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Uhlenhaut/Mercedes/Monaco 1955


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#1 Parkesi

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 15:29

In YouTube there is a film: "Grand Prix d`Europe at Monte Carlo 1955" (21:50min) by Richard Koppell and David Clarke.

At 4:00 min you can see Mercedes car #3 leaving the Gasometer hairpin during practice.

Commentator: "Herr Uhlenhaut, the Mercedes designer, is testing the spare car."

Uhlenhaut`s expertise on the Nürburgring Nordschleife is well documented but I never read or heard of his exploits in Monaco.

How many laps did he drive? Are there informations regarding his lap times?

Some TNF members may be able to shed light on this episode please.

Can you imagine Adrian Newey testing a Red Bull F1 spare car during an official practice session? :drunk:

 

 



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#2 cpbell

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 16:03

I can't help on Monaco, but I'm sure I've seen footage of Uhlenhaut testing a W154/38 in Tripoli.



#3 Tim Murray

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 16:06

The relevant Black Book shows that MB officially nominated Uhlenhaut as a reserve driver at several races, including Monaco 1955. I assume it was never intended that he should actually drive in the race, but his reserve driver status would have enabled him to get a feel for the car’s behaviour during practice, as he obviously did at Monaco.

#4 rudi

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 16:13

At Monaco Uhlenhaut tested also the Stirling Moss Maserati 250F, entered for Lance Macklin who was DNQ.



#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 16:22

I can't help on Monaco, but I'm sure I've seen footage of Uhlenhaut testing a W154/38 in Tripoli.

W154 first prototype. I assume this is on an Autobahn somewhere near Stuttgart - Uhlenhaut and Sailer second and third from left.

 

HISTORIE_Rudolf-Uhlenhaut-der-entwickler

 

Uhlenhaut testing it at Monza.

 

D86982.jpg

 

Taken at the junction of the Florio and oval circuits.



#6 Parkesi

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 16:26

Rudi - your Information is the icing on the cake!

Again can you image Adrian Newey testing a Ferrari F1 car because he used to be buddy-buddy with Vettel? :drunk: :drunk:



#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 16:36

Not quite on designer level, but ISTR an occasion when Graham Hill hopped into a Brabham and did a few practice laps because the Team Lotus transporter was late arriving.



#8 opplock

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 19:42

British GP 1969. He drove a Brabham in 1st practice session, 9th fastest on 1 24.1.  



#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 21:48

Several weeks ago we had a 1955 Belgian GP clip referred on a thread here...

 

In it Uhlenhaut was in and out of the pits in at least one of the cars. Roger Clark mentioned at the time that after the Monaco debacle the team had decided that at least one of the team cars would complete race distance during practice. Having Uhlenhaut helping out with that would have been a big advantage, so we can probably assume that he drove in practice at each GP that year.

 

Or maybe not the British?



#10 rudi

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 06:52

Or maybe not the British?

 

Uhlenhaut drove the spare Mercedes #11 during practice.
 



#11 Roger Clark

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 09:03

Uhlenhaut was quoted as saying that he drove the prewar cars to find out whether what the drivers were telling him was true. He felt that it was only Lang and Seaman whose view he could trust. I wonder whether he had similar views about the 1955 drivers. 
 

For those who haven’t seen them, there are some interesting lap times during private tests at the Nurburgring in July 1955. They tried cars with medium and short wheelbases. 
 

in the medium wheelbase:

Fangio 9min 38.8sec

Moss 9min 41.2

Kling 9min 47.0

Uhlenhaut 9min 51.8

 

in the short wheelbase

Fangio 9min 33.3 

Moss 9min 35.7

Kling 9min 49.0

Uhlenhaut 9min 55.6

 

Interesting that Fangio and Moss were both faster in the shorter car but Kling and Uhlenhaut were slower. 



