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1939 European Championship


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#1 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 11:13

By 1938, Hermann Lang had already developed into the fastest grand prix driver, which became more evident during the 1939 season, his most successful year. Why the German sport authorities declared Hermann Lang as the 1939 European Champion instead of H.P. Müller, is still a big riddle today. This 1939 title is strange and doubtful to say the least, since the AIACR never issued any official results or awarded the title that year. When applying the previous years’ scoring system to the 1939 results, H.P. Müller would have been the rightful 1939 champion. Because of the war, the AIACR in Paris could not meet. Consequently, in order to resolve this issue, Obergruppenführer and Major a. D. Adolf Hühnlein of the NSKK-Nazis, who was also President of the ONS (Oberste Nationale Sportbehörde),the ultimate authority for all motoring events in Germany, declared Lang as the European Champion in December of 1939. After racing had stopped in September at the onset of WW II, the ONS must have revised the system to make Lang champion with supposedly 23 points, after his victories in the Pau GP, Eifelrennen, Belgian GP, Swiss GP, Kahlenberg and Grossglockner Mountain Races. How exactly the scoring system was altered to carry out this injustice, remains a mystery.

The Question is: How did the ONS point system work and which races were included in the 'ONS European Championship'?


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#2 Marcor

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 12:32

You know that Hermann Lang won the 1939 German Mountain Championship. Maybe, but it’s just an assumption, you could add the GP score with the Mountain race score. (But I don't find 23 points !)

But I don’t know how the OBS were counting, I’m sorry.

With the help of the Nixon’s book, here's the story of this championship.

The popularity of events like the Mountainclimb at Mont Ventoux or Hillclimb at Shelsley Walsh led the AIACR (Association Internationales des Automobiles Clubs Reconnus, in French in the text) to introduce a European Mountain Championship in 1930, for both Racing and Sports Cars. There were 10 events listed that year, at Zbraslav Jiloviste in Czechoslovakia, Cuneo in Italy, Shelsley Walsh in England, Klausen in Switzerland, Freiburg in Germany, Mont Ventoux in France, Tatra in Poland, Semmering in Austria, Svab in Hungary and Feleac in Rumania. Of those 10, only one - Shelsley Walsh - seems to have lasted through the decade to the outbreak of war. The last event at Semmering was held in 1933, Klausen in 1934, Mont Ventoux in 1936 and Freiburg in 1937 and the fate of the European Championship by the middle of the decade is uncertain.

What is certain is that the first champion was Hans Stuck (1930 - Austro Daimler), then Juan Zanelli (1931 - National Pescara) and Rudi Caracciola (1932 - Alfa Romeo). After that, even for Chris Nixon, further details are sketchy.

The Germans held their own Mountain Championship with centred on Freiburg initially, with qualifying climbs at Felsberg and Kesselberg (1934), Kesselberg and Feldberg (1935), and Feldberg (1936). Freiburg stood alone in 1937, but then the Championship moved to the Grossglockner Pass in 1938 and again in 1939, when it was supported by the Kahlenberg Climb in Vienna. Hans Stuck won no less than 4 of these German Championships, the other two going to Bernd Rosemeyer (1936) and Hermann Lang (1939).

Hermann Lang was Deutsche Bergmeister for 1939, bringing the title back to Mercedes-Benz after a gap of several years, during which Hans Stuck and Bernd Rosemeyer, for Auto Union, had reigned supreme.

There was no German mountainclimb as such, but yet another climb was found in Austria. This was at Kahlenberg, just outside Vienna, and it, together with the Grossglockner, would count towards the Deutsche Bergmeisterschaft (German Mountain Championship).

Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union entered 2 cars each for this short, 2.5 mile, climb, but whereas Stuck and Müller had to make do with a 6-litre V16 apiece, Lang and von Brauchitsch had a choice, as Mercedes had put together 2 very special W125s and 2 equally special W154s. All 4 cars had steam cooling and single or twin rear wheels. Both drivers opted for the latter, but whereas von Brauchitsch raced a W125, Lang found that even with twin wheels at the back, he couldn’t get all the 5.6-litre engine’s tremendous power onto the road, so he elected to drive the 3-litre car.

Lang won - just. Müller won the second heats, but on aggregate, Lang won by 0.8 sec. Von Brauchitsch was 3rd and, much to everyone’s surprise, a very off-form Mountain King Hans Stuck was 4th, and is serious danger of losing the title he had held for so many years.

