In 1952, with Alfa Romeo having withdrawn from Grand Prix racing, fans faced the prospect of a dull F1 season with outdated cars.
Track promoters persuaded the Grand Prix to make the more exciting Formula 2 car races championship events.
It was perfect for the Ferrari Tipo 500 -- a Formula 2 car designed by Aurelio Lampredi, which monopolised the racing and the podium over the next two seasons.
The car was powered by a simple in-line four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine which was mounted behind the front axle, improving weight distribution.
Driver Alberto Ascari piloted the Ferrari 500 to his first World Championship in 1952.
He won every race except one – because he was driving the 4.5 litre Ferrari at the Indianapolis 500 – but Ferrari still won the race in his absence.
In 1953, Ascari again won the World Championship, with Ferrari taking all but the final race. Ascari’s record of nine straight World Championship wins in the 500 has not yet been broken.
In 1954, the World Championship returned to Formula 1 engine regulations, so the Ferrari 500 chassis was modified with the 2.5 litre 625 engine and won two just more races, one each in 1954 and 1955, being largely outclassed by the Mercedes-Benz W196 and Maserati 250F.
Two model revisions were released over that time, but the 625 was used until 1956 when it was replaced by the D50 chassis bought in as part of Ferrari’s purchase of the Lancia Formula One team