#12 Tim Murray

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 11:58

This passage from DSJ’s The Racing Driver has always stuck in my mind as indicating the difference between Moss (and Fangio) and their lesser team mates. He wrote about listening in on a discussion between Moss and another W196 driver:

They were discussing a 100 m.p.h. bend, and Moss was maintaining that the W196 took it in a long oversteer, which was perfectly correct, and that when he reached the limit of adhesion he put his foot hard on the throttle in order to prevent losing the tail of the car completely, this action bringing the rear more in line with the front, so that he ended the corner on full throttle with the tail no longer sliding outwards, even though he had started the corner on a light throttle with the tail sliding outwards. His team-mate was rather incredulous about this, and had it been anyone but Moss he would have called him a liar on the spot, for he maintained that when he reached the limit on the rear wheels he lifted his foot from the throttle and the tail came in again. Obviously one of them was wrong, and after a time it became clear that the two drivers had different ideas about what was the limit of adhesion of the rear wheels. What was more interesting was the fact that Moss was obviously reaching break-away point on the rear tyres, whereas his companion was some two or three degrees below break-away, and due to his lower sensitivity he only thought he was at maximum cornering force. At the lower cornering force which he considered the limit, lifting his foot from the throttle would merely increase the drag-component of the cornering force and slow the car down, so that application of steering lock would bring the tail inwards. However, if this driver had reached the maximum cornering force and had still insisted on lifting his foot, then the tail would have swung viciously outwards and spun him off onto the grass. With Moss at the wheel the car would have maintained equilibrium on the point of break-away and, if a delicate foot was used to control the forward thrust, the corner could be completed, still on the limit of cornering power.

Now, all the foregoing was dependent on the W196 having sufficient power, relative to its cornering ability and weight, to provide the necessary forward thrust at 100 m.p.h., and discussing the subject later on with Director Rudolf Uhlenhaut of the Daimler-Benz racing department, I learnt that this was quite possible. When I told him about Moss getting out of trouble by the application of power under such circumstances, he was agreeably surprised and told me that Fangio applied the same technique. He went on to say that the car had been deliberately designed with a handling characteristic that ended in final oversteer for just this reason. He told me that though they designed the car to react in that manner at the time, he never thought there would be a racing driver capable of (a) reaching the cornering limit of the car on a very fast bend and (b) having the ability to apply power in the required manner in order to maintain control. He was exceedingly pleased to know that his two best drivers were able to use the W196 to its fullest extent on fast corners.



#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 12:30

Pretty much an earlier demonstration of what skills Lewis Hamilton was applying on that Turkish skidpan last Sunday...

 

DCN



#14 Roger Clark

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 13:04

Would a difference be that Fangio and Moss developed the technique by some remarkable combination of instinct and accident (having made a mistake and learned from it).  Whereas today the computer says: "if you apply 0.25mm of extra throttle when you're 1.367m from the apex..."  

 

That's not to diminish Lewis Hamilton's skills - it's just to suggest that they're different.



#15 Sterzo

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 13:11

Would a difference be that Fangio and Moss developed the technique by some remarkable combination of instinct and accident (having made a mistake and learned from it).  Whereas today the computer says: "if you apply 0.25mm of extra throttle when you're 1.367m from the apex..."  

 

That's not to diminish Lewis Hamilton's skills - it's just to suggest that they're different.

The short answer is: the computer doesn't.

 

The longer answer is: many of us witnessed Hamilton making mistakes and learning from them, from Formula Renault days onwards.

 

It is the same.


Edited by Sterzo, 19 November 2020 - 13:12.


#16 Vitesse2

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 13:15

I don't think either the computer or Bono could see or feel how those tyres were performing.



#17 F1matt

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 14:52

Agreed. A good driver is a good driver throughout the ages, I have no doubt that the likes of Fangio, Moss, and Clark would have been able to extract the same from the car as Lewis Hamilton could on Sunday or if Lewis Hamilton had lived in an earlier era he could have been very successful. 



#18 cpbell

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 15:15

This passage from DSJ’s The Racing Driver has always stuck in my mind as indicating the difference between Moss (and Fangio) and their lesser team mates. He wrote about listening in on a discussion between Moss and another W196 driver:
 

Wonderful post - thanks indeed for this insight into greatness!



