Mercedes-Benz (motorsport)

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The Mercedes-Benz brand has a long tradition in motorsport .

Even before their merger in 1926 to form Daimler-Benz AG , Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) and Benz & Cie. successful in motorsport. Both took part in the first car race ( Paris-Rouen 1894) .


The beginnings

Mercedes Simplex 508 from 1902
Benz racing car from 1908

The Mercedes Simplex from 1902, built by DMG, was the first functional racing car that was built significantly lower than the usual cars at the time. The Belgian Camille Jenatzy , known as the Red Devil, gave Mercedes its first international victory with his victory at the Gordon Bennett Cup in 1903 . This victory brought the first Grand Prix race to Germany in 1904 . The Mercedes Simplex dominated motor racing for years. In 1914 , shortly before the outbreak of the First World War , the DMG Mercedes 115 hp celebrated a triple victory at the French Grand Prix with Christian Friedrich Lautenschlager , Louis Wagner and Otto Salzer . In 1915 , Ralph DePalma's Mercedes won the Indianapolis 500 .

Karl Benz 's new company, C. Benz Sons , built the Blitzen-Benz , which set several speed records; In 1909 the car reached 228.1 km / h. This record gave the model the reputation of being faster than all other cars and even trains and planes. The company designed many aerodynamically shaped racing cars. The Benz teardrop car was shaped like a raindrop and was introduced to motorsport in 1923 at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza .

The 1930s

Mercedes-Benz W 125

In the 1930s, Daimler-Benz AG, newly created in 1926, dominated European motorsport with its legendary Silver Arrows, together with competitor Auto Union . In the process, she set speed records of up to 435 km / h. Important Mercedes racing cars from the 30s were e.g. B. the Mercedes-Benz W 125 and the Mercedes-Benz W 154 .

Rudolf Uhlenhaut , who distinguished himself not only as an engineer but also as a test driver, was responsible for the development of the racing cars since 1936 . The successful W 125 and W 154 were created under his leadership. In 1939 Mercedes built the small W 165 for the race in Tripoli, and Uhlenhaut said that its 1.5-liter engine was probably the best racing car engine ever built.

Race director Alfred Neubauer directed the races . He was the team’s tactician, who set the fueling stops for his drivers in advance and calculated the tire wear in advance to determine the pace. He is considered the inventor of the drawing boards, the racers of the boxes have been relied to show them their position in the race and the distance to the vehicle ahead or following, inviting them to faster or cautious driving, etc. bone of contention was Neubauer's stable orders , sometimes a lack of understanding among the Drivers and induced the Italian Fagioli to leave Mercedes-Benz in the 1936 season and switch to Auto Union.

In 1938, the driver Rudolf Caracciola and the Mercedes-Benz DAB V12 set the still valid speed record for the flying kilometer.

The active racing drivers for Mercedes from 1934 to 1939 were in alphabetical order: Walter Bäumer , Manfred von Brauchitsch , Heinz Brendel , Rudolf Caracciola , Louis Chiron , Luigi Fagioli , Hanns Geier , Hans-Hugo Hartmann , Ernst Jakob Henne , Christian Kautz , Hermann Lang , Richard Seaman and Goffredo Zehender . Not for use came Walter gardener , Bobby Kohlrausch and Hans Soenius .

The 1950s

In 1952 Mercedes-Benz returned to motorsport with the 300 SL ( W194 ). This year, Mercedes-Benz achieved a double victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans : the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL with Hermann Lang / Fritz Riess secured first place with a lap advantage over Theo Helfrich / Helmut Niedermayr . They also took overall victory at the Grand Prix of Bern and the Carrera Panamericana , driven by Karl Kling and Hermann Lang. The Mercedes finished the Mille Miglia in second place. In this way, Mercedes-Benz built on the great successes in racing before the Second World War.

Commitment as a works team in Formula 1

Karl Kling in the W 196

Main article: Mercedes Grand Prix

On July 4, 1954 , Mercedes-Benz entered Formula 1 with the W 196R and scored a double victory at the French Grand Prix with drivers Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling . Fangio also won the German , Swiss and Italian Grand Prix in 1954 ; Karl Kling won the AVUS race. In 1955 , Fangio was first in Argentina , Belgium , the Netherlands and Italy; Moss won the British GP .

