The first major grand prix after the war took place in Nice and, starved of action for almost seven years, crowds and drivers flocked to the Riviera. The cars were old - mostly stored or hidden for the duration - and the dominant pre-war German manufacturers were banned. There was an all Maserati front row - the Italians were not barred - and Luigi Villoresi used one to win.
Luigi Fagioli won the opening major race of the season at Monaco in a dominant performance. He had built up a half-minute lead within five laps and became the first driver to lead a Monaco Grand Prix from start to finish.
At Daytona Beach, Roy Keach set a land speed record when his Spirit of Elkdom recorded 207.55mph. The vehicle was a remarkable 81-litre beast, the power produced by three Liberty airplane engines, one in front of the driver and two either side. Initially the car was rejected as it had no reverse, but some ingenious engineering sorted that out; it also had no clutch or gearbox. One one run Keach was scaled when a pipe burst, on another he was burnt by flames from one of the engines.
Four weeks before the first F1 World Championship race, Juan Manuel Fangio in an Alfa Romeo won the San Remo Grand Prix.
Argentine driver Esteban Tuero was born at a time when the likes of Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost were beginning their distinguished careers. He became the third youngest F1 driver when he landed his seat alongside Shinji Nakano, but left the sport at the end of the season following an injury to his neck. Only Mike Thackwell and Ricardo Rodriguez had competed at a younger age. His final race of the season was also be his last in a single-seater Formula sport, at the 1998 Japanese Grand Prix. Starting 21st on the Suzuka grid, he crashed into Toranosuke Takagi on lap 29, injuring a vertebra in his neck in the process. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, who was challenging McLaren's Mika Häkkinen for the drivers' title, passed the accident with carbon fibre littering the race track. Schumacher then suffered a catastrophic rear tyre failure that forced him to retire, thus handing Häkkinen the title.
American racing driver Walt Faulkner died after crashing at a USAC Stock Car event in California. He was crushed when his car rolled and he was only thrown half clear - it was found his shoulder belt had snapped but his waist belt had kept him half in the vehicle. Faulkner - who was nicknamed the Little Dynamo as he was 5'4" tall and weighed in at 135lbs - mainly competed in the National Championship and in stock car races. In 1950, he became the first rookie to win pole position at the Indianapolis 500.
Born in northern Italy to Hungarian parents, Vittorio Jano designed some of the most successful cars in motorsport. The Alfa Romeo P2 won its first race, the 1924 French Grand Prix, and after the war Jano moved to Lancia and remained until it quit motorsport after the 1955 Le Mans disaster. He continued to work with Ferrari until his suicide in 1965.