#19 MartLgn

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 18:36

In YouTube there is a film: "Grand Prix d`Europe at Monte Carlo 1955" (21:50min) by Richard Koppell and David Clarke.

At 4:00 min you can see Mercedes car #3 leaving the Gasometer hairpin during practice.

Commentator: "Herr Uhlenhaut, the Mercedes designer, is testing the spare car."

Uhlenhaut`s expertise on the Nürburgring Nordschleife is well documented but I never read or heard of his exploits in Monaco.

How many laps did he drive? Are there informations regarding his lap times?

Some TNF members may be able to shed light on this episode please.

Can you imagine Adrian Newey testing a Red Bull F1 spare car during an official practice session? :drunk:

Would a lap in the T-car be officially timed? I imagine Herr Neubauers stopwatch would have been the only timing made for Ing Uhlenhaults laps.



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#20 Allan Lupton

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 18:44

Would a lap in the T-car be officially timed? I imagine Herr Neubauer's stopwatch would have been the only timing made for Ing. Uhlenhaut's laps.

Parkesi referred to car #3 which I think is the modern idiom for a car carrying the competition number 3. Without looking it up, if No. 3 was the comp. no. of one of the entries it would be timed as a matter of course.



#21 Doug Nye

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 19:38

Standard practice was for the timekeepers to time every car running, even if it had a 'T' on it.  Two silver 'T' cars or two red 'T' cars might have posed a problem, but that was not a common scenario.  Quite frequently driver D would be credited with a fantastic time simply because he (or she) wasn't driving at all, it was actually driver A in command of D's appropriately numbered car on that particular lap.  

 

Timekeepers just saw numbers or applied ID, not necessarily Juan or Jean or Mike or Stirl...

 

And then the transponder came along.

 

DCN



#22 Roger Clark

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 11:31

Parkesi referred to car #3 which I think is the modern idiom for a car carrying the competition number 3. Without looking it up, if No. 3 was the comp. no. of one of the entries it would be timed as a matter of course.

The car driven by Uhlenhaut did have number 3 but only even numbers were used in that event. Another way of indicating a test car?



#23 Roger Clark

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 12:43

Another unusual point about practice for this race which may be of passing interest to some...

 

Moss was on the front row of the grid, usually credited with a time of 1' 41.2" 1/10 slower than Fangio and Ascari.  I have not seen tables of practice times for individual sessions but he apparently achieved this time in Fangio's car in Friday practice.  The peculiarity is that the rules for this event said that the front row of the grid would be decided by times in the first session, on Thursday.  Moss's best time in that session was 1' 43.4", presumably the third fastest of the session.

 

Just to complicate things further, Gregor Grant said in Autosport that Fangio was credited with fastest time on Friday at 1' 41.2" but that this was actually set my Moss!  The Motor Sport report of the race was shorter than usual and in tiny type, presumably because of the space given over to the mille milia report.



#24 Michael Ferner

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 12:59

Auto, Motor und Sport has Moss at 1'42.6". Not much on the practice periods, or when certain times were achieved. If Moss did the 1'41.2"  in Fangio's car, then it's plainly wrong to credit his car with that time.



#25 rudi

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 17:22

Auto, Motor und Sport has Moss at 1'42.6". Not much on the practice periods, or when certain times were achieved. If Moss did the 1'41.2"  in Fangio's car, then it's plainly wrong to credit his car with that time.

 

Moss on Thursday: 1'43"4; on Friday in Fangio's car 1'41"2; on Saturday 1'42"6.

Fangio on Thursday: 1'41"1; on Friday 1'44"5; on Saturday 1'41"2 in the Moss car.


Edited by rudi, 21 November 2020 - 10:10.


#26 Charlieman

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 18:03

For those who haven’t seen them, there are some interesting lap times during private tests at the Nurburgring in July 1955. They tried cars with medium and short wheelbases. 

