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Mercedes can trace its motor racing involvement back to the pioneering days of the original grands prix at the start of the 20th century. In the years leading up to World War Two the German government pumped money into Mercedes and rivals Auto Union to build the most technically advanced racing machines the world had seen.
After the war it wasn’t until the mid-fifties that German teams were allowed to compete again. When Mercedes returned it picked up where it had left off. Juan Manuel Fangio moved to the team from Maserati part way through 1954 and won the world title.
Fangio won a second title when joined by Stirling Moss in 1955. But the team’s sports car effort was withdrawn from the Le Mans 24 Hours that year after one of its drivers, Pierre Levegh, crashed into the crowd. Levegh and over 80 spectators were killed. Mercedes withdrew from all motor racing competition and did not return until the 1980s.
It wasn’t until 1993 that the Mercedes name was seen again in F1, as an engine supplier to Sauber. It switched teams to McLaren and won championships with them in 1998, 1999 and 2008.
A last-minute deal to supply the Brawn team with engines in 2009 led to wins in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. It also paved the way for Mercedes to return to the sport as a full constructor in 2010 after it took over the team.
The team enticed Michael Schumacher back from retirement to drive for them but it was Nico Rosberg who scored their first comeback win in China in 2012.Lewis Hamilton replaced Schumacher for the 2013 season, and the following year the wisdom of that move became clear. Mercedes prepared perfectly for F1’s new era of V6 hybrid turbo engines. In a 19-race campaign the team dominated the championship, taking 18 pole positions and 16 wins. Of those, 11 were scored by Hamilton, who also won his second drivers’ title.
Mercedes’ dominance continued through the hybrid era, with the team winning every constructors’ championship from that 2014 season onwards. Hamilton took a further five drivers’ titles, only beaten by then-team mate Nico Rosberg in 2016. Mercedes’ record-breaking seven-year run of double titles is the longest in the sport, as well as securing the team a massive 73.9% win percentage of races over that period.
Rosberg unexpectedly retired after his title win and the team appointed Valtteri Bottas as his replacement. Along with Hamilton they saw off a rising threat from Ferrari over the coming years, which abruptly receded in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, resulting in Mercedes’ most dominant campaign since Rosberg’s days at the team.
New rules introduced in 2021 to trim away floor towards the rear of the car seemed to hit Mercedes hard. However Hamilton was still able to claim the first victory of the season at Bahrain.
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Complete list of Mercedes F1 drivers
Mercedes Formula 1 Team,
Major team personnel
Team principal and CEO – Toto Wolff
Technical director – James Allison
Managing director of AMG High Performance Powertrains – Hywel Thomas
Engineering director – Andrew Shovlin
Performance director – Mark Ellis
Technology director – Mike Elliot
Sporting director – Ron Meadows
Trackside engineering director – Andrew Shovlin
Chief strategist – James Vowles
Chief operating officer – Rob Thomas
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Mercedes featured articles
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- The major change Alfa Romeo made after being “stuck in a corner” last year
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- Zhou feels “more ready” for second F1 season after first trip home in two years