And lose it he did. Mercedes again took their 4 special machines to the Grossglockner and this time Lang and von Brauchitsch both chose to use the big cars, but decided to do without the twin rear wheels on this course. The climb was restricted to 2 runs on the lower 7.8-mile course. Once again, Müller sprang the surprise and won the 1st heat from Lang, by 1 second. Stuck was 3rd, behind the Mercedes.
Shortly before the start of the 2nd heat it began to rain, and with the rain came a thick fog. Just how bad the conditions were is illustrated by his times for the 2 heats - on the 1st run he clocked 8 min 55.3 sec and on the 2nd, 11 min 12.6 sec ! After what he described as « the toughest, most uncomfortable drive of my life », Lang had to sit in his car for a few minutes at the finish, in order to pull himself together !
Hans Stuck congratulated him on winning the Championship. Lang couldn’t believe it - he had been so slow on that 2nd run ! But so had everyone else - except Stuck, just 3.2 sec behind Lang. Müller had ruined his chance with a climb over 20 seconds longer than Lang’s and von Brauchitsch was nearly a minute slower than Müller.

here’s the 1939 Mountain race results :
April 13- La Turbie (France)
1- Stuck (Auto Union)
2- Wimille (Bugatti)
3- Sommer (Alfa Romeo)

German Mountain Championship
June 11 - Kahlenberg
1- Lang (Mercedes-Benz)
2- Müller (Auto Union)
3- von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)
4- Stuck (Auto Union)

August 6 - Grossglockner
1- Lang (Mercedes-Benz)
2- Stuck (Auto Union)
3- Müller (Auto Union)
4- von Brauchitsch (Mercedes-Benz)


#3 Marcel Schot

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 12:40

When we start from the idea Lang was awarded the title with 23 points, somewhere along the way 9 must have been added to his existing 14. When looking at Leif's page, there's 4 more races in which Lang took part and where indeed any of the top Germans took part. Seems unlikely the Nazi's would include any race where no Germans were present. These 4 races are Pau (1st), Tripoli (1st) Eiffelrennen (1st) and Beograd (retired either before 25% or before 50%). If I understood the pointscalculation correctly, this would total to 1+1+1+(either 6 or 7). Surprise, 1+1+1+6 equals 9!

If this would have been the case, this is how the top 10 of the championship according to Nazi standards would look like :


Lang 		Mercedes-Benz 		1	5	7	1	14	1	1	1	6	23

Müller 		Auto Union 		5	1	2	4	12	8	8	4	3	35

von Brauchitsch Mercedes-Benz 		3	6	7	3	19	2	8	4	2	35

Nuvolari 	Auto Union 		4	7	4	4	19	8	8	2	1	38

Caracciola 	Mercedes-Benz 		7	7	1	2	17	6	2	8	8	41

Hasse 		Auto Union 		2	8	5	5	20	8	8	4	8	48

Étancelin 	Alfa Romeo 		8	4	8	8	28	3	8	4	8	51

Sommer 		Alfa Romeo 		4	4	7	8	23	4	8	8	8	51

Dreyfus 	Delahaye/Maserati 	8	4	4	4	20	8	8	8	8	52

Mazaud 		Delahaye 		4	8	4	8	24	4	8	8	8	52

Ooops, I'd better explain that table :)

Copy/paste from Leif's site, so it's Belgium, ACF, Germany, Switzerland, then totals. Followed by Pau, Tripoli, Eiffelrennen, Beograd and the grand total[p][Edited by Marcel Schot on 08-15-2000]

#4 Marcor

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 12:48

Very logical !!

I had to find that, as I'm mathematician...

But why Tripoli ? It ran on 1.5-litre regulations.

#5 Marcel Schot

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 13:08

No idea why Tripoli. It could be the mountain championship too, but when I started calculating, I didn't know those results :) What were the regulations for the German mountainclimb championship? It could indeed be more logical to include another German race...

#6 Marcel Schot

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 16:05

Now back home, I do have an idea why Tripoli might have been included. Initially it was part of the regular formula races, but in order to finally beat the Germans the Italians announced at the very final moment that it would be restricted to 1.5 liter cars. Pity for them was that Mercedes had found out about their little plot and had produced a 1.5 liter car within 8 months... and won with it! This German victory must ofcourse be displayed accordingly, they must have thought. 2 German cars vs 28 Italian ones and the Germans coming 1 and 2 really is a slap in the face you'd want the world to remember :) In fact this was the only appearance of the 1.5 liter W163.

#7 Leif Snellman

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 20:43

A note about the 1939 German Mountain Championship. It included two events. Kahlenberg and Grossglockner.In Lang's book (Von Rennmonteur zu Meisterfahrer) he says about Grossglockner:
"If Müller would win I would lose the championship regardless of my victory in Wien (Kahlenberg) as Grossglocker was the decisive event (of the two)."

That is,

Round 1
1 Lang
2 Müller

Round 2
1 Müller
and a second place is not enouth for Lang as they would end up on equal points. With just 2 events in a championship such a rule must be regarded as neccessary as the chance of equal points is quite big.

I have some idea that I have seen a 1-2-3 points system for the Mountain Championship in some book but I cannot remember where.

Regarding Tripoli is was quite natural to include it in a championship table as it was one of the main events of the year regardless of the voiturette rules. Including Beograd is in fact harder to defend. But probably they just included every race of the year that a German team had entered.




#8 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 21:34

Marcor,
Thank you for your input. By the way, the last prewar European Mountain Championship was held 1933 and Carlo Felice Trossi won the racing car class. By that time, moutain climb races had become so unpopular that only four events were held for this championship; Gaisberg (A), Stelvio (I), Mont Ventoux (F) and Monte Ceneri (CH).

Marcel,
Thank you VERY much. You did an outstanding job figuring out this math problem and your analysis is totally convincing. So, that’s how the ONS did it.

At that time, the people in charge were so arrogant, empowered by their “Deutschland Über Alles” idea and in that spirit they altered the international rules to make the fastest driver the 1939 Champion. The fact that Lang stood above Müller in NSSK ranking could have played a role for top brass to arrive at this decision. But maybe someone else has a more plausible idea.

When I went last April to the Technical Library of the Deutsches Museum in München (they have tons of old and new German language magazines), I spent some time researching this topic and was surprised that MOTOR und SPORT, Germanys top magazine at the time, wrote NOTHING about this except the official announcement in December, mentioning only the point score (23) but no other details. Was the editor disgusted about this wrongdoing? Anyway, my search for written proof will go on.

My better half just informed me that she plans a trip to Germany in November or December later this year. If that holds true, I shall stick my head once more into some old magazines at the Deutsches Museum.


#9 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 21:43

Marcel, I just saw your Tripoli comments. The car was a W165 with M165 engine (1.5 liter V-8).

#10 Felix Muelas

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Posted 15 August 2000 - 22:24

Don,

I think Leif, Hans, and specially Marcel deserve a well earned OLE!
Now we can tell Chris Nixon about it...should we?

Thanks guys.
;-)
fm



#11 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 16 August 2000 - 00:04

Felix,
Actually, if anybody, then it should be Chris Nixon to know, more than anybody else. He has done so much digging and put a great effort in interviewing the still surviving key players. It would be extremely interesting to see his response to this thread's contents.

By the way, I read somewhere that Chris Nixon is busy with another Photo Album of the Thirties and I can't wait to lay my hands on it. I find his books extremely enjoyable and notice only very few errors.

#12 Don Capps

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Posted 16 August 2000 - 00:43

Felix,

I am rather surprised bt the silence on the part of Nixon on this topic. Especially since initially he agreed with giving the Championship to Lang.

This is an example example for life not being fair and Certain Parties rigging the events & "rules" to get the result they wanted.

However, Mueller was the 1939 Champ and Lang - despite being both the man to beat and the one who should have earned it - wasn't. As I have said - supporting Paul Sheldon - many times, I didn't make this up....;)

Good job all of you.

#13 Marcor

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Posted 16 August 2000 - 00:53

"MOTOR und SPORT wrote NOTHING about this except the official announcement in December, mentioning only the point score (23) but no other details."

Are you sure that this magazine didn’t mention the point score of the second (I presume it’s Müller) ?

The official Müller score (always according ONS) would be worth knowing and maybe we could conclude a good theory.




#14 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 16 August 2000 - 06:46

First, let me apologize for having supplied wrong information. I said it was in MOTOR und SPORT! Sorry, I was WRONG. M+S did not report anything at all about the championship outcome and ignored the whole issue. I was leafing through M+S from the 1939 Swiss Grand Prix report to September 1942, this year in April (already forgot!), looking for this particular information. M+S’s editor probably smelled the rotten rat and ignored the whole issue.

I went through my files and this is what I found on this subject; sorry, it’s a whole page long.

MOTOR und SPORT, No 30, page 31, July 23, 1939. (Translated from German)
Grand Prix of Germany and European Championship. The Grand Prix of Germany for race cars will start this Sunday (23.7.) at 11:00..... .....After the Grand Prix of Belgium and France, this is the third round counting towards the European Championship for race cars. Rudolf Caracciola will still have to defend his title as European Champion in the Swiss Grand Prix (20.6.) and the Italian Grand Prix on the Monza track (10.9.). At this time he is with the Frenchman Matra at the last place, while Hermann Lang and H.P. Müller are leading. The exact score of the European Championship 1939 till now is the following: Hermann Lang with Mercedes-Benz and Hermann Müller with Auto Union each 6 points, Georg Meier with Auto Union and Sommer (France) with Alfa Romeo each 8 points, von Brauchitsch with Mercedes-Benz 9 points, Hasse with Auto Union 10 points; the remaining 13 drivers have between 11 and 14 points, among them are Nuvolari with Auto Union 11 points, Stuck with Auto Union 12 points, Rudolf Caracciola with Mercedes-Benz and Matra (France) each 14 points. The airship Graf Zeppelin will visit the Nürburgring at the time of the race...

Allgemeine Automobil Zeitung No.33. page 1080, Berlin, 12 August, 1939. (Translated from German)
The great mountain prize of Germany: ...For Müller, who until now can book the French Grand Prix as a victory and who is at top in the classification for the European championship, there was a lot at stake. ...(by Hans Bretz)

Motorpost No 34, page 8, Germany, 26 August, 1939. (Translated from German)
(Last paragraph from the Swiss GP report) "The only question remaining is which scoring formula will be applied for the European Championship, the plus or minus formula, and who became champion, Lang, Caracciola or Müller!"

Motorpost No 49, page 4, December 9, 1939. (Translated from German)
The Korpsführer of the N.S.K.K. announces: In spring of 1939 the international automobile and motor cycle clubs had decided, to carry out the European Championship for race cars and motor cycles this year as well. Since, as a result of the war, the A.I.A.C.R. as well as the F.I.C.M. cannot meet, I declare on the basis of the presented, clear points results regarding the European Championship's internationally counting automobile and motor cycle races to European Champion for race cars, the NSKK-Staffelführer (squadron leader) Hermann Lang on Mercedes-Benz with 23 points and to European Champion for motor cycles in the class ...

