Happy Fourth of July everybody! Time to have a good time this excellent land’s freedom from these bloody Brits. But should you do occur to be British, there are many different causes to have a good time this lengthy weekend. For me, I’ll be marking the anniversary of Mercedes’ first entry, first pole place and first win in Formula 1.
That’s proper: Exactly 68 years in the past at present, Mercedes took its first step towards at present’s dominance of F1, when the German carmaker confirmed as much as the 1954 French Grand Prix and gained the entire rattling factor.
In 1954, Mercedes was coming off a 15-year ban on participation in worldwide motorsport. As such, it joined the Formula 1 season halfway by way of, having missed races in Argentina, Belgium and the Indy 500 (which was a part of the F1 calendar at the moment) earlier within the yr.
The crew turned up at Reims in France on July 4th, 1954 with a brand new automotive and a brand new two-driver crew of Karl Kling and Juan Manuel Fangio, the latter of whom Mercedes had poached from Maserati. The drivers have been thrust into the all-new Mercedes-Benz W196 for the race, which coated 61 laps of the 5.2-mile circuit.
Things bought off to an excellent begin, with Fangio claiming pole place within the W196 on a lap time of two:29.4. He was a second forward of his subsequent competitor and, over the lap, posted a mean velocity of just about 125 mph.
The good fortunes continued within the race, with Fangio and Kling main the pack and capturing away from the chasing Ferrari drivers. Almost precisely just like the 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons of F1!
But this was Formula 1 within the ‘50s, so reliability points plagued almost each crew. Of the 21 drivers that began the 1954 French Grand Prix, simply six carried by way of to the tip of the race. Among the groups compelled to retire, engine failure, gearbox points and gasoline pump gremlins have been all cited.
For Fangio and Kling, nevertheless, no such points turned current. As such, they went on to say first and second place within the grand prix. By the tip of the race, the pair have been a lap forward of third-place driver Robert Manzon, who drove for Ferrari on the time.
Over the rest of the season, the Mercedes crew racked up an extra three wins. And they’d come again the next yr with the identical automotive and declare 5 extra victories.
Clearly it was a glimpse of issues to come back for the Silver Arrows! Well, till a dramatic rule change ruined all the things for the crew this yr.