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR W196S racing sports car derived from the W 196 was similarly successful and won the Mille Miglia alongside other races on May 1, 1955 with the highest average speed of 157 km / h, driven by Stirling Moss with Denis Jenkinson as co-driver . Juan Manuel Fangio came in second.

Mercedes-Benz dominated the Grand Prix and sports car races until the end of the 1955 season, when the Group withdrew from motorsport with all its teams, as planned at the beginning. The devastating accident at Le Mans in 1955 , when the 300 SLR of Pierre Levegh no fault with the Austin Healey of Lance Macklin collided and were killing more than 80 spectators - then some races were canceled - contributed to the retreat.

The regular drivers from 1954/55 were Juan Manuel Fangio, Hans Herrmann , Karl Kling, Hermann Lang, Stirling Moss, Piero Taruffi and André Simon as substitutes. Race direction: Alfred Neubauer and Alexander von Korff

The 1960s to 1980s

Mercedes-Benz used some large sedans ( Mercedes-Benz W 111 ) in rallying in the 1960s and 1970s . In the early 1980s it was planned to take part in rallies with the then new Mercedes-Benz W201 ("190"). However , the plan was abandoned due to the introduction of all-wheel drive and turbocharger ( Audi Quattro ) in the competition. Instead, the W 201 or Mercedes 190 with a 16-valve engine from Cosworth started an endurance run on the high-speed course from Nardò from August 13 to 21, 1983. The car broke three FIA world records after driving a total of 201 hours, 39 minutes and 43 seconds over 50,000 km at an average speed of 150 mph with almost no interruption (apart from a 20-second pit stop every 2.5 hours) . This success was decisive for the serial production of the model 190E 2.3–16 .

Late 1980s

Sauber-Mercedes C9 from 1988 at the Oldtimer-Grand-Prix 2009 on the Nürburgring

Mercedes-Benz finally returned to sports car races and the German Touring Car Championship in the late 1980s ; In 1989, Sauber-Mercedes won the Le Mans 24 Hours . Mercedes was also successful in the Group C World Championship and was able to win the world championship title in 1989 and 1990 with Jean-Louis Schlesser in the Sauber C9 and Mercedes-Benz C11 and in 1988 the German Group C racing series Super Cup with the C9. Mercedes-Benz Motorsport also produced great talents through intensive promotion of young talent, e. B. the future Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher and the later Formula 1 drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger .

Mercedes-Benz used factory racing trucks in truck racing races until 2001 . In the FIA European Truck Racing Championship Mercedes could win the drivers' title until 1998, eight times of the 1989th The most successful driver was Steve Parrish , who won the title six times, five times in a row in a Mercedes 1450 S. In the Brazilian Truck Racing Championship, the rules that have been in place since 1995 have won the title four times by Wellington Cirinno . Factory-supported vehicles from Brazilian production are used in this championship.

In 1990 Norbert Haug became head of sports at Mercedes-Benz. In particular, the DTM drivers' title by Klaus Ludwig in the years 1992 and 1994 as well as the DTM and ITC -Fahrertitel of Bernd Schneider from the year 1995 are the highlights of the first year Norbert Haug as Mercedes motorsport boss.

Mercedes-Benz has been part of this series since the DTM was re-established in 2000 and was the overall winner of the drivers' championship in 2000 , 2001 , 2003 , 2005 , 2006 , 2010 and 2015 .

Return to Formula 1 / Sauber-Mercedes

Under the leadership of Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz got back into Formula 1 after almost 40 years , with the English engine manufacturer Ilmor first receiving financial support and then being acquired in part. At first, the then Mercedes partner Peter Sauber took the step alone; on the cars of the 1993 season was only Concepted by Mercedes-Benz , while the engines were still reported under the name Ilmor. A year later, in 1994, the team was officially called the Sauber-Mercedes (whereas the previous year's engines used by the Pacific Racing team were still called Ilmor). A serious accident by Karl Wendlinger during training for the Monaco Grand Prix was the low point of the season. At the end of the year, Sauber and Mercedes-Benz parted ways. From then on, the German automaker supported the British McLaren team.