Völkischer Beobachter Germany, 30 November, 1939. (Translated from German
(Völkischer Beobachter was the Nazi party’s newspaper!) Since, as a result of the war, the A.I.A.C.R. as well ……signed by : Der Führer des deutschen Kraftfahrsportes: gez.: Hühnlein, Korpsführer (same text as in Motorpost No.49, above)

Lang, Hermann, Vom Rennmonteur zum Europameister, page 185, München 1943, (Translated from German)
.......when Korpsführer Hühnlein festively concluded the last racing year in 1940, nominating me now also officially to European Champion and presented me with the "Golden Motor Sport insignia", sponsored by the Führer....... (This paragraph has been left out of the official translation with the title: "Grand Prix Driver", also by Hermann Lang).

Frankenberg, Richard von, Die grossen Fahrer von einst, page 60, Stuttgart 1967 (Translated from German)
........1939 Hermann Lang became European Champion for race cars (about equivalent to today's title of a Formula 1-World Champion) after his wins in the Grand Prix of Pau, in the Grand Prix of Tripolis, in the Eifelrennen, in the Grand Prix of Belgium and in the Grand Prix of Switzerland, additionally he won the Great Mountain Prize of Germany, which did not take place at Schauinsland but at the Großglockner and with that he became German Mountain champion....... (The Großglockner Mountain was in Austria. Since Germany had annexed Austria in 1938, it was therefore part of the Third Reich in 1939.)

Kitschingen, Richard, Die Avus Story, 146 to 147, Stuttgart 1972 (Translated from German)
The since 1935 announced title of an Automobile European Champion - unofficial champion for 1934 was Hans Stuck - was first carried off by Rudolf Caracciola. 1936 it was again the Auto Union's move with their new star Bernd Rosemeyer, 1937 and 1938 once more Caracciola. 1939 the Third Reich caused the world other worries than the usual trouble about the obvious unbreakable superiority of German cars and drivers in the racing sport; the championship was not run to the end because of the outbreak of war. Korpsführer Hühnlein added the points and made Hermann Lang European Champion after his victories at the Grand Prix of Pau, of Belgium and Switzerland, at the Eifelrennen, the Wiener Höhenstraße (=Kahlenberg) and the Great Mountain Prize of Germany (=Großglockner)

Chris Nixon's beautiful book 'Racing the Silver Arrows' published in 1986, does not provide answers to the controversy about the 1939 championship. It is unbelieving that Chris Nixon, who has done such a lot of digging, simply ignores H.P. Müller's performance in regards to the championship; he must have known about it. Nixon also wrote a 5-page article about the 35-39 European Championship, called 'One point for victory!' in AUTOSPORT, March 12, 1987. In regards to the 1939 championship, he mentions H.P. Müller's name only once as winner of the French GP, and keeps score of only Lang 13, Caracciola 17, Brauchitsch 18 and Nuvolari 19. In his book, 'Racing the Silver Arrows' he shows the same points except Caracciola has 16 instead of 17 points. Müller does not even appear on his list and is totally ignored.

In retrospect, it seems that historians are more interested in this subject now, than the people who were involved at the time. What have the various British magazines written about this subject? Does anybody know? Maybe the proof is to be found right there. How did the British magazines respond to the news when Lang was declared the Champion in December of 1939? Something in writing has to exist, giving better explanations than above articles.


#15 Marcel Schot

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Posted 16 August 2000 - 07:11

Interesting stuff, Hans. It looks like most publications just mention all of Lang's victories in the vain that they must have something to do with the new calculation. However, the bit about plus or minus formula intrigues me. Is anything known about this?

#16 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 16 August 2000 - 07:52

No, I know nothing about the plus or minus formula. The 'minus' could have meant 1 point for a win and the 'plus' could have stood for 8 points for a win. I cannot recall having read anything about a formula change or scoring system as used in 1950.

#17 Marcel Schot

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Posted 16 August 2000 - 08:34

I've taken a look at possible plus formula's, i.e. winning gives more points than losing. So far, there's about 30 "logical" ways to have Lang finish at 23 points and Muller at less than 23 points using the 4 official championship races. That only includes variations the minus-formula 1,2,4,5 and 7 point places (the various positions of only Lang and Muller). So there's a multitude of possibilities when you add variations for minus-formula 3 and 6 point places.

However, when you see that in the same article Caracciola gets mentioned as a championship candidate depending on the formula used, makes clear more than the four races had to be included. There's no way Caracciola could have won the title with just Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland, since he scored 1st and 2nd against Lang's 2 first places, while Rudi had 2 early retirements opposed to Lang one early and one late retirement. The only way would be that an early retirement scored better than 2nd place :) In fact in all of the other 4 races (Pau, Tripoli, Eiffel & Beograd) Caracciola's performance was worse than Lang's. As Caracciola also was nowhere near the top finishers in the mountainclimb events, this provides us with an additional mystery. Were there any other races in which Caracciola took part?

#18 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 16 August 2000 - 19:02

Caracciola raced in only seven events during the 1939 season: Pau – Tripoli – Eifelrennen – Belgian – French – German – Swiss GP, in that order.

