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Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion


In early 1953 the then Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler-Benz AG, Fritz Könecke, formulated the grand goal for the resumption of international racing activities: Mercedes-Benz should capture the double world championship in 1954, in the Formula One and for sports car, with factory drivers.
In the second European race of the season, the French Grand Prix, the new Silver Arrows took the start for the first time. In training the fully faired W 196 R had posted the fastest time, and now, at their racing debut on the 4th of July in Reims, they would exceed all expectations of the public and the competition. The newly engaged Argentinean driver Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling won a double victory in their streamlined monoposto cars. This sensational success also had historic implications, for exactly 40 years earlier, on 4 July 1914, Mercedes racing cars won the French Grand Prix in Lyon.
Mercedes-Benz concentrated on winning the title of World Champion for Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954. In the British Grand Prix on 17 July in Silverstone Fangio had only finished fourth in the streamlined car, whose contours were hard to overlook on winding courses. But Uhlenhaut had sped up the construction of the second variant of the W 196 R, this one in the classic Grand Prix car design with exposed wheels. In the remaining races in 1954 there was always at least one Silver Arrow driver on the winner's rostrum. Fangio won the German, Swiss and Italian Grand Prix races and placed third in Spain; Hans Hermann came in third in Switzerland. Fangio's victory on 22 August in Bern-Bremgarten in the Swiss Grand Prix already made him the Formula One World Champion for 1954.
In the last races of the 1954 season in particular, the W 196 R had revealed quite a few weaknesses and was therefore thoroughly revised during the winter break. Racing car connoisseur Louis Sugahara: “Even after the start of the 1955 season, the cars continued to be modified between races.” Alongside the chassis with a 2350-millimeter long wheelbase, a medium-length chassis (140 millimeters shorter) and the short Monaco version with a wheelbase length of 2150 millimeters were created. In its second season, the racing car had shed some 70 kilograms and put on another 22 kW in output. The W 196 R’s engine now developed 213 kW at 8400 rpm and gave the car a top speed of around 300 km/h. A conspicuous feature was the air scoop on the engine hood – the result of modified intake manifolds and a reliable item to distinguish the car from the 1954 version.
However, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Chief Engineer and Technical Director of the motor sport department, did not change the successful basic design of the Grand Prix car. As in 1954, two bodywork versions were used, a fully streamlined car for maximum speed on high-speed circuits and the classic monoposto, a monocoque with uncovered wheels, better suited for twisting circuits. For while the Formula One regulations clearly specified the engines to be used – either a supercharged 750 cc unit or a naturally aspirated 2.5 liter unit, they made no restrictions concerning the shape of the bodywork.
As early as 1954, it had been realized that the advantages and disadvantages of the streamlined car had to be taken into account in race tactics. In the W 196 R’s first race, the French Grand Prix in Reims, Mercedes-Benz clinched a superior double victory with aerodynamically optimized cars but no sooner than the next race, the British Grand Prix in Silverstone, the streamlined bodywork demonstrated its weakness in that precise steering through corners was made difficult by the covered wheels. The monoposto had its premiere in the German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring.
Underneath the bodywork, both versions were identical. The eight-cylinder in-line engine with a displacement of 2496 cc transmitted its power via a centrally arranged output shaft. This layout reduced the vibrations of the engine whose output was boosted from initially 189 kW to 213 kW during the two years in which it was used. The mechanical direct injection system, with which Mercedes-Benz had been experimenting as early as before World War II, had meanwhile reached maturity and was fitted to the new engine. Another new feature was desmodromic valve control by means of rocker arms for opening and closing the valves – a design which, among other things, made the engine insensitive to great engine speed variations. First and foremost, however, desmodromic valve control increased the gas flow by over 40 percent as compared to conventional cam-and-spring control. The improved cylinder charge raised the power-to-swept-volume ratio of the eight-cylinder in-line engine consisting of two sequential four-cylinder units and installed in the car at an angle of 35 degrees.
The car’s backbone was a space frame, a design Rudolf Uhlenhaut had used – highly successfully – for several cars ever since the 300 SL prototype. Notwithstanding its high level of torsional stiffness, the frame of the W 196 R weighed in at a mere 36 kilograms. The 16” wheels were independently suspended from double wishbones at the front and mounted to a swing axle with low center of gravity at the rear. The initial idea of giving the car four-wheel drive was abandoned when the W 196 R proved to be superior to its competitors with rear-wheel drive alone.
For the 1955 season, several detail features of the car were revised. The intake manifold was modified, new wheelbase lengths were added and engine output was boosted. Whereas the 1954 season had seen streamlined cars at the start, it was the open monoposto with three different wheelbase lengths that dominated the scene in 1955. Since the Grand Prix races in Germany, France, Spain and Switzerland were canceled after the accident in Le Mans, the Italian Grand Prix was the only race in which the streamlined versions lined up at the start in 1955.
In 1954 the W 196 R clinched five victories, two second and three third places. And although four races were canceled in 1955, the Silver Arrows recorded six victories, five second places and one third place, thereby underlining their superiority. Louis Sugahara: “In a way, 1954 can be seen as a test stage before the cars were perfected in 1955.”

Wallpapers: Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion

Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion
Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion
Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion Mercedes W 196 F1 – 1954 – 1955 – World Champion

 

 

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