Mika Häkkinen in the 1995 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-10

In 1995 and 1996 the team in red and white livery remained without a win. First of all, they wanted to compete with Mika Häkkinen and Nigel Mansell . After the 1992 world champion did not fit into the cockpit in the first two races, he was replaced by Mark Blundell . After two more races, the team separated from Mansell, so that Blundell drove the rest of the season. At the Pacific Grand Prix , the sick Mika Häkkinen was represented by Jan Magnussen , who had already tested for McLaren-Peugeot a year earlier and competed in the DTM and ITC for Mercedes-Benz in 1995. Mika Häkkinen had a serious accident during free practice at the Australian Grand Prix , the season finale in Adelaide, and racing doctor Sid Watkins had to do a tracheotomy on site.

Just four months later, at the start of the 1996 season , Mika Häkkinen was back again - again in Australia, this time in Melbourne. His new teammate was David Coulthard , who was to stay with the team for nine years and 150 Grand Prix. The team was again without a win. After the season, they parted ways with their long-term sponsor Marlboro and started in 1997 for the first time in the Silver Arrow design.

Success in America

Emerson Fittipaldi was teammate of Al Unser Jr. at Penske-Mercedes 1994

Mercedes-Benz also entered the American Champ Car series. In 1994 Al Unser jr. for Penske -Mercedes to win the Indianapolis 500 and finish the series as the overall winner. Penske-Mercedes won twelve out of 16 races. Our jrs. Teammates Emerson Fittipaldi and Paul Tracy finished second and third in the overall standings.

World title in the late 1990s

The MP4-12 was the first McLaren to feature the Silver Arrow design
David Coulthard in the 1998 season MP4-13

In 1997 , cars in the Silver Arrow design competed in Formula 1 for the first time since 1955. David Coulthard won the first race, the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne , on March 9, 1997. In the course of the season there was another victory for the Scots in Monza and at the season finale in Jerez de la Frontera . It looked like another victory at the Nürburgring when the McLaren-Mercedes were both in the lead, but then retired almost at the same time with an engine failure. Both defective cars were then directly in front of the Mercedes grandstand.

Defending champion Mika Häkkinen in MP4-14 from 1999

In 1998 the German-British alliance succeeded in building the MP4-13, the most powerful car in the field. In Melbourne they were able to achieve a superior double victory in which they even overtook third-placed Heinz-Harald Frentzen on Williams-Supertec . During the race the stables were directed so that Mika Häkkinen should win the race ahead of David Coulthard . Over the course of the season, Michael Schumacher's Ferrari team grew stronger and stronger until the preliminary decision in favor of Mika Häkkinen was finally made on September 27, 1998 at the Nürburgring. The season finale took place in Suzuka on November 1, 1998 , when Michael Schumacher stopped right at the start and had to start the race from behind. Mika Häkkinen was world driver champion and McLaren-Mercedes world constructor champion.

In 1999 the defending champion and favorite went into the season and in Melbourne the McLaren-Mercedes were again the fastest cars in the field, but both retired due to technical defects, so that the later vice world champion Eddie Irvine could win. As the season went on, the team had a hard time against Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, but they caught up again before the Grand Prix at Silverstone, where Schumacher broke his leg and had to take a three-month break. Two weeks later, at the Austrian Grand Prix on the A1-Ring , Häkkinen and Coulthard drove into each other in the second corner, at the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps the team renounced the stable management, so that David Coulthard, who had meanwhile had no chance in the World Championship his teammate Mika Häkkinen won. With two races to go, Michael Schumacher was back at the start at the Malaysian Grand Prix and Ferrari achieved a double victory. In the end, Mika Häkkinen defended his driver's world title just ahead of Irvine, but the constructors' championship went to Ferrari.

