Formula One got its start in the years between World War I and World War II, though its roots can be traced as far back as the early 1900's with dirt road racing in Europe. The sport was known as Grand Prix motor Racing during the 1920's and 1930's before becoming known as Formula One in the years following World War II. The first world championship drivers race took place in 1950 with Italian racer Giuseppe Farina winning the inaugural championship in an Alfa Romeo race car.  The sport gets its name from the "formula" or set of rules that all race teams and drivers must follow. The purpose of the formula is to make the race as fair as possible for all participants.

The sport of Formula One has progressed greatly in the years since its inception, with many changes to the formula occurring over the years. As technology progresses, it becomes necessary to change the rules to reflect the ever increasing capability of the cars and drivers.