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20 Years Ago – Return to Action

20 Years Ago – Return to Action

After almost forty years away from the pinnacle of motorsport, Mercedes made its full Formula One return for the 1994 season; working in tandem with partner Ilmor to provide engines for the Sauber team.

The Brixworth-built Mercedes-Benz 2175B V10 engine was tailor-made to suit the Sauber C13 and – in keeping with Mercedes tradition – broke the mould in its sole use of pneumatic valves as opposed to the more traditional spring valves; much like its ancestors of the 1950s with their revolutionary ‘Z-Drives’. The performance parameters of the unit were equally impressive. Producing 745 hp in qualifying trim and 730 hp for racing, it propelled the C13 from 0-60 mph in around 2.5 seconds, up to 125 mph in 6 seconds and eventually on to a top speed – with appropriate gearing and wing settings – of over 210 mph.

A mixed debut season saw the Sauber-Mercedes Formula One partnership take eighth place in the Constructors’ World Championship, with season-best finishes of fourth place for Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger. This marked the beginning of 20 continuous seasons in Formula One; a longer unbroken run than any major manufacturer apart from Ferrari. 2014 will be the 21st season of the modern era and promises to be the year when the modern Silver Arrows truly come of age…

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