 

in the medium wheelbase:

Fangio 9min 38.8sec

Moss 9min 41.2

Kling 9min 47.0

Uhlenhaut 9min 51.8

Uhlenhaut was 49 years old in 1955, a few years older than Fangio. What on earth was he doing on the track, and why did not Neubauer prevent him? How did M-B management fail to notice that their star designer was participating in track tests? Different times and different attitudes, I guess.

 

I dunno what they were thinking. If Uhlenaut had lapped at 10'30", he'd have been wasting his time and risking his neck unnecessarily. But when he got close to Kling's time, he must have been pushing the car.



#27 Gary C

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 18:42

Because he was a respected designer and a decent driver, why not let him out in a car to get some real first hand info.

#28 Charlieman

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 19:20

Because he was a respected designer and a decent driver, why not let him out in a car to get some real first hand info.

I'm sure that somebody can help out with dates. At previous Nurburgring tests, junior drivers crashed and died. Awful.

 

Uhlenhaut must have been driving that car like a racing driver, pushing the car in the same way as the three professionals. Wow. Massive confidence and ability. Wow.



#29 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 19:42

Ummmm - extraordinary reaction from the above...   Rudi Uhlenhaut had been widely known and was very well respected for his driving skills from the time he first joined the Daimler-Benz Rennabteilung pre-war.   Of course he was driving "like a racing driver, pushing the car in the same way as the three professionals".  He was a professional engineer, designer, test driver, research driver, development driver.  Each of those capabilities earned him his place with Daimler-Benz.  That's why Neubauer "...did not prevent him".  His stepping into the cockpit of a car and taking it out for investigation was nothing unusual - nothing unprecedented - nothing unexpected...it had become occasional standard practice.

 

DCN



#30 Charlieman

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 20:14

Ummmm - extraordinary reaction from the above...

Sort out your outraged trousers, Doug!

 

My first extraordinary comment: "Uhlenhaut was 49 years old in 1955, a few years older than Fangio."

 

Extraordinarily me: "Different times and different attitudes, I guess."

 

Doug: "His stepping into the cockpit of a car and taking it out for investigation was nothing unusual - nothing unprecedented - nothing unexpected...it had become occasional standard practice."

 

Admire that a 49 year old temporary driver lapped close to the best.



#31 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 21:12

In that same race at Monte Carlo, Louis Chiron - born August 3, 1899 - drove a works Lancia D50 to a 6th place finish - aged, well, you work it out.

 

In that same race at Monte Carlo, Piero Taruffi - born October 12, 1906 - co-drove his works Ferrari with Paul Frere to be classified 8th at the finish - aged, well, you work it out.

 

There was little unusual at that time about being a very capable racing driver in one's late 40s - and beyond.  As that wonderful tee-shirt declared: "I remember when the tyres were skinny - and the drivers were fat'.  

 

DCN



#32 Allan Lupton

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 22:46

Yes we who remember the first decades of the World Championship also remember that quite a significant number of the entrants were companies resulting from racing drivers, professional and amateur, going into car construction. It was therefore not unreasonable for those people to have a drive now and then and in the more forgiving era concerned that could be in official practice.

Enzo Ferrari himself was one such, though I doubt he drove in GP practice.

As Doug has written, old style Timekeepers timed anything that passed, a habit I had cause to applaud at a six-hour relay race at Thruxton in the 1970s.



#33 Roger Clark

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 08:47

Moss on Thursday: 1'43"4; on Friday in Fangio's car 1'41"2; on Saturday 1'42"6.

Fangio on Thursday: 1'40"1; on Friday 1'44"5; on Saturday 1'41"2 in the Moss car.

All the reports I have seen have Fangio’s Thursday (and pole) time as 1’41.1”



#34 Michael Ferner

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 09:16

How old was MRD test/research/development driver Jack Brabham in 1970? He was pretty competitive, too.



#35 Roger Clark

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 09:38

Uhlenhaut was 49 years old in 1955, a few years older than Fangio. What on earth was he doing on the track, and why did not Neubauer prevent him? How did M-B management fail to notice that their star designer was participating in track tests? Different times and different attitudes, I guess.

