Since its inaugural world championship season in 1950, the appearance of Formula 1's cars has changed radically. The early machines looked like cigar tubes on four wheels, with front-mounted engines driving rear wheels in Systeme Panhard fashion - named so after the layout first used by the now-defunct automobile manufacturer over 50 years earlier.
For most of F1's first decade the cars changed little, save for adopting a more streamlined look. But a major overhaul came at the end of the 1950s when father and son combination Charles and John Cooper introduced mid-engined cars and initiated a significant change of appearance that such a layout dictated.
F1 car design has progressed a lot since this Maserati 4CLT was competitive © LAT
Ten years later came wings and spoilers, followed swiftly by airboxes. Ground effect sidepods followed in the '80s, giving cars a plump appearance, while tyres progressively grew fatter - the number of wheels even rose to six in the case of Tyrrell's P34.
Liveries changed too. Where once Italy's entries were scarlet, French cars blue and Germany's representatives named Silver Arrows for obvious reasons, John Love and Team Gunston introduced tobacco sponsorship in 1968, changing the face of F1 forever.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken