Watch 63 Years Of F1 Evolution In 60 Seconds

It's hard to keep track of all the changes in grand prix car design since Formula One began in 1950. This minute-long video tracing the lines of each year's cars makes the whole history seem so simple, and so very beautiful.


Put together by Ruf Blacklock, the video is actually quite multi-dimensional, even though it just consists of animated line drawings. You see the quick-acting revolutions (rear-engined layout, wings, ground effects, high noses), and you see the longer spells where the cars slowly refine over a stretch of years.

What surprised you most about the changes that happen in the video (and in this companion infographic)?

(Thanks to everyone for the tips!)


About 24 seconds in, the first aerodynamic aids (wings) started appearing. I believe that was the beginning of the end for Formula One. With ground effects, it has gotten much worse.

The problem is simple. When downforce is the goal, spring rates must be made so high that sidewall flex gives as much travel as suspension movement. The drivers on the podium all started in go karts, which have no suspension at all, so they're perfectly at home. The worst part is that the aerodynamics work best in clean air, so passes have become a rarity. It's time to put significant limits on aerodynamics, and allow the races to return to being tests of drivers' skills. Increase the minimum ground clearance, which will negate much of the ground effect. Put much stricter limits on how much wing a car can have. Then we will have a chance to watch drivers race. We'll see the effects of stronger engines and better suspension designs. Today, a Formula One race just compares which wings do better in qualifying. The pole-sitter wins the race, unless something breaks.