 

I dunno what they were thinking. If Uhlenaut had lapped at 10'30", he'd have been wasting his time and risking his neck unnecessarily. But when he got close to Kling's time, he must have been pushing the car.

Daimler-Benz senior management would have been aware that Uhlenhaut was testing the cars and the value that it brought.  Technical Director Fritz Nallinger and other board members attended many races. I believe they did prevent him from racing in the 1930s when he could have justified a place in the team and probably benefited it.

 

If D-B did want to prevent Uhlenhaut from driving the cars it would not have been Neubauer's decision.  Uhlenhaut did not report to him.  It would have been Nallinger if not Chairman of the board Fritz Könecke.



#36 Odseybod

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:03

The Mercedes timekeepers at work, Reims 1954 (doesn't look as though much would get past them unobserved!).

 

Timekeepers.jpg



#37 rudi

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 10:16

All the reports I have seen have Fangio’s Thursday (and pole) time as 1’41.1”

Yes 1'41'1, sorry, I copied from the Moity book, correct time in the text, wrong on the table...



#38 Roger Clark

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 14:05

Getting back to the original video, you can see if you look closely that the car Uhlenhaut is driving has large vents in the body work to cool the driver.  These were cut in Argentina for the Buenos Aires Grand Prix.  You can also see the vents in the car Simon raced.  It was presumably intended as training car at Monaco but was pressed into race action after Hermann's accident damaged his intended race car - though perhaps not as badly as it damaged him.



#39 opplock

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 14:11

 How did M-B management fail to notice that their star designer was participating in track tests? Different times and different attitudes, I guess.

 

 

M-B senior management of the time would have lived through two world wars, hyperinflation, the great depression and the 12 year Reich. I doubt that Uhlenhaut testing racing cars would have rated an entry in the corporate risk register had such a thing existed. 

 

I seem to recall that Duncan Hamilton's response on being asked whether he thought motor racing was dangerous was "The thing you have to remember dear boy is that for the first time in years nobody was shooting at us". As you say, different times.



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#40 Michael Ferner

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 14:47

Getting back to the original video, you can see if you look closely that the car Uhlenhaut is driving has large vents in the body work to cool the driver.  These were cut in Argentina for the Buenos Aires Grand Prix.  You can also see the vents in the car Simon raced.  It was presumably intended as training car at Monaco but was pressed into race action after Hermann's accident damaged his intended race car - though perhaps not as badly as it damaged him.

 

Yes, that's precisely what happened, according to AMS. According to Günter Engelen (Mercedes-Benz Renn- und Sportwagen), Moss and Fangio had brand new chassis (nos. 12 & 13) with even shorter wheelbase than the cars rebuilt for Buenos Aires, chassis 13 (Fangio) also had the engine moved forward by 6 cm. Herrmann drove chassis 4, the same car he had driven at the Buenos Aires Libre race, and the one Fangio had used to win the Argentine GP as well as the Italian GP in '54. It was never used again after Monaco, and has no post-racing history, so presumably it was cannibalized for parts. Uhlenhaut and Simon drove chassis 3, the "Trainingswagen", extensively used in the Argentine for testing and raced by Kling in the GP, also the 1954 French GP winner. Engine numbers were 22 (Moss), 20 (Fangio), 19 (Herrmann) and 10 (Uhlenhaut/Simon). Engine 22 was brand new, 20 had run a grand total of five miles in chassis 3 (Kling) and 95 miles in chassis 8 (Trainingswagen) in the Argentine, 19 was in chassis 5 (Moss) and 10 had won the 1954 German GP.



#41 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 19:45

Uhlenhaut in non-driving mode (left) with Moss in the Monte Carlo pits, 1955.  No 4 ( ex-Argentine Temporada trip)  Andre Simon's.  Loving Uhlenhaut's sandals...

 

GPL-FRED-TAYLOR-1955-MONACO-GP-MERCEDES-

 

Photo Copyright (yes, really! ) The GP Library

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 21 November 2020 - 19:48.


