"We were delighted to get another top result in Austria. Our weekend in Spielberg was one of the toughest so far this season, with a qualifying performance which did not match our expectations. To bounce back with another one-two finish was highly satisfying – particularly as our rivals pushed us harder than ever throughout the race. This demonstrates once again how crucial it is to remain 100% focused on the task at hand. We can afford no mistakes if we are to achieve our goals, as there will always be someone waiting to punish those mistakes. We now head to Silverstone – one of the highlights of the year for the team. For the hundreds of people at Brackley and Brixworth it provides an opportunity to see the results of hard work in action on the track. Our drivers are both particularly strong at this circuit and we can expect another tightly contested battle between the two of them. Equally, many of our rivals see this as their home race and will be highly motivated to gain an advantage. There are certain teams in particular who have a record of success here, so we are taking nothing for granted. It is up to us to ensure that our motivation is the highest of all as we look to put on a show for the incredible Silverstone crowds."
29 June 1989 - 25 Years Ago:
Mercedes-Benz AG is established as part of the restructuring of the Daimler-Benz Group. Prof. Werner Niefer is made Chairman of the Board of Management. Under the umbrella of Daimler-Benz AG as the holding company, Mercedes-Benz AG, AEG AG and Deutsche Aerospace AG function as independent companies.
27 June 1985 – 29 Years Ago:
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS driver Nico Rosberg is born.
4 July 1914 – 100 Years Ago:
Lyon, 4 July 1914: the final Grand Prix motor race before the First World War and a milestone in the motorsport history of Mercedes. Staged on public roads in the French region, the 37 km circuit hosted an epic 20-lap battle dominated by the Peugeot and Mercedes marques.
The event brought together the world’s elite in terms of both car and driver, with manufacturers having produced all-new machinery to comply with the mandatory maximum engine displacement of 4.5 litres. The solution produced by Mercedes would prove the class of the field, with its four cylinder unit revving to 3,000 rpm: almost one third higher than the standard at the time.
Featuring an aluminium crank case combined with steel cylinders, Mercedes introduced four-valve technology to its specially developed unit. While the valves themselves were exposed to allow for self-cooling, an advanced ignition system – two spark plugs on one side of each cylinder, one on the other – formed another unique element of what would prove a ground-breaking design.
With a crowd exceeding 300,000 spectators gathering to watch the pinnacle of automotive technology first hand, a field of 37 cars lined up to take their place in the contest. The time trial format saw competitors set off at 20 second intervals; each risking life and limb in their attempts to complete the 752 km race in the fastest time.
As the cars emerged from the opening corners, Max Saller took an early lead in his Mercedes before retiring with an engine failure on lap five: handing the top spot to Georges Boillot in the Peugeot. Behind the Frenchman, Mercedes drivers Christian Lautenschlager, Louis Wagner and Otto Salzer began to make great strides through the field: holding second, fourth and fifth at the halfway stage.
With just three laps remaining, Lautenschlager seized the lead with stable-mates Wagner and Salzer rapidly diminishing the advantage of Boillot and compatriot Jules Goux: passing the latter in the closing stages of the race. As Lautenschlager crossed the line to take an emphatic victory at an average speed of 65.665 km/h, late drama unfolded behind as Boillot retired with engine failure.
With Wagner and Salzer subsequently promoted a position apiece, the first all-Mercedes Grand Prix ‘podium’ was complete.
4 July 1954 – 60 Years Ago:
Mercedes-Benz made a sensational return to Grand Prix racing in 1954, making its debut in the Formula One World Championship. The seeds were sown early in 1953, when the then Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler-Benz AG – Fritz Könecke – set an ambitious target for the resumption of international racing activities: to capture both the Formula One and sports car World Championships the following year.
At the heart of the project was the W 196 R: an all-new concept with a raft of unique features that would combine to create an all-conquering racing machine. Two body shapes, three variants of wheelbase length, a lightweight frame and uncannily powerful brakes formed the base, while the engine – an eight cylinder 2,496 cc in-line configuration with direct injection – produced more than 250 hp; powering the W 196 R to top speeds in excess of 300 km/h.
The second European race of the 1954 Formula One season – the French Grand Prix – saw the new generation of Silver Arrows take the start for the first time. The W 196 R had posted the fastest time in practice, but it was during its racing debut on 4 July in Reims that the newly reformed squad would exceed all expectations. 1951 World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio lined up alongside Karl Kling and Hans Herrmann: the combination of both car and drivers proving an instant success. Although Herrmann suffered an early retirement – having just set the then fastest lap of the race – Fangio and Kling dominated to claim an emphatic one-two finish: separated by just 0.1 seconds at the flag and with an advantage of a whole lap to the rest of the field. This sensational success had historic implications, for exactly 40 years earlier – on 4 July 1914 – Mercedes had won the French Grand Prix in Lyon.
In line with Fritz Könecke’s lofty ambitions, the 1954 World Championship title became the focus. After the streamlined car struggled comparatively around the twisty Silverstone circuit, Chief Engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut readied the second variant of the W 196 R: a more classic ‘monoposto’ Grand Prix car design, featuring exposed wheels. From this point there would be no halt to the Mercedes charge, with at least one Silver Arrows driver on the podium at the remaining races of the season. Fangio claimed victory in the German, Swiss and Italian Grands Prix and placed third in Spain, while Herrmann finished third in Switzerland. Fangio's victory in Switzerland secured his second World Championship, with six victories from the nine race calendar.