jueves, 1 de marzo de 2012

MERCEDES BENZ W196R REIMS 1954 -FANGIO-

Grand Prix racing starts a new era..., original article by Denis Jenkinson (©Motorsport 1954 -Permission asked-). After a break for lunch, or sleep for those who had been up all night, the Grand Prix cars began to line up in front of the pits and warming-up of engines and plug changing went on while the crowds grew larger. It was interesting to notice a distinctly new note in this immediate pre-race uproar and that was the eight cylinder exhaust note of the Mercedes-Benz cars, added to which the mechanics were warming them up on a constant throttle opening at 3,000 r.p.m., unlike the violent blipping that was going on with Ferraris, Maseratis and Gordinis, some of the Maseratis in particular appearing determined to throw rods out of the side before the race started.


MERCEDES W196 REIMS 1954

As the starting time approached the cars were wheeled down the road past the grandstands, mostly with their drivers walking along behind, to the accompaniment of applause from the crowds. Fangio was clearly the favorite of the day, though González received a huge ovation as he was expected to be in the thick of the fight. Ascari on a Maserati was still a relatively unknown quantity, but it was good to see Hawthorn walking behind his Ferrari, and knowing that there was at least one Englishman good enough to be in the thick of this battle of the giants. The starting line at Reims is some way before the pits and grandstands so that after the start is given the field are really under way as they pass the Tribune d'Honneur, which makes a most impressive sight.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


From practice times Fangio, Kling and Ascari were on the front row, with González and Marimon just behind, then came Bira holding a very worthy third-row place, accompanied by Hermann and Hawthorn. In row four were Trintignant and Salvadori, followed by the rest of the twenty-one runners, the Gordini team being at the back due to not practising.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


As the flag fell the front row moved off in perfect unison and then Ascari's car hesitated and he was passed by most of the field, but Fangio and Kling made no mistake and streaked away into the lead, their acceleration so evenly matched that they went under the Dunlop bridge side by side, already a 100 yards in the lead from González, Hawthorn, Marimon and the others.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Meanwhile poor Ascari was vainly trying to make his Maserati keep up, though obviously something had broken in the transmission and he passed out of sight of the pits with the rest of the field and only completed the first lap. Down the long hill to Thillois the two leading Mercedes were only a few lengths apart, but González was in there with them and already these three had left the rest, there being quite a gap before Hawthorn, Marimon, Bira, Mieres, Hermann and the others appeared on the skyline.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Round the Thillois hairpin González had the stumpy Ferrari right up with the two sleek Mercedes and as they finished that first electrifying lap he got between them and it was Kling who led. The next lap saw Fangio in second place and already González was dropping back, the German pace was much too hot, though Hermann was not so outstanding, being bottled up in mid-field with the Maseratis of Bira and Mieres.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Now that the cars had spread themselves out a bit Fangio got past Kling and the two Mercedes were obviously already in complete command, for González pressed the Ferrari as hard as it would go, but he could not keep up, though he was well ahead of Hawthorn and Marimon, way ahead of all the independents, and some work B cars as well, Bira was driving like never before, making his new Maserati really go, while at the back of the field Behra was forcing his Gordini through, getting involved in terrific dogfights with the other runners as he worked his way up from the back of the start.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


On lap five Hermann had got well into his stride, passed Hawthorn and Marimon and was attacking González and for three laps these two battled furiously, though now nearly 20 seconds behind the leading pair, who were keeping company with apparent ease. González was trying all he knew to prevent the Mercedes team getting in 1-2-3 position and he was being most effective until on lap 13 the Ferrari engine gave up the unequal struggle just as it rounded the Thillois hairpin and the car spun, fortunately leaving enough room for Hermann to squeeze by. González restarted and toured into the pits, but the battle was over and the streaks of oil all over the Ferrari bonnet were a good indication of how severely it had blown up.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


