F1 Retro July 2005
Talk about multi-tasking: these days gigantic motorhomes with high-class culinary facilities followF1 stars around the world, catering to their every dietary whim. However, back when young Mercedes mechanic Hermann Lang – born this month in 1909 – was making his way through the motor sport world in the 1930s, one of his other responsibilities was as chef for the grand prix team.
At one Monza test, Merc motor sport boss Alfred Neubauer knew the man slaving over the stove was the fastest ace on set, so orderedLang to get out on track once the chicken was in the oven. Lang managed to do all the laps then come back just in time to produce the perfect roast – so the story goes.
Tales like this endeared Lang to his fellow Merc mechanics. Once he’d fully graduated out of the kitchen to the top of the Mercedes driver roster, the working class hero was adored by Silver Arrow factory workers – but not his team-mates, who resented the upstart.
Lang’s journey, told by Mark Hughes in our February 2005 issue, should have ended with him as European champion, but was cruelly denied by the outbreak of war in 1939, and after signing off with a ’52 Le Mans win he quietly eventually returned to Merc’s mechanic bench.