1950s and 1960s

The first Formula One World Championship race is held at Silverstone in England. The cars were designed purely for speed, with front engines and drum brakes - a fascinating experience without medical back-up or any form of safety net.

Disc brakes are introduced, and a ‘relocation’ takes place - Australian Jack Brabham, in his Cooper, is the first Formula One competitor to drive a mid-engined, rather than front-engined, car.

The first safety measures are introduced to Formula One racing.

Roll-overs bars are introduced for the first time.

Flag signals are introduced. Vehicle fire prevention is advanced by improvements in fuel-tank construction. Double brake circuit becomes mandatory. The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) assumes responsibility for safety on racing circuits. Drivers are required to wear fireproof suits. Cockpits are restructured to allow the drivers to get out more quickly.

Interrupters for electronic systems are introduced. The roll-over bar must reach five centimetres higher than the driver’s head. Additional fireproof clothing is recommended. Dan Gurney is the first driver to use a full-visor helmet in practice for the British Grand Prix.

A double fire extinguishing system is introduced.