With González out the Mercedes-Benz team were now in complete command, in the order Fangio, Kling and Hermann, there being 5 seconds between the first two and 38 seconds between the two German drivers. With this battle going on at the front of the field there was a tendency to overlook the others, but for five laps there had been a terrific battle between Behra, Mieres, Salvadori, Villoresi and Manzon, they being three abreast at times and all trying hard, while Bira was way ahead of the lot of them having a very comfortable run on his own in sixth position.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Hawthorn and Marimon had been pressing each other and the Ferrari was the first to give way, it doing so with a big bang, similar to that of González, and Hawthorn was nearly into the village of Gueux before he could stop the car, there being oil all over the tyres from the blow-up. Wharton was not happy with the Owen Maserati, the prop.-shaft still causing a terrible vibration, and Macklin had stopped the H.W.M. when a big-end went. Behra won his battle and got away from the other four ; he then became involved with Trintignant and together they surrounded Bira, but the little prince was not giving way and this three-cornered battle was one of the highlights of the whole race.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Passing and re-passing, running alongside each other, none of them would relax the pace. On the 20th lap they arrived at the braking point for Thillois hairpin literally side by side and just when it was going to be too late the blue-and-yellow Maserati braked first, with the result that the two Frenchmen went ahead, but Bira had timed it perfectly and as the Gordini and the Ferrari ran wide, scrabbling round the corner, the Maserati accelerated through on the inside in one of the neatest and slickest tactical moves seen for a long time. Bira was now away on his own, Trintignant behind and Behra had to stop at his pit as he had rammed the retaining fence in this excitement and the Gordini nose was flattened.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


This little drama had been taking place a long way behind the leaders, and although it started as a battle for fifth place it ended in the winner being third in the race, for Hermann, after setting up a lap record, had stopped at Thillois in a cloud of smoke and no sooner had Marimon taken over third place than he had to stop at the pits for new plugs and dropped to the back of the field.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


So furious was the pace that cars were dropping out all round the circuit, Salvadori pulling off onto the grass as his rear axle bevels stripped, the weak point of the new Maserati it would seem, and Schell had stopped just beyond him with a reluctant fuel pump. With only a third of the race run Fangio and Kling were circulating in close company, having broken up all possible opposition, but at the expense of their team's third car, and there was now the unusual situation of a private-owner being in third place.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Behra was furious at having been led up the escape road and damaging his car as a result and after the mechanics had made sure the car was roadworthy he rejoined the race, but not until a little pantomime had been enacted. In pushing in the front of the car the "alligator" bonnet became buckled and the catches would not fasten properly so a mechanic was trying to bend things to make them fit. Behra was in the cockpit with the engine running and itching to get away and he lost his temper with the mechanic, leaping out and struggling with him as he thought he could do the job better.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Then the engine of the Gordini died and Behra tore his helmet off in a rage and stamped away purple in the face. Having seen González sitting calmly in the pit at Le Mans with the 24-hour race about to be taken from his hand in the last hour, and Fangio quietly watching the Belgian Grand Prix of 1951 disappear before his eyes while mechanics struggled to remove a jammed wheel during a pit-stop, it made one realize that the masters of the game are no ordinary people.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Behra's unnecessary exhibition when he was only losing fifth place looked rather pathetic and he must have realized it too, for when the bonnet was fixed he climbed back in and went off without a word, but now right at the back of the race. Relentlessly the two Mercedes-Benz went round and round, never more than a few seconds apart, with Fangio in the lead most of the time but occasionally letting Kling set the pace. Bira was a very firm third, though half a lap behind, and he was followed by Trintignant, Manzon, Villoresi, Frere, who was driving his Gordini works car very regularly, then Rosier, Marimon and Behra, Villoresi stopped to change a plug as his Maserati had gone a bit flat, and Rosier then toured in to retire, while the two Mercedes-Benz went by side by side with Kling scratching his nose, so comfortable was their pace, though they were lapping around 2 minutes and 35 sec.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Mieres stopped very quickly when a piston broke, after having driven hard with his 1953/54 Maserati and at half-distance, the race being over 61 laps, there were only eight cars left running out of the 21 starters, the last to go being Marimon, whose gearbox stopped working. The whole race had now fizzled out and it had become a Mercedes-Benz demonstration run, all the more remarkable as it was their first race with an entirely new car. Trintignant with the only remaining works Ferrari now began to slow and was caught by Manzon, and a lap or two later the red car stopped at its pit with smoke coming from the wrong places and withdrew.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Until now the weather had been kind, but rain began to fall as the last works Ferrari withdrew and this hindered Bira who was getting his lensed goggles steamed up. Being too short-sighted to drive without them he slowed and Manzon caught and passed him, taking third place behind the German cars. Frere stopped for oil and Villoresi for more plugs and steadily the leaders reeled off the laps, the rain stopping towards the end. This allowed Bira to speed up again and he rapidly approached Manzon in the closing stages, while at the same time Fangio and Kling began a neck-and-neck dice for the last 10 laps of the race, just as Frere stopped at his pit with smoke coming from the Gordini rear axle, which put paid to any hope of finishing.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Side by side the two Mercedes-Benz passed the pits and nose to tail they went down the back straight, first Fangio leading then Kling, and it looked as though team orders had gone by the board and they were racing against each other, though their lap times were only 2 min. 36 sec. For the last five laps they crossed the line side by side and as they started on the 61st round it was Kling who had a lead of a few inches.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Down to Thillois Fangio led, and as they came up the final straight, Kling pulled out of the Argentinian's slipstream and tried to pip him on the line, but failed by a matter of yards, and triumphantly, having conquered all opposition at the expense of one of their own cars, the Mercedes-Benz team finished the 1954 French Grand Prix. This last-minute scrap rather overshadowed a similar one for third place, for Bira got past Manzon on lap 58 only to be re-passed as they came up the final straight, a lap behind the leaders, for the Maserati ran out of fuel and Bira had to coast over the line and lost third place.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