#19 Marco94

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Posted 17 August 2000 - 06:39

What does Nixon have to say in his more recent Auto-Union book? Does he in some way clarify this situation? And what about Neubauer, what does he have to say about this in his biography?


Marco.

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#20 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 17 August 2000 - 08:54

There is no reference about the 1939 championship in either book.

#21 Marcel Schot

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Posted 17 August 2000 - 09:49

Does anybody have When Nuvolari Raced? So far I have resisted the continuous temptation, so I can't have a look myself :)

With Caracciola competing in only those 7 races, that means that a scenario in which he would be champion would require the exclusion of 1 or more of the original 4 championship races. Pointwise, Belgium would make the most sense, logically France, since that was the German enemy. Either way, it's probably useless to try and determine this third scenario of calculation, since it's very likely nothing else has been published about it.

#22 David J Jones

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Posted 17 August 2000 - 14:30

I am a relative newcomer to the debate but on an initial check it would seem that for 1939 it had already been decided at the outset of the season that four races only would count toward the championship. These were - in order of occurrence -
Belgium
France
Germany
Switzerland
Italy had been initially on the list but they (Italy) withdrew in order to avoid a trouncing on the hallowed ground of Monza. Even the possibility of a Nuvolari victory could not encourage them to hold the event.

Any other scenario outside of this, particularly a contrived one by a discredited Nazi regime, surely cannot be considered and Muller is rightly the Champion. I wonder what he had done wrong in the eyes of the Nazis to be treated in such a way? Surely not that he was a former racing motor cyclist?

I was mystified by the anomaly and wrote to the English Motor Sport magazine last month asking if they could throw any light on it from their archives or if their resident guru (Bill Boddy) might have information on it.

If I hear I will post their reply









#23 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 17 August 2000 - 19:50

Valerio Moretti’s 'When Nuvolari Raced…' is a nice book but not as well researched as you do it here at the Nostalgia Forum. I found no references to the European Championship.

As far as I remember, the AIACR had determined four races for the 1939 European Championship: Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland. The Italian GP at Monza did not take place as planned, because most countries were at war with each other at that time. It started when Germany invaded Poland on 1 September.


#24 David J Jones

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Posted 17 August 2000 - 21:38

Yes it is true that the 1939 Italian GP did not take place due to the outbreak of war on 1 Sept but it had already lost its status as a Grande Epreuve.

This was due to the Italian authorities having decided that it would be run as 1500cc event (as they had done in the case of Tripoli in the hope of a win by Alfa or Maserati) This is clearly quoted in Racing the Silver Arrows

As this was well in advance of the Sept date the declaration of war is somewhat immaterial and the European Championship surely has to be decided on the basis of just the four races.

Even so I cannot understand why Muller does not appear in the even in the top four for these races. I hope that Motor Sport (in the UK) might be able to throw some light on it


#25 Roger Clark

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Posted 17 August 2000 - 21:40

Well, they published your letter, David. Even though you didn't get an answer, it must be good to have a letter published on the same page as Jose Foilan Gonzales

#26 David J Jones

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Posted 20 August 2000 - 14:29

As Roger Clark mentioned in his posting the letter I sent to Motor Sport was published in the September issue.

There was no editorial comment (which surprised me) so I suppost we must wait for next month to see if there is going to be a response

If the topic gets ignored I shall feel more bemused in view of all the notables who contribute to the magazine!

#27 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 03 September 2000 - 10:01

Marcel,
I thought about your modified list, which is an excellent table in itself to explain the points scoring. However, in my opinion it is inconceivable that the ONS would include Tripoli, an event not run to the GP formula and with only five European Championship drivers involved, namely Lang, Caracciola, Farina, Pietsch and L. Villoresi. (I know, there were not more at Belgrade.)

Is it possible that the ONS added only Pau, Eifelrennen and Belgrade? Lang’s score for these three races would have been 1 – 1 – 7 = 9, added to the 14 points from the EC (European Championship) would add up to 23 total. At Belgrade, Lang retired after 7 laps of 50, which is less than ¼ distance and would give him 7 points. Bäumer took over Lang’s car and retired after it had completed 17 laps. I am not absolutely convinced that Lang gets credit for Bäumer’s laps. What do you think?

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Driver	Car		EC	Pau	Eifel	Belgrade	ONS

_____________________________________________________________________

Lang	Mercedes-Benz	[b]14[/b]	1	1	7	[b]23[/b]

Müller	Auto Union	[b]12[/b]	8	4	3	[b]27[/b]

Brauch.	Mercedes-Benz	[b]19[/b]	2	4	2	[b]27[/b]

Nuvolari	Auto Union	[b]19[/b]	8	2	1	[b]30[/b]

Caratsch	Mercedes-Benz	[b]17[/b]	6	3	8	[b]34[/b]

Hasse	Auto Union	[b]20[/b]	8	4	8	[b]40[/b]

Étancelin	Alfa Romeo	[b]28[/b]	3	4	8	[b]43[/b]

Sommer	Alfa Romeo	[b]23[/b]	4	8	8	[b]43[/b]
[p][Edited by Hans Etzrodt on 09-17-2000]

#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 September 2000 - 14:03

Didn't the sparks start to fly on September 3?
I could also be persuaded to believe that Tripoli was still included, even being run to the 1.5 formula. Mercedes, after all, built a special car to run there....