Le Mans 1999

Mercedes-Benz started with the CLR in the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans . Mark Webber took off in the Indianapolis curve during qualifying training on the Thursday before the race and rolled over several times. On the following Friday without training, the car was rebuilt on a different chassis with a special permit from the operator. Four hours after the start of the race, another CLR with Peter Dumbreck suffered another loss of downforce, so that the car took off in the same bend and landed off in the bushes. Both drivers were only slightly injured. Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Norbert Haug then took the remaining car out of the race and Mercedes-Benz has not competed in Le Mans since then.

End of US involvement

Penske-Mercedes from 1997

While Europe was going up, America was going down. After the 1994 IndyCar title from Al Unser jr. one gradually got worse. In 1999 there was only one victory, plus the fatal accidents of Greg Moore in the Reynard-Mercedes used by Forsythe in Fontana and Gonzalo Rodríguez in a Penske-Mercedes in Laguna Seca . After a completely winless year 2000 , Mercedes-Benz ended its involvement in America. Between 1994 and 2000, Mercedes-powered cars competed in 125 races and won 29 of them.

Revival of the DTM

A 2003 Mercedes DTM-AMG

In 1999, Mercedes-Benz, together with Adam Opel AG and Audi, re-announced the DTM for the year 2000. In 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006, Bernd Schneider succeeded in becoming DTM champion again; in 2005 and 2018, Mercedes works driver Gary Paffett won the title. Paul di Resta (2010) and Pascal Wehrlein (2015) each won the DTM title once.

Bottom in Formula 1

After McLaren-Mercedes became Formula 1 World Champion with Mika Häkkinen in 1998 and 1999, there were also 2000 chances of winning the title, which was won by the Ferrari team with Michael Schumacher , which was getting stronger at the end of the season . Mika Häkkinen ended his career at the end of the 2001 Formula 1 season . That season, longtime engine engineer Paul Morgan died and the team moved to a new factory. In the years 2002 to 2004 the Silver Arrows could only win four races. Nevertheless, Kimi Raikkonen had chances for the drivers' championship until the last race in 2003 and ended the season as vice world champion.

Light and Shadow 2005/06

In 2005 McLaren-Mercedes had the fastest car in the field, but suffered from a lack of reliability. It was only enough for the runner-up in the world championship
2006 was the first year without a win for McLaren-Mercedes since 1996 . Last year's vice world champion
Kimi Raikkonen left the team after the end of the season

In the 2005 season McLaren-Mercedes was able to win again regularly. The car was the fastest in the field, but it was also very unreliable. In Brazil, the drivers 'world championship went to Fernando Alonso , at the season finale in China the constructors ' world championship also went to Renault. Kimi Raikkonen was able to achieve a total of seven victories this season. In addition, only Alain Prost in 1984 and 1988 (with only 16 races each) and Michael Schumacher in 2006 (with 18 races) with seven victories of the season were not world champions. After the end of the season it was announced that World Champion Fernando Alonso would drive for McLaren-Mercedes from 2007. In 2006, however, the team could not win a single race and only achieved a few second places. During the season they separated from Juan Pablo Montoya and replaced him by Pedro de la Rosa . Kimi Räikkönen switched to Ferrari at the end of the season, where he replaced Michael Schumacher after the latter's temporary retirement.

Espionage affair and lost 2007 World Cup

In 2007 things looked much better again: Formula 1 newcomer Lewis Hamilton turned out to be a top driver and a serious threat to his teammate Fernando Alonso. Both had a chance of the World Championship until the end, but there was no stable management. The beneficiary was Kimi Raikkonen, who won the World Cup in Brazil, although he was 17 points behind with two races to go. McLaren-Mercedes had the most points in 2007, but the team was stripped of all points due to the espionage affair in Formula 1 in 2007 .

Won the 2008 World Cup

Lewis Hamilton became the first world champion in a McLaren-Mercedes in nine years in 2008

After Fernando Alonso had left the team after only one year due to irreconcilable differences, McLaren-Mercedes decided against test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett, with Finn Heikki Kovalainen , who joined Renault last year, instead . He had a serious accident at the Spanish Grand Prix that caused him to briefly lose consciousness. However, no serious injuries were found in the hospital. In Hungary he achieved his only victory for McLaren-Mercedes.

