• Italian Grand Prix 1950

Farina takes title as rivals falter

Martin Williamson
Nino Farina secured the inaugural Formula One drivers' title © Getty Images

A week before the season finale at Monza, the leading drivers took part in the International Trophy at Silverstone and, as had been the case all summer, the Alfas of Nino Farina and Juan Manual Fangio dominated, the pair winning their respective heats and Farina going on to victory in the main race.

The teams all reassembled in Italy, with Fangio (26) two points clear of Fagioli (24) who was in turn two points clear of Farina (22). Only the best four results of the season would count, Fagioli, with four seconds, could only take the title if he won and his team-mates both failed to finish. Fangio had three wins, so any finish would add to his tally, while Farina knew he had to win and even then hope Fangio finished no better than fifth.

The qualifying went to plan, Fangio taking pole ahead of Alberto Ascari, with Farina and Fagioli just behind them. The initial laps went the same way, Fangio leading Ascari's brand new Ferrari 375 - the 4.5-litre car that would break the dominance of the Alfas - and setting the fastest lap. Ascari briefly took the lead on lap 14 but was soon overhauled by Fangio, and then Ascari's rear axle broke and he limped into the pits and commandeered Dorino Serafina's car. Two laps later Fangio's gear box seized and he too took over his team-mate Piero Taruffi's vehicle, but ten laps later the engine blew and he was out.

That left the field open for Farina who went on to finish a minute-and-a-half clear of Ascari and in so doing become the first Formula One world champion.