#29 Marcel Schot

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Posted 03 September 2000 - 15:52

Hans : that could very well be possible. I guess we'll never find a 100% answer to this question.

Ray : from what I read, the main idea at building that special car was to beat the Italians on their own ground. A signal saying 'whatever you guys try to do, we're stronger'. Mercedes had nothing to fear, even if they didn't start at Tripoli. The championship was strictly a Mercedes vs Auto Union affair and the Alfa's and Maserati's as well as the French cars were merely gridfillers.

#30 Marcor

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Posted 03 September 2000 - 16:31

Hans,

I don't forget you and I had to e-mail you about the book.

About the 1939 Championship, I'm quite sure that you're right. When you shared a car, you never got credit for the laps driven by the other driver.

I would like to mention the story of Fagioli in the 1935 Belgian GP reported in the JP Delsaux’s book Francorchamps 1947-1960.

« ...It is worth noting the amazing driving of Luigi Fagioli in Francorchamps in 1935 : shared between his duty to obey to his stable chief’s orders and his eagerness to win the GP, the Italian champion had left his racer in front of the stands just after mid-race (moreover the irritable Transalpin was not at his first trial shot, s the previous year in the Nurburgring and in similar circumstances he had left his car at the end of the circuit on the opposite side of the stands !).

von Brauchitsch (the car of whom had broken down at a quarter of the race) had re-taken the single-seater left by his mate and had finally come in second.

Fagioli gained 5 points for this part of the championship (as his car had raced one half of the circuit at the time he « left » it) whereas von Brauchitsch was awarded 6 points (the car with which he had started having only raced a quarter of the distance)... »


For me ONS added only Pau, Eifelrennen and Belgrade. Remember one of my intervention: why Tripoli ? It ran on 1.5-litre regulations...





#31 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 04 September 2000 - 00:53

Marcel,
You might be right that we'll never find a 100% answer to this question. I am working on this case, on and off, for the last 20 years. Your ideas as well as others in this thread have brought us a little step further.

I have not given up in my search for an answer and will pursue all avenues available to me. Hopefully, I will be back one day with the resolution.

#32 Marcel Schot

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Posted 04 September 2000 - 05:42

Problem is that slowly all those who could hold the key (those who were there) are leaving this world, so to say. Books, papers and magazines always will say different things, I fear.

#33 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 04 September 2000 - 09:41

Marcor,
Please don't forget to send me your 'Want-List' per e-mail. I am still very much interested in the two books by Delsaux.

You wrote: "About the 1939 Championship, I'm quite sure that you're right. When you shared a car, you never got credit for the laps driven by the other driver." Then you gave comments from Delsaux's book about Fagioli and Brauchitsch at the 1935 Belgian GP. I shall post my answer to that very soon in the 1935 European Championship thread, started by Leif, because I believe that's where it belongs.



#34 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 04 September 2000 - 10:34

Originally posted by Marcel Schot
Problem is that slowly all those who could hold the key (those who were there) are leaving this world, so to say. Books, papers and magazines always will say different things, I fear.


Marcel,
Chris Nixon wrote in AUTOSPORT of March 12, 1987 ( after his book 'Racing The Silver Arrows' was published in 1986) that none of the many people he interviewed were able to remember or give an explanation of how the points were awarded.[p][Edited by Hans Etzrodt on 09-04-2000]

#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 September 2000 - 13:30

It was so complicated, no wonder. It's quite likely that they barely understood it when they were racing.

#36 David J Jones

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Posted 17 September 2000 - 07:49

Further to my note last month stating that I had requested information on this subject from Motor Sport, a reply to my letter has been published in the October 2000 edition.

The reply is not from the magazine but is from Chris Nixon, the author of "Racing the Silver Arrows"

Chris states that he wished he could help on the subject but can't add very much. He states he wrote that Lang won the title but admits Muller had a very good claim. He further addds that after all the years he cannot remember where he got the information which was already acknowledged as being correct.

It does not appear that any information is available from the Muller side since Chris began his research 10 years after Muller had passed away in 1975. He was however able to interview several people from the Auto-Union team including Muller's team-mate Schorsch Meir. None of them even mentioned Muller as champion for the year in question nor was there any indication that he was somehow deprived of the title.

Chris concludes by stating that everyone he spoke with from the Mercedes or Auto-Union team acknowledged Lang as the champion and he (Lang) told Chris "The chamionship was mine without question"

Any comments? I almost feel the topic deserves to be the subject of a book in itself. So when and who decided the solution? Should a decision made between 1 Sept and December 1939 stand without qualification?

#37 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 17 September 2000 - 23:26

Marcel Schot did an astonishing job explaining convincingly the math of how the ONS point system worked to arrive at 23 points and which races were probably included in the 'ONS European Championship'. This basically answered my two questions of the opening post in this thread. Through his help we now know more but uncertainties persist.

