History of Grand Prix

How Did Grand Prix Get Started? 

Along with technological advancement came the harsh side of the racing –accidents and deaths. They occurred frequently because the races took place on open roads.
Both the spectators and drivers were in harm’s way.

This is where the need for a proper racetrack was considered and it gave rise to Formula Racing. Later on, Formula Racing gave birth to Formula One.

Each event that takes place under the umbrella of Formula One World Championships is given the name of Grand Prix.
In other words, you can say that Formula One is Grand Prix.

How Did Organized Racing Come Into Being?

You are probably well-aware of the fact that people in France appreciate motor cars and embrace the idea of super motor cards.

Seeing this, the manufacturers were sure of the positive feedback they would get from the French Public. In the end, organized racing was the result of the accidents as well as public feedback on motor cars.

Gradually and effectively, this idea advanced into a motoring contest for the first time in 22 July, 1894. It was organized by one of the famous Paris newspapers of the time called ‘Le Petit Journal’.

The first ever motoring contest was held on the 126 km Paris-Rouen rally – leading from Porte Maillot to Rouen, where the track would pass through the Bois de Boulogne.

Jules-Albert de Dion – The Pioneer

The first ever racer to make it to Rouen (after 6 hours 48 minutes) was Jules-Albert de Dion.

He made it to the finish line only 3 minutes and 30 seconds before Albert Lemaitre, who was followed by Auguste Doriot.
Surprisingly, the winners were named as Auguste Doriot and Rene Panhard representing Peugeot and Panhard respectively.

Why?

Because at that time, winners were not chosen based on who finished first, but on their driving skills, handling at high speed, and characteristics that exhibited safety.

International Outreach

After this event took place and the manufacturers and stakeholders saw the craze in the French Public, they decided to take the event global.

Soon after, the owner of the New York Herald organized the Gordon Bennett Cup. All of this was done with the idea of holding an international event that would tempt manufacturers into producing vehicles that were improved in all ways.

It was an open event in which each country was allowed to enter three vehicles. The conditions for a participating country was that the cars had to be built entirely from scratch in the same country they were representing in the tournament.

The country wishing to participate could only enter by that country’s automotive governing body with their colors. A large-scale international event was organized along with establishing racing colors.

Apart from this, following the event of 1903 race – where the fatality rate was higher than expected, a closed-circuit race took place. It was the first ever closed-circuit race that took place on public roads with high precautions.

Conclusion – Racecourse Development

For most races, the competition took place over a lengthy closed circuit made from public roads.

Then, in 1904, most of the national motor clubs joined hands to form the Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR).

AIACR then appointed Commission Sportive Internationale to regulate Grand Prix based on general rules and a strict formula. This formula was based on engine size and vehicle weight.

Since then, a lot of new rules have been introduced, replacing old ones. Now Grand Prix is one of the most electrifying events in the world.

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