For the first time in nine years, a McLaren-Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton, won the Formula 1 World Championship in 2008. The decision was made in the last corner of the last race in Interlagos , exactly where the Brit had lost the previous year's championship. However, the design engineer title went to Ferrari.

Additional teams for the first time in 2009

The future world champion Jenson Button in a Brawn Mercedes 2009
Adrian Sutil in the Force India-Mercedes 2009

Since the 2009 Formula 1 season, Mercedes-Benz has also been supplying other teams with engines: Force India and the Brawn GP team, which became a works team in the following year , drove with Mercedes engines. Jenson Button won three races with the same engine this season, which was a new record for Formula 1 at the time. While McLaren-Mercedes initially drove in midfield, Brawn-Mercedes started the season very well with six wins from seven races, but has been less successful since the Silverstone race. Nevertheless, the team managed to win the constructors' world championship, the second for an engine from Mercedes-Benz after 1998, and Jenson Button became world driver championship. Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest for the first time in the history of Formula 1 in a car with KERS .

Own Formula 1 team from 2010

With the Mercedes MGP W01 , a real Mercedes Silver Arrow took part in Formula 1 for the first time in 2010

Main article: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

After the end of the 2009 season, Daimler took over 75.1 percent of the shares in Brawn GP , the Formula 1 world championship team at the time, in order to take part in the world championship from 2010 under the name " Mercedes Grand Prix " . The 40 percent stake in the McLaren team was sold back to the British McLaren Group during 2010 . Drivers were Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher .

At the beginning of 2013, Toto Wolff became the new motorsport director of Mercedes to succeed Norbert Haug, who left in December. He also acquired 30 percent of the shares in the racing team. The chairman of the supervisory board was Niki Lauda , who also held ten percent of the shares. Michael Schumacher's successor was Lewis Hamilton .

After a few years of development work, Mercedes managed to win both world championship titles in the 2014 season. Lewis Hamilton became world driver champion for the second time in his career, while Nico Rosberg finished second. This success was repeated the following year. In 2016 , Mercedes was the measure of all things. This time, however, Rosberg was able to prevail against his teammate and won his first and only world title. With 765 world championship points, the team confidently secured the constructors’s championship and thus set a new record in the Formula 1 world championship. After the season, Rosberg resigned and was replaced by Valtteri Bottas for the 2017 season . In the years 2017 and 2018 both titles were successfully defended, and Hamilton each won the drivers' title. In 2019 , the team started a season more successfully than ever before with eight wins in a row, including six one-two victories.

Mercedes Formula 1 safety car from 2005

The Formula 1 safety car and medical car are provided by Mercedes-AMG. The current safety car is a Mercedes-AMG GT . The medical car is a Mercedes-AMG C63 .

Victories in the sports car world championship

year run vehicle Driver 1 Driver 2
1955 Mille Miglia Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR United KingdomUnited Kingdom Stirling Moss United KingdomUnited Kingdom Denis Jenkinson
RAC Tourist Trophy Mercedes-Benz 300 SL United KingdomUnited Kingdom Stirling Moss United StatesUnited States John Fitch
Targa Florio Mercedes-Benz 300 SL United KingdomUnited Kingdom Stirling Moss United KingdomUnited Kingdom Peter Collins

Web links

Commons : Mercedes-Benz Racing Cars  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Mercedes Grand Prix with Rosberg Auto Motor und Sport, November 16, 2009, accessed on October 13, 2013
  2. Only eleven percent left Motorsport Magazin, March 18, 2010, accessed on October 13, 2013
  3. Toto Wolff becomes Head of Motorsport at Mercedes Focus online, January 21, 2013, accessed on October 13, 2013
  4. Wolff and Lauda buy Mercedes shares , Motorsport-Total, January 21, 2013, accessed on October 13, 2013
  5. Successes in the sports car world championship in 1955 ( Memento from June 24, 2003 in the web archive )