Mercedes-Benz was one of the most lauded