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Victorious Mercedes Silver Arrows: Master Meeting

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D he year 1932 was not the best moment to find out about new racing cars ponder. Black Friday of October 1929 with the crash of the New York Stock Exchange and the subsequent global economic crisis had shrunk the market for noble and correspondingly expensive automobiles to microscopic size.

Manufacturers often liked the expensive advertising instrument of motorsport no longer perform, and it was a sheer miracle that Manfred von Brauchitsch was able to win the Avus race in 1932. He drove a Mercedes-Benz SSKL clad in silver aluminum sheets. Even the former Mercedes ace Rudolf Caracciola, now in the much more modern Alfa Romeo, has been overtaken - aerodynamics as the magic word.

But two years later the works team from Mercedes back to international motorsport. The new GP formula set a maximum weight of only 750 kilograms for the racing cars, without tires, without oil, without water and fuel.

Mercedes with 646 hp on the test bench

Alfred Neubauer, so to speak racing manager on hold, had already advocated the use of five cars in September 1932. Chief engineer Hans Nibel chose a steel frame made of U-profiles, a transaxle gearbox interlocked with the rear axle and a cardan shaft which, moved a hand's breadth downwards via intermediate gears, only rotated just above the road surface - so the driver's seat of the monoposto could go deep Chassis wander into.

The engine was based on that of the new Mercedes 380: eight cylinders in line, but 3.4 liters displacement, two overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. The concept could be expanded.

The in-line eight-cylinder should be in service by 1937, at the end with almost twice the displacement and, on the test bench, a martial 646 hp output.

Myth of the Silver Arrows

But 1934 began more modestly. It wasn't enough for the Avus race in May, but on the first weekend in June the new Mercedes Silver Arrows at the Nürburgring. The Eifel race couldManfred von Brauchitsch promptly decided for himself in the new Silver Arrow.

The myth about the Mercedes racing car entered a new phase. In addition to the victory in the Eifel race, there was a second place in the German Grand Prix, victories at the Coppa Acerbo and the Italian Grand Prix, plus a double victory in the Spanish GP. Luigi Fagioli, Rudolf Caracciola and von Brauchitsch formed the successful driver trio for the 1934 season. Of course, the European championship has not yet been contested this year. This new title, corresponding to today's world championship, was reserved for the following year.

The Mercedes W 25 entered the racing year 1935 with strength. The M-25-B engine had already made its debut last August, with four Liters capacity and 398 hp. There is no match for the Silver Arrows from Untertürkheim. They win in the Monaco GP, on the fast Tripoli circuit and on the even faster Avus. On the concrete straight, the W 25 hit the 300 km /h limit. The big problem is the tires.

'Caratsch' is European champion

Follow the double victory in the French GP In 1935 no less than three repetitions: 1st and 2nd place for the W 25 in the Grand Prix Barcelona, ​​in the Grand Prix of Belgium and Switzerland. Another bang at the end of the season: The Spanish Grand Prix saw three Mercedes W 25s with the drivers Caracciola, Fagioli and von Brauchitsch in the first three places. 'Caratsch', as his friends call him, is the first European champion at the end of the season.

In 1936 the W 25s were still successful in Monaco, Tripoli and Barcelona, ​​but the prestigious title of European champion went in this year to Bernd Rosemeyer with the Auto Union V16.

For 1937, racing engineer Uhlenhaut digs deep into his bag of tricks. The W 125 is created, but now with an oval tube frame, at the rear with a De Dion double joint axle and torsion bar suspension, at the front with double wishbones and coil springs, as they are also used in principle in the Mercedes 230.

Mercedes W. 125 reaches 390 km /h

The possible top speed, for example on the Avus, is increased even further with huge 24-inch drive wheels. The W 125 normally rolls on 19-inch wheels. On the Berlin high-speed runway, it reaches 390 km /h with a streamlined body. The 5.7 liter eight-cylinder engine developed just under 600 hp, and on the test bench even 646.

Caracciola again became European champion with the Mercedes W 125, the Avus race of 1937 remained the fastest race in the world for decades . Auto Union driver Bernd Rosemeyer set the lap record with an average speed of 276 km /h.

The cards were reshuffled for the 1938 season: Mercedes was even considering a 4.5 liter naturally aspirated engine with 24 cylinders build, but then falls back on a supercharged V12, which is in the newly prescribedThree-liter category for supercharged engines fits. In 1938 still equipped with two Roots blowers, the V12 received a two-stage compressor in 1939. While the M-154 version from 1938 developed between 397 and 465 hp, the further developed M-163 unit achieved 483 horsepower in 1939.

The three-liter Silver Arrows' track record is impressive. In 1938 there were triple victories in Tripoli, France and Switzerland, a double victory at the German GP and victories at the Coppa Ciano and the Coppa Acerbo. Rudolf Caracciola becomes European champion for the third time.

From 1954 2.5 liter naturally aspirated engines

1939 follows a former racing mechanic on the Mercedes W 154: Hermann Lang. The former young driver decides the GP of Pau, Tripoli, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland for himself, as well as the Vienna Höhenstrasse race and the international Eifel race. The Second World War destroyed the great connection between the Silver Arrow and the new exceptional talent.

For the 1954 season, new regulations apply, which favor the 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engines in the new Formula 1. Racing director Alfred Neubauer, occasionally a columnist for auto motor und sport , nags: 'The designer has to move on the well-trodden path.' But the men around chief engineer Fritz Nallinger and test manager Uhlenhaut conjure up a technically almost unbeatable formula car.

Mercedes W 196 secures Fangio the world championship

The W 196 is powered by an eight-cylinder in-line engine with a central output Fired, the valves close desmodromically, plus independent wheel suspension with internal brake drums. When the tank is empty and therefore lighter, the spring stiffness is automatically adjusted. The Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio secured the world championships in 1954 and 1955.

A break in top-class sport follows. In 1989 the Sauber Mercedes prototype won the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mercedes has been delivering GP engines since 1993, and there has been an official F1 works team again since 2010. The saga of silver victories continues.

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The 2014 Mercedes AMG W05 drove in its own class. 19 starts, 16 wins, eleven of them in a double pack, 18 pole positions, twelve fastest laps, 31 podium positions, 701 points and 978 leading laps are silent documents of a seldom seen superiority, at most comparable to the march through McLaren-Honda in 1988 or Ferrari in the years 2002 and 2004. The modern silver arrow had only one weakness: every now and then the technology went on strike. After racing kilometers, the Mercedes is only third behind McLaren and Ferrari. A defect was to blame for four out of five failures.

Nico Rosberg got through in his attack on the title at the finals in Abu DhabiDamage to the power supply and to the cooling pump for the electric motors slowed down. Mercedes beat their opponents with Vorsprung durch Technik. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg not only had the advantage of the best drive unit. They also sat in the best chassis with the best aerodynamics. At the apex of the fast corners they were up to 15 km /h faster than their pursuers. The aerodynamics were fine-tuned until the last race. Most of the other teams stopped developing this in the summer. So it came about that Mercedes with an expansion stage at the GP Japan again won four tenths of a second over the rivals.

The drive unit has been consistently developed for Day X since 2010. Nobody put so much time, so much money and so many ideas into the new hybrid formula as Mercedes. Two examples: the separation of turbine and compressor and the short exhaust. The V6 turbo and its two electric motors together delivered around 820 hp. That was up to 60 hp more than the competing products from Ferrari and Renault. Despite the higher performance, Mercedes also had an advantage in terms of fuel consumption: thanks to more efficient combustion and better use of the MGU-H electric machine operated by the turbocharger.

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