing if I dropped the ‘Grand prix’ bit when referring to them and just called them Indy 500s.

    Am surprised Stewart didn’t know who Vukovich was though – he did commentate on Indy 500s in the ’70s.

  9. I didn’t provide enough context, he was referring to checking the world championship points in the 50s. It doesn’t quite hold the same weight today, but I think it was a bit like a current F1 fan checking the standings and seeing that Scott Dixon had 8 points.

  10. Why do the cars in the photo have wheel covers? I thought that F1 was an open wheeled series?

  11. Keith, another good series is unfolding. For the next part could you add a line listing the nationality of each driver?

  12. Tamil – good point: in the 1950s closed-wheel designs were allowed. Apart from those Mercedes I can’t think of many that used them. Fangio said he preferred the open-wheel version of the same car because it gave him a better impression of how it was steering.

    Polak – will do, and I’ve added them to this post as well. There’s only one Pole by the way…

  13. “Polak – will do, and I’ve added them to this post as well. There’s only one Pole by the way…” man… Keith, I was hoping that another one would show up on the list somewhere hehe.

    Thanks for the addition.

  14. Fangio 24 wins
    51 GP starts
    47% efectiveness

    SHCUMAKER: 2nd ,and 7 DIRTY CROWNS,that must be lowered
    to 1 crown for dirt racing.Schumaker the
    Ross Brawn was the genious behind FERRARI,
    efficiency,not schumajer. And BrawnGP cars
    2009 are the proof.
    schumajer: 249 starts
    91 wins
    36,5% Efficency,cud never beat

    Fangio. was armony and friendship,in boxes,
    he always helped other drivers.

    Schumajer: did not let Barrichelo to read his Telemetry
    and preparation,always 200 meters behind
    Schumajer`s Ferrari

    Bumped everyone,crashed damon Hill in 1994
    to get the crown in the last curve of the
    GP,before the last GP of the year.

    Cornered everyone in the grill starts,and his
    team mates,hated him,reformed the rules of
    formula 1, to get rid of these “dirty”
    manouverings of the so called “schumy”



    wanna have some more ?

    Your request must be delivered to apiacentini@yahoo.com

    Best Regards


Comments are closed.