I had pointed out all along that H.P. Müller was the rightful 1939 European Champion but at the same time I am not interested of stripping Hermann Lang of his 1939 ONS title. My intentions are to settle this issue and this is what this thread was supposed to do, trying to come up with answers. Prior to 1939 the ONS had already suggested to include other races in the European Championship besides the Grandes Épreuves but to no avail. So, finally after the onset of war when the AIACR in Paris could not meet, the ONS (Oberste Nationale Sportbehörde), the ultimate authority for all motoring events in Germany, went ahead and included other grand prix races (possibly Pau, Eifel and Belgrade). Obergruppenführer and Major a. D. Adolf Hühnlein of the NSKK-Nazis, who was also President of the ONS, declared Lang as the European Champion in December of 1939. I am still looking to find documentation, which would back up the ONS decision. To speculate of why the system was changed and why Lang was made Champion instead of Müller is a pointless exercise at this time but I thought about it also.

Without having any documented proof, I now believe that the ONS included the races at Pau, Eifel and Belgrade besides the original four Grandes Épreuves (Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland). It is inconceivable that the ONS would have added races outside the grand prix formula, namely Tripoli, run to the voiturette formula, which was also rejected by Marcor in his post, and the two free formula mountain climbs in Germany (Austria had been annexed by the Third Reich).

Paul Sheldon and I had independently determined that H.P. Müller was the rightful 1939 European Champion. I found it then somewhat irritating to see Chris Nixon practically ignoring H.P. Müller’s accomplishments in both his 1939 Championship reviews because this came from a man who did some deep digging to obtain his information. In the same context I am now not surprised about his answer in the MotorSport October 2000 issue.

I cannot imagine that anybody in Germany had the courage to seriously question the ONS decision in December of 1939. Anyway, people had other worries to think about with the world at war. What did the three or four British magazines have to write about the Championship outcome? Did anyone ever check this Avenue? I would think, Great Britain being a democracy, one would find some independent views in their magazines whereas in Germany the government in 1939 controlled and censored everything to be published. None of the countries looked at the AIACR in admiration, they had the same problems then as they have now with the FIA. These were different times in 1939. The Championship did not have as much meaning then as the F1 World Championship did in 1950. And in 1950 it did not mean as much as it does presently.

I have to admit my surprise that none of our experts from England have yet come up with an answer on that topic, checking through the three or four different British magazines of that period. (I don't have them in Hawaii.) Is that a possible cover up? Karl, now the most competent researcher with good connections, might be able to shed some more light on this issue. And I, myself, will keep on scouting, as it is already a 20-year quest for me.


#38 David J Jones

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Posted 18 September 2000 - 11:24

Hans

I too was disappointed with the reply and also with the lack of response from the magazine which is one of the oldest in the UK

It was not my intention either to strip Lang of the ONS title either but merely for everyone to acknowledge Mullers achievement in terms of the four Grand Epreuves for the European Championship of that year.

The playing field hardly seems level which ever way it is looked at since if Pau is included no Auto-Union driver competed due to Nuvolari being prevented from racing by a ruling made by Mussolini who had something against the French at the time.

I am now so intrigued by the matter that I will not be able to rest until I see the final answer. If no-one here researches it I will feel it necessary to do it myself!

Regarding the attitude of the British magazines I am not too surprised at all. When I discovered the situation I was annoyed at the apparent acceptance of an injustice

#39 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 18 September 2000 - 17:17

David,
I very much appreciate it if you would look into these old British magazines. I am not sure anybody has done so yet. You would probably have to look in issues from the time of the 1939 Swiss GP report till December/January or even February 1940 to find something about the European Championship outcome. If you have access to a library which keeps these magazines, you got it made. Good luck.

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#40 Marcel Schot

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Posted 17 December 2000 - 13:08

By accident I stumbled upon something at the Christies website.

Sold on 20 November was this item:

Investigation into the Development of German Grand Prix Cars 1934-1939 - The final report by the British Intelligence Service, with blue ink signature to front cover Lt. Commander Clinkard RN; dated 1955, together with a pre-war postcard photograph of Hans Stuck in the Autio Union, signed autographed by the driver in black ink, postmark dated 1939. (2)

Source : http://www.christies...1938670&SN=6377

Would this Lt. Commander Clinkard be tracable?


#41 David McKinney

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Posted 17 December 2000 - 15:40

Probably Bryce Clinkard, who raced an Alvis Special in the UK about that time, having previously raced some rather odd cars in New Zealand when on station there. I'm fairly certain he died some years ago

#42 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 17 December 2000 - 16:52

Cameron C. Earl wrote a specially commissioned 143 page report on the Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union before WW 2, a B.I.O.S. Report "Investigation Into the Development of German Grand Prix Racing Cars Between 1934 and 1939," published by the Stationary Office, London, 1947. This book does not contain any reference to the European Championships of the Thirties.

From my recent trip to Bern I returned with three contemporary clippings about the 1939 Championship out of the German language Swiss AUTOMOBIL-REVUE. I will post my 'discoveries' here as I find more time. These latest reports confirmed my long held suspicion that the neutral Swiss would report in more detail than was apparently possible in 1939 Germany with Nazi censorship in place everywhere everyday. Anyhow, we still don't know for sure how the ONS championship scoring system had worked and the search is still on.