#42 Gary C

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 20:18

Gosh it must have been hot, look at all the open vents on that.

#43 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 20:30

See Michael's Post 40...

 

DCN



#44 Odseybod

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 22:18

That's a lovely picture, Doug.

 

I'm intrigued by those horizontal splash/spray guards (assume that's what they are, although if so, they look carefully designed to direct water onto the rear tyres). I've never noticed them on an open-wheel W196 before - was I not paying attention or were they being tried out on the 'mule', I wonder?



#45 D-Type

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 22:50

That's a lovely picture, Doug.

 

I'm intrigued by those horizontal splash/spray guards (assume that's what they are, although if so, they look carefully designed to direct water onto the rear tyres). I've never noticed them on an open-wheel W196 before - was I not paying attention or were they being tried out on the 'mule', I wonder?

I can remember that they were a standard component in the 'Merit' plastic kits of the fifties single seaters.  I think they were only fitted when rain was suspected.  I believe the idea was to keep spray from being thrown up at the driver - and particularly up under his vizor.



#46 kayemod

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 23:52

That's a lovely picture, Doug.

 

I'm intrigued by those horizontal splash/spray guards (assume that's what they are, although if so, they look carefully designed to direct water onto the rear tyres). I've never noticed them on an open-wheel W196 before - was I not paying attention or were they being tried out on the 'mule', I wonder?

The small spray deflectors just behind the front wheels are still there on the #4 Monaco car, and yes, I remember those from the Merit plastic kit . I'd suggest that the larger deflectors below the cockpit were there to deflect hot air exhausted from the side vents away from bothering the driver, maybe experimental, as I don't recall seeing them before. Racing those cars must have been hard work back in the days when men were men, and the races were much longer.



#47 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 07:37

There's no doubt about it...

 

Whenever details of the W196 come up they get fascinating. I am thinking particularly about the engine in Fangio's car being moved forward 6cm, why?

 

To improve weight distribution? And if so, why 6cm? Was that a calculation of percentages, or did it simply suit a driveshaft which was available from longer-wheelbase versions?

 

Was it used again? Was the engine still in that location (I'd be willing to bet it was, that wouldn't be easy to change)? Was a report written about the modification?

 

Forever fascinating.



#48 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 07:40

The forward deflectors just abaft the front wheel were intended to deflect water and more particularly in the Argentine case melted tar, gravel and trackside debris from being thrown up into the airstream and potentially into the driver's face.  The midship extra deflector just abaft the engine bay hot air exit vent was plainly to prevent heat, fumes and any leaking fluid being blown into the cockpit, causing the driver "further inconvenience"...

 

I have often wondered what a modern-day F1 aerodynamicist would find if he or she could test this car in a wind tunnel.

 

DCN



#49 Michael Ferner

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 09:54

There's no doubt about it...

 

Whenever details of the W196 come up they get fascinating. I am thinking particularly about the engine in Fangio's car being moved forward 6cm, why?

 

To improve weight distribution? And if so, why 6cm? Was that a calculation of percentages, or did it simply suit a driveshaft which was available from longer-wheelbase versions?

 

Was it used again? Was the engine still in that location (I'd be willing to bet it was, that wouldn't be easy to change)? Was a report written about the modification?

 

Forever fascinating.

 

Sadly, I can't find a report about the engine installation modification (yet), but I suspect you're right, weight distribution must've been the foremost thought. And, you guessed it, the driveshaft was available from the Argentine specification, which had a wheel base of 221 cm, i.e. exactly 6 cm more than at Monaco (215 cm). The car was used again by Fangio at Zandvoort and Aintree (no mention of engine installation, but if I had to guess I'd say it was still in the forward position), and then, together with the other "Monaco Special" (used by Moss to win Aintree) converted to the "middle wheel base" (221 cm) and streamliner bodywork to serve as training cars at Monza. Both Fangio and Moss used long wheel base (235  cm) streamliners in the race, though.



#50 Charlieman

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 10:16

The inboard braking system must have been a factor when moving the engine forward. It would also have been an important consideration regarding driver cooling.