On July 22, 1894, the world’s first automobile race took place, where racers took to the open roads from Paris to Rouen. Fast-forward 125 years and we are celebrating the remarkable achievement that is motorsports. Over the years in Formula One™, we’ve seen a whole spectrum of triumphs and tribulations as drivers and teams race for the coveted Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships year after year. This is where the best of the best is crowned with glory, enter five-time Constructors’ and seven-time Drivers’ series winners Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, constantly working to maintain its competitive edge.
This weekend in Hockenheim, Germany, at the 2019 German Grand Prix, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport will commemorate its 200th F1 race while honoring 125 years of motorsports. We know Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport as an F1 racing powerhouse, but the Silver Arrows weren’t always dominating the racing circuit. Let’s take a brief walk down memory lane to see how the team came to fruition, where they are today, and where they will go in the future.
Rise of the Silver Arrows
Beginning in the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz formally competed in Grand Prix racing. The team earned the nickname “Silver Arrows” in 1934 as the car was stripped of its paint to its aluminum core in an attempt to cut down the weight and make the car aerodynamically faster. This innovation is what gave way to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s unrivaled series of successes. The nickname stuck throughout the years, with drivers honored to drive a Silver Arrow. Throughout the decade, the team dominated the races alongside Auto Union.
Return to the track and the birth of the W series
After a brief 20-year hiatus, Mercedes-Benz returned to the track in 1954 as a part of the newly-established Formula One. This was also the debut of the team’s technically advanced W196 car, which featured both the conventional open-wheeled configuration and a streamlined form, which featured covered wheels and wider bodywork. In true Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport fashion, the team continued to evolve the car during the 1955 season, leading the team to victory. The success of the car design helped the team bring home nine wins during the 1954 and 1955 seasons along with two World Championships. Due to an accident during the 1955 season with one of its drivers, the team withdrew from F1 and motorsports altogether.
A New Era of Mercedes
The Mercedes name returned to F1 racing for the 2010 season after owners Daimler AG bought a stake in the Brawn GP team (Daimler manufactured the engine of the winning car in the very first auto race in 1894). The team partnered with Petronas and signed Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher as its drivers for the season. The team finished fourth in the Constructors’ Championship for both the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Prior to the start of the 2012 season, the team decided to add the name “AMG”, the high-performance brand of Daimler AG, to their title. Going forward, the team was to be known as the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. This season also marked the team’s first pole position and win since 1955. In 2013, the team began to gain momentum as an F1 powerhouse with the signing of Lewis Hamilton. The team achieved second place in the Constructors’ Championship behind rival Ferrari, a vast improvement compared to previous seasons.
The following season, 2014, marked the first year of the V6 turbo era. And it couldn’t have been better for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. With 18 pole positions, 16 wins and 11 1–2’s out of 19 races, Mercedes dominated this first year of the V6 turbo era, coming in first for the Constructors’ Championship ahead of rivals Red Bull Racing. Fast-forward to 2017 where Valtteri Bottas signed with the team to drive alongside Hamilton, continuing the team’s winning streak through to its current season.
2019 & Beyond: Continuous Innovation and Evolution
Through the partnership with TIBCO beginning in 2017, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport has used TIBCO Spotfire® software and TIBCO® Data Science software to aid in car design, race strategy, simulations, setup, and more. The team’s competitive advantage in the age of modern motorsport racing is its ability to use data to its advantage. With TIBCO, the team is able to better visualize the data it has coming in from thousands of data points and hundreds of sensors on the car to make better and faster decisions.
The understanding of data helps Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport to continuously evolve and develop alongside F1. The team is able to identify and seize opportunities for increased performance, leading to shaving seconds off lap time, overtaking competitors, and winning races.
The results speak for themselves; to date, the team has entered 199 races (its 200th will be at Hockenheim), won five consecutive Constructors’ Championships (2014-2018) and seven Drivers’ Championships (Lewis Hamilton winning four of them), won 96 races, achieved 108 pole positions, and ran 70 fastest laps.
Innovation, teamwork, and technology have been Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s secret to their unparalleled success since the beginning. We’re excited to see where the team is going to go in the future and what innovations it’s going to bring to the worlds of F1 and motorsports.
Join our celebrations as TIBCO shares the many ways that data is changing technology on and off of the race track, in other sports, on the technology landscape and is making an impact on a personal level with its data for good initiatives. Follow along in Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s celebration of 125 years of motorsports with the hashtag #Motorsport125, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #TIBCOfast when sharing Formula One™ content on social media.
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