1950-1958: Fangio’s five
1950 – Farina comes first
1951 – Fangio’s first title, Ferrari’s first victory
1952 – Ascari dominates
1953 – Ferrari on top again
1954 – Fangio wins with two teams
1955 – Mercedes go out on top
1956 – Collins hands Fangio his fourth title
1957 – Last title for Fangio
1958 – Hawthorn takes tragic title
Juan Manuel Fangio won the drivers championship five times in the first eight years it was held before retiring in 1958.
Ferrari and Alberto Ascari dominated the 1952 and 1953 championships which were run to Formula Two rules.
1959-1965: Engine revolution
1959 – Brabham ushers in a new era
1960 – Cooper on top
1961 – Ferrari master the new formula
1962 – Hill wins title for BRM
1963 – Clark crushes the competition
1964 – Surtees takes surprise title
1965 – Clark back on top
1966 – Brabham captures third championship
Jack Brabham’s back-to-back title wins for Cooper in 1959 and 1960 heralded the arrival of rear-engined cars. He went on to become the only driver to win the championship in a car he built himself.
A change in engine formula in 1961, restricting capacity to 1.5 litres, leads to much smaller cars.
1966-1973: The Cosworth era
1967 – The DFV arrives
1968 – Hill champion again
1969 – Stewart puts Matra on top
1970 – Posthumous champion
1971 – Tyrrell hit the top
1972 – Fittipaldi grabs title for Lotus
1973 – Stewart retires as champion
After the ‘return to power’ in 1966, as three-litre engines made a comeback, a new engine designed by Cosworth changed the face of the sport.
The DFV was soon being used by all bar a few of the teams. All the drivers listed above won their titles in DFV-powered cars.
1974-1977: Ferrari’s Renaissance
1974 – McLaren’s first championship
1975 – Lauda leads Ferrari to glory
1976 – Hunt grabs title from injured Lauda
1977 – Lauda leaves Ferrari after second title
Ferrari reacted to the sustained success of the DFV-engined cars by mounting a comeback in the mid-seventies.
Niki Lauda ended their 11-year championship drought but a fiery accident at the Nurburgring cost him a second title.
After winning again for them in 1977 he fell out with Enzo Ferrari and left the team.
1978-1982: Ground Effect
1978 – Andretti wins title amid sadness
1979 – Battle of the Ferraris
1980 – Jones is champion for Williams
1981 – Piquet seizes title from faltering Reutemann
1982 – Rosberg claims title in controversial season
Colin Chapman and Lotus pioneered another technical innovation that changed the face of racing. Ground effect aerodynamic increased car performance and cornering speeds.
It became the focal point of increasingly bitter rows between the sport’s governing body, led by Jean-Marie Balestre, and a coalition of the teams, headed by Brabham’s Bernie Ecclestone. This provoked a series of public rows and even race cancellations.
1983-1988: Turbo Power
1983 – Turbo champion
1984 – The closest title ever
1985 – Prost first at last
1986 – Mansell denied
1987 – War of the Williams
1988 – McLaren’s zenith
Formula One engine output peaked at 1400bhp in the 1980s with monstrously powerful 1.5 litre V6 units supplied by major car manufacturers such as BMW, Porsche and Honda.
The FIA tried repeatedly to limit turbo power before banning them outright. Four different drivers took titles with turbo power. In 1986, four drivers from three teams chased for the championship, but by the final turbo year McLaren-Honda were utterly dominant.
1989-1993: Senna vs Prost
Turbos were finally banned but McLaren due Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost remained the team to beat.
After a tense 1988 their internecine rivalry became all-out war, culminating in two title-deciding crashes involving the pair. Prost was dropped by Ferrari but returned to edge Mansell out of the dominant Williams at the end of 1992, and took a final title before retiring for good at the end of 1993.
1994-1999: The Rise of Schumacher
With Mansell and Prost gone, the 1994 title looked like Senna’s for the taking.
But he was killed during a horrific weekend in Imola which also claims the life of Roland Ratzenberger. The rest of the 1990s was characterised by repeated attempts to slow the cars on grounds of safety, and the inexorable rise of Schumacher to claim two titles at Benetton, before being denied on three occasions at Ferrari.
2000-2004: Ferrari Domination
Ferrari finally saw one of their drivers crowned champion for the first time since 1979. Michael Schumacher’s 2000 title win heralded a new era of the longest domination of the sport by a single team.
Rules changes became more frequent and more drastic, now with the twin aims of improving the racing as well as safety.
2005 – The fast and the fragile
2006 – Alonso versus Schumacher
2007 – The courtroom championship
2008 – Won on the last lap
2009 – One-off winners
2010 – Vettel’s late charge
2011 – Unstoppable Vettel
2012 – Vettel’s hat-trick