In addition the final bevels had stripped so it was just as well that he was a lap behind the winner for the car could not have done the full 61 laps. Villoresi arrived fourth, three laps behind and last to come in was Behra with the dented Gordini; six finishers out of a field of 21 starters told the story of the pace set by the German cars and with private-owners third and fourth, Grand Prix racing had certainly started on a new era of science versus the rest, with the rest found wanting.

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Results GRAND PRIX de l’ACF. 61 Laps. 500.82 Kilometres. Dry and then Rain.
1st: J. M. FANGIO (Mercedes-Benz) 2 hr. 42 min. 47.9 sec. 186.638 k.p.h.
2nd: K. Kling (Mercedes-Benz) 2 hr. 42 min. 48.0 sec.
3rd: R. Manzon (Ferrari) 1 lap behind.
4th: B. Bira (Maserati) 1 lap behind.
5th: L. Villoresi (Maserati) 3 laps behind.
6th: J. Behra (Gordini) 5 laps behind.
Fastest lap: H. Hermann (Mercedes-Benz) in 2 min. 32.9 sec. 195.463 k.p.h. (new record).

MERCEDES W 196 REIMS 1954


Salud

4 comentarios:

Miguel Angel dijo...

Coches con estrella. Circuitos con estrella. ¡¡¡Si es que son mi debilidad y no puedo ser objetivo!!! Preciosas las fotos de los trillizos con el atrezzo real (no el de la caja) de fondo. Que buen aspecto va tomando todo.
Saludos.
Miguel.

Embrague dijo...

Grandes detalles de un coche difícil de reproducir, sin caer en el juguete.

Tanto esfuerzo en el detalle y en una miniatura muy buena se vuelve a ver (como tantas veces) afeado por el piloto. Parece ser que en TopSlot creen que Fangio corrió el 28 de diciembre y se puso las gafas de "coña".

Como diría Mou ¿y por qué...no pintan opacas las "ópticas" de las gafas y no dejan de asustar al personal? Ah...que no es Fangio, que es el test dummy de Mercedes...

Que bien se ve el "new moorvalley circuit".¡Parece Reims!.

Saludos

Miguel Angel dijo...

A mí, Dani, me recuerda a los monigotes de los Gomaespuma. Es la razón por la que TopSlot se queda siempre en el notable y no tiene nunca la opción al sobresaliente. Se conoce que siguen confiando como el mal estudiante en septiembre.
El "new moorvalley circuit" cada día me gusta más. ¿Por qué será? ¡¡¡Eso es un circuito y no las chapuzas que algunos se autopublicitan por ahí!!! (Además en este Sauron no vigila una curva).
Saludos.
Miguel.

Joan-er-cunyao dijo...

m'encanta!!!!!! Pero estoy con los compañeros, el "cabezón" lo afea un poco.... pero es una verdadera joya de coche.
Adèu i gasssssss

DEMO.SLOT

Se ha producido un error en este gadget.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

RESERVADOS TODOS LOS DERECHOS