Mercedes Unveils A Special Formula 1 German Grand Prix White Livery To Celebrate 125 Years Of Motor Racing
The Mercedes pair in this weekend’s Formula 1 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim will look a little different. The team has revealed a special livery that Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’s W10s will be decked out in. The color scheme is to commemorate 125 years of motorsport, as the Paris-Rouen Trial, which took place on July 22 1894, is considered the very first mass-entry competitive motorsport event.
The back half of the F1 Mercedes looks the same as normal; yet the front section will this time be white. This reflects the—almost certainly apocryphal—tale about how the ‘Silver Arrows’ marque started running its iconic silver color. The traditional paint job for German racing cars used to be white, and when Mercedes debuted its W25 in the Eifelrennen race in June 1934 it, according to legend, found the new car was slightly above the race’s 750kg maximum weight.
The team supposedly therefore scraped off the car’s white paint to make it lighter, leaving only the bare metal beneath. And the resultant silver color for Mercedes racing cars stuck. Well, that’s the story anyway. There’s also evidence of Mercedes and of Auto Union competing in silver rather than white long before this 1934 race, as well as photos of the W25 practising the month before it… in silver not white. The team’s mechanic in attendance also has reported the car was never painted white in the first place. Plus you’d think that if you wanted to reduce a car’s weight marginally there are much easier ways to do it than scraping the paint off…
Still, when the legend becomes fact, print the legend. And indeed this weekend’s commemorative Merc livery goes full-in on the paint-scraping myth, with the white on the modern-day W10 even looking scraped away around the cockpit, airbox and halo to reveal silver ‘underneath’. The special livery also has a return of Mercedes’ traditional red numbers, which were abandoned for this season, plus there’s a vintage Mercedes badge on the nose. In a nice touch, the ‘scraped-away’ halo features a half-in-half Mercedes badge–half old; half new.
Mercedes has also outlined its significant previous in the 1894 Paris-Rouen race. “Nine of the 17 finishers were powered by 3.5 horsepower (2.6kW), two-cylinder V-engines that had been invented by Gottlieb Daimler and were manufactured in France according to his original plans. A 5hp (3.7 kW) Benz vehicle was also among the finishers of the race,” the team said in its German Grand Prix preview.
“The first prize was given to the competitors ‘whose car comes closest to the ideal’ outlined in the regulations and was shared between two French car manufacturers, Panhard & Levassor and Peugeot. Both vehicles were driven by the ‘Système Daimler’ – Gottlieb Daimler’s 3.5 horsepower engine.”
Daimler began to race cars with the Mercedes name at around the turn of the 20th century, then the Daimler-Benz merger in the 1920s created the famous Mercedes-Benz brand. The weekend’s F1 race has significance for Mercedes even over and above all of this. As well as being its home round, it also is Mercedes’ 200th start as an F1 constructor, and Mercedes is the meeting’s title sponsor.
Images courtesy of Octane Photography