I am posting on behalf of my friend Brun, who at this moment is sifting through dozens of files from the Auto Union archives in Chemnitz, all of which are publicly accessible. His main concern is the mystery AU "E-Type"/Sokol/DAMW but on my specific instructions he is also digging out some files on the 1939 championship. Tonight he sent me a short overview of what he found so far. It's very
The official name of the file is "Auto Union AG, Sächsisches Staatsarchiv Chemnitz, AU file nr. 7886,
'Europameisterschaft 1939' " and it deals with the new proposed points system of July 1939.
The short version of the new rules is as follows: to be awarded the European Championship a driver had to at least have won one race and scored a second place in another race and
also have the highest
number of points. This applies to a championship comprising of five GPs. In case more GPs were included in the title race, the champion had to at least win two races.
In 1939 five races were originally part of the championship: Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The points system was as follows: 1 point for every starter, 10 points for the winner, 6 for second place, 5 for third, 4 for fourth, 3 for fifth. These are the basic scoring opportunities. A driver only scores points when he finishes the race in the car he started. In case of sharing a car with a team mate he get three-quarters, half or one-quarter of the above points, according to the number of laps he actually drove in the car. Also, a points tie would lead to no championship being awarded
The German words: "Der Titel Europameister steht nur demjenigen Fahrer zu, der die meiste Punktzahl erworben hat und der bei den 5 Grossen Preisen einmal Sieger und einmal Zweiter war. Im falle einer Punktgleichheit wird der Titel Meister nicht verliehen. Für den Fall dass mehr als 5 Veranstaltungen - wie im vergangenen Jahr - zu Grunde gelegt werden, müsste der Meister Sieger zweier Grosser Preise sein."
The text is the internal AU translation in German of an original French document published by the Royal Automobile Club de Belgique, Brussels, on 18 July 1939 (between the French and German GP), and is called Projet d'attribution de points permettant de designer le "champion europeen des conducteurs" pour l'annee 1939.
The original French text: "Le titre de champion européen des conducteurs ne peut être attribué que si le conducteur ayant obtenu le plus de points a été classé une fois premier et une fois second sur les cinq grandes-epreuves de 1939." So this is the system already known as the one devised by RACB sports president Langlois. But it's also the most telling document on the 1939 championship that is in this particular AU file.
Of course the word "projet" is the important one here, as it means it was a mere proposal. The mid-July date seems significant too - when exactly was the Italian GP cancelled?
The blurry status of the new points system is confirmed by a hugely interesting telegramme
also found by Brun in the AU archives. It was sent on August 19 (on the eve of the Swiss GP!) from the NSKK in Berlin to AU boss Feuereißen in Berne. It reads thus:= Dr feuereisen bellevue pallace bern =
Da verschiedene ansichten ueber europameisterschaftwertung haben wir
entscheidung ueber europameisterschaft bis zur herbstsitzung vertagen
lassen = kraftfahrsport berlin +
To Dr Feuereissen at the Bellevue Palace in Berne. Since there are varying viewpoints regarding the European Championship points system we have postponed the decision on the European Championship until the autumn meeting. Motorsports department Berlin.
This means that either points system wasn't ratified as the autumn meeting (they are probably referring to the annual AIACR congress in October) never took place.
Another thing that's intriguing in the RACB points system is that possibly a point was given to every starter with the 10-6-5-4-3 system coming on top of that
. That would mean that Lang and Müller would have finished equal on 24 points after the Swiss GP, after which that other strange regulation would seem to apply: that no champion will be appointed. Not only would this be an elegant solution to our problem but it would also fit with the headline in Automobil-Revue straight after the Bremgarten race that "Der Meister ist unbekannt!"
Then again, the 23-points mystery remains and the idea doesn't fit in with the intermediate points in the O Volante or Les Sports reports. Furthermore, the Automobil-Revue headline could also point to the points decision being put forward on the weekend, as is proven by the telegramme to Feuereissen. So it's probably four translations (from French to German to Brun's Dutch to my English!) confusing this particular issue. Back to the typo theory then?
Anyway, three cheers for Brun!
And there's more to come...