#43 David McKinney

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Posted 17 December 2000 - 18:35

I’m delighted that this thread has re-emerged, as it gives me the opportunity to add my penny’s worth...
A friend in Germany has been doing a lot of research recently on Brazilian racing before the war, and came across reports in a Portuguese magazine which throws new light on the subject of the 1939 European Championship. As he’s not online at home. I’m sure he won’t mind me passing on his findings.
Apparently the suggestion was made at the October 1938 meeting of the CSI that the French championship system should be adopted for the European series, ie 10 points for first place, 6 for second, 5 for third, 4 for fourth, and 3 for fifth, with every other finisher getting one point. No decision was made then, but at another meeting in July it was decided this new system should be adopted, and applied retrospectively to the 1939 races already held.
Recasting the points on this basis gives Lang and Müller 20 each, though the Mercedes driver had the greater number of wins, which could have swayed the decision his way. If his true score was 23, there could have been some consideration for fastest race laps, or perhaps Grossglockner was thrown in on a different basis (3-2-1?). More likely the 23 figure comes from the entirely independent ONS reckoning.


#44 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 18 December 2000 - 20:51

David,
Thank you for your contribution, which leads us in the right direction of the plus and minus system controversy. It was apparently not settled after the completion of the Swiss Grand Prix and created a totally absurd situation in the history of world sport: the assessment of a championship was to take place not before but after the conclusion of the series. Best part, it was planned to be settled in the October conference of the A.I.A.C.R. but then it never happened with the world at war. Therefore the German decision by the ONS and I am just looking for more details regarding the 23 points awarded Lang by the ONS together with the European Championship title.

Can you find out more from your source? I would be very interested in more details about the July 1939 meeting. I thought that at least one British magazine might have sent their reporter to the Swiss GP who would then have reported about the existing plus-minus-system controversy. Is there nothing in the British magazines from August/September 1939?

#45 Marcor

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Posted 19 December 2000 - 22:56

Well, it's not only about the 1939 European Championship but It can interest all of you.

In the brand new Volume of La revue de l'automobile historique (the best French magazine ever), just out now, there's a very interesting 30-pages dossier about "our" Mercedes W154. The author of this article is YVES KALTENBACH. Pictures (oa) of the start of the Coppa Acerbo 38 and ACF GP 38 + lot's more...

The history of each car (from wagen 1 to wagen 16, no wagen 13) is dissected including facts & figures, all their appearance. Once again it's written in French but it's really written by a specialist and for specialist !!!

I've not yet check all the details and I've not yet compared the figures with the Don's list. If I'll see some difference, I'll give you of course.

It has included post-war appearance: the 1951 Temporada races and Indianapolis + the present location.

Oh yes, I've learnt at least one thing: the existence of a Wien GP planned in September 1939 (of course cancelled because of WW2). Leif, you hide us that !!

Alas, don't expect a new vision of you present problem (the championship's rules). The article seems even not to mention the championship.




#46 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 January 2001 - 01:44

Would this race have been cancelled? I'm no expert on the subject of the war, but this period was also called the "phony war," was it not? And wasn't Austria already within Hitler's backyard at the time?
A last shot at impressing the world, possibly?

#47 David McKinney

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Posted 03 January 2001 - 06:18

Phoney war or no, Ray, virtually everything was cancelled the moment Manfred von Brauchitsch's uncle marched his troops into Poland. Certainly the Italian GP, and I think there was a Swiss event as well, and numerous British events. There was a sportscar race in Belgium scheduled for 3 September (I think) and although most of the entrants practised, Belgium was mobilised before race-day and everyone went home.
I guess at that point people diddn't realise it was going to be a phoney war...

#48 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 03 January 2001 - 06:30

David,
Do you have access to British magazines from August/September 1939? I thought that at least one British magazine might have sent their reporter to the Swiss GP who would then have reported about the existing plus-minus-system controversy.

#49 David J Jones

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Posted 03 January 2001 - 19:18

Hans

I had hoped when I wrote to MotorSport last year that they would consult their back issues in their Library on this subject but did not seem to spark much interest on their part.

The only reply I got was one from Chris Nixon which was unconvincing to say the least and did not appear to have any hard copy to back up the fact other than statements from Hermann Lang.

I have tried to see what I could dig up locally in the Bristol area where I currently live but they did not have copies of any motor sporting magazines of the era. They did however give me the phone number of the British Library which is in London so I will give that a try.

Another line of thought is to contact one of the affiliated organisations to the AIACR or CSI at the time to see if they have any information to hand. I am thinking here of the BRDC or the RAC in the absence of the German records which we know were destroyed in the bombing.

Did you manage to get info from Manfred von Brauchitsch during your recent Euro visit?

I am also wondering if Karl Ludvigsen has any ideas on the subject matter - do we know if anyone has researched his Library? His Ascari book was brilliant!

#50 Don Capps

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Posted 03 January 2001 - 19:35

David,

If I could arrange something with the editor,Paul Fearnley, at Motor Sport to take a look at their archives & back issues could you be available do that? No promises, but Paul seems to be more inclined to point his nose in that direction than the previous editors.