Mercedes’ first GP comeback

Extraordinary tales from the Motor Sport digital archive

Juan Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling, Mercedes W196

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F1 Retro – October 2014 Click here to read

After a couple of lacklustre seasons, the Mercedes F1 team now looks to be back on track with recent podium finishes. Seventy years ago this month the marque made its much anticipated return to grand prix racing with a resounding 1-2 finish at the 1954 French GP for Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling.

Richard Williams recalls that momentous race in his fascinating 2014 piece Sterling silver – which you can view online in the Motor Sport archive. The sleek, flowing lines of the W196 challenger stunned the F1 world. Designed by Rudi Uhlenhaut, the number of staff attending to the gleaming machine also took the paddock by surprise.

“It was very impressive, to say the least,” says Stirling Moss, who was present that weekend. “They came with many more mechanics than anybody else – twice what Ferrari or Maserati brought.”

The Silver Arrows cars dominated at Reims, lapping all comers, and the author points out that a company that had very recent links to Nazi Germany was now being celebrated once again.

“A broken thread of glamour and glory had been mended, and once again the phrase ‘all-conquering’ could be used without unpleasant echoes. To team boss Neubauer and Uhlenhaut, the authors of this renaissance, it must have seemed like a miracle.”

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