Mercedes is one of the most successful teams in Formula 1, during the recent years, they have won the constructor’s championship for three consecutive years and Lewis Hamilton celebrated his last two titles with the silver arrows, whilst Nico Rosberg won his one and only world title with Mercedes in 2016 (check out our article about Nico Rosberg).
The Silver Arrows made their appearance in 1930, where they won all the European championships after 1932. Their first official entry in Formula 1 was in 1954 which they were known as Mercedes-Benz. Juan Manuel Fangio signed a contract with Mercedes and moved from Maserati to the silver arrows in order to drive in Mercedes’ debus at the French Grand Prix in 1954. That season Fangio won three races and finished first on the drivers’ championship. The following season, Manuel Fangio repeated his success and with four victories and won his second consecutive championship with Mercedes-Benz. A terrible accident which took place at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1955 led to the cancelation of the Grand Prixs and Mercedes retired from Formula One.
The miracle and the firework
There is one specific year which I believe that most of the young and non-young fans will never forget, the year where a team dominated with almost zero financial support, with only the basic crew and with two very experienced drivers which both had a great “coach”. Of course you will know where I am referring to, the name of the team was Brawn GP and the two drivers where Jenson Button and the Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. The master behind the success was Ross Brawn, who believed in his team and led them to the top.
Brawn GP participated in 17 races, won eight Grands Prix, finished 15 times on the podium, took five pole positions and scored 172 points. The team became the first to achieve a 100% championship success rate.
Mercedes played a critical role in Brawn GP’s success as they were supporting them with engines.
That season indicated Mercedes’ return to Formula 1, on November 2009, Mercedes with Aabar Investments purchased the 75.1% of Brawn GP. Mercedes had the 45.1%, while Aabar the rest 30%. The next year the team renamed to Mercedes GP. According to reports Mercedes and Aabar paid £110m for the 75.1% and the remaining percentage remained to Ross Brawn in partnership with Nick Fry. Ross Brawn remained as team principal until the end of the 2013 season.
Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg were driving for Mercedes the first three years, they managed to get three poles and win three races. After Brawn’s departure the turbocharged engines returned to Formula 1, Mercedes had an advantage as Ross Brawn managed to improve the team’s power unit.
Mercedes dominated during the first three years of the new turbocharged engines, Lewis Hamilton replaced Michael Schumacher, and both he and Nico Rosberg secured 56 pole positions and won 51 of the 59 races. In all these years the two drivers have scored 2169 points combined.
This season, Mercedes is leading in the constructors’ championship by 24 points and Lewis Hamilton is second in the drivers’ standings, 14 points behind his main rival Sebastian Vettel.
Undoubtedly, Mercedes is one of the strongest teams on the grid, Ferrari looks able to challenge them, but it is still too early to make a prediction.
Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria.In this current turbo era of Formula One, Mercedes AMG F1 have had an almost unprecedented level of success not seen since the days of McLaren Honda. Three straight clean sweeps of both the World Drivers’ Championship and the World Constructors’ Championship have left the Silver Arrows in a buoyant mood in recent seasons. But it isn’t just on the circuit where the team have been at the top of the standings.
The team have also been ahead of their rivals on social media, with their twitter account being among the 100 most followed sports accounts on the social network with 1.83m followers. That’s 20,000 clear of their closest rivals Red Bull on 1.81m while Ferrari on 1.79m make up the podium places. In fact, only McLaren join them with a seven-figure twitter following, despite their relative woes on circuit.
On Facebook, Mercedes also lead the way with over 11m likes, with Red Bull way back on 7.8m and Ferrari on just over a third of their Brackley rivals with 4.2m likes. While on Instagram, the stakes are as tight as this season’s Formula One world championship fight as Mercedes lead on 1.5m followers, with Red Bull just 100,000 short and Ferrari back on 1.3m followers.
Videos such as the onboard shot of Nico Rosberg at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, in which fans almost got a driver’s eye view of the 2016 World Champion performing donuts, are key as fans look to connect with the teams and their drivers more and more in this ever more digital world. Red Bull are also known for inventive promotional videos such as the caravan race around the Red Bull Ring ahead of the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix – the team’s home event. The in-depth and often enthusiastic race commentary provide across the Silver social platforms go further to encapsulate emotions felt by an ardent Mercedes fan during a Grand Prix.
Japery with teams such as Force India and Renault add to the feel-good theme around social media and Formula One, with Red Bull also known for interaction with their fellow F1 peers. With the giveaways and competitions linked to the team, Mercedes make themselves more marketable than many other Formula One teams with their fan interaction. That extends to following, retweeting and replying to fan queries and less serious posts to the team.
Mercedes hasn’t just stolen a march against its F1 rivals on the tarmac, but in the digital world that has finally engulfed Formula One, the team are a leading light.
The 2012 Monaco Grand Prix had plenty of sub-plots, sidestories and points of interest aside from Mark Webber’s final victory in the Principality. Webber became the sixth different winner from six races in an open start to the World Championship, Romain Grosjean had more opening lap contact – and one other important story. That was the performance of Michael Schumacher during Saturday’s qualifying session.
The seven-times World Champion had failed to find the scintillating form seen during those Ferrari days at the beginning of the millennium ever since joining Mercedes for 2010 after three years away. Since that second coming his best result had been a fourth place scored at the famous Canadian Grand Prix of 2011 and 2012 had been beset by bad luck, collisions and sometimes lack of pace. Indeed, Schumacher went into the race weekend with a five-place grid penalty following an accident with Bruno Senna in the previous Spanish Grand Prix.
Mercedes had had solid pace all weekend but were not considered to be amongst the favourites – aside from the Chinese Grand Prix in which they were running first and second before Schumacher’s retirement, the car had been inconsistent. However, in the second qualifying session both Mercedes made it comfortably through to the pole position shootout with Rosberg just ahead of fifth-placed Schumacher.
Mark Webber’s time of a 1:14:381 looked like enough as Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean both struggled to eclipse it. But Schumacher, one of the last men over the line, slapped in a 1:14.301 to take his 69th and final pole position of a glittering career. Post-qualifying, in the knowledge that he would start sixth, the then 43-year-old was delighted with the result.
“It is simply a wonderful feeling to set pole after such a long time, and particularly here in Monaco. Okay, it has taken a little bit longer than I might have wanted in the second chapter of my career, but that makes it even sweeter. It’s just beautiful.”
After contact with the pinballing Grosjean at the start, Schumacher remained solidly in the top eight through the Grand Prix until his retirement from a fuel pressure issue with fifteen laps remaining. He would stand on the podium once more before retirement at the end of the season with a third place at a chaotic European Grand Prix in Valencia.