In early 1953 the then Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler-Benz AG, Fritz Könecke, formulated the grand goal for the resumption of international racing activities: Mercedes-Benz should capture the double world championship in 1954, in the Formula One and for sports car, with factory drivers.
In the second European race of the season, the French Grand Prix, the new Silver Arrows took the start for the first time. In training the fully faired W 196 R had posted the fastest time, and now, at their racing debut on the 4th of July in Reims, they would exceed all expectations of the public and the competition. The newly engaged Argentinean driver Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling won a double victory in their streamlined monoposto cars. This sensational success also had historic implications, for exactly 40 years earlier, on 4 July 1914, Mercedes racing cars won the French Grand Prix in Lyon.
Mercedes-Benz concentrated on winning the title of World Champion for Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954. In the British Grand Prix on 17 July in Silverstone Fangio had only finished fourth in the streamlined car, whose contours were hard to overlook on winding courses. But Uhlenhaut had sped up the construction of the second variant of the W 196 R, this one in the classic Grand Prix car design with exposed wheels. In the remaining races in 1954 there was always at least one Silver Arrow driver on the winner's rostrum. Fangio won the German, Swiss and Italian Grand Prix races and placed third in Spain; Hans Hermann came in third in Switzerland. Fangio's victory on 22 August in Bern-Bremgarten in the Swiss Grand Prix already made him the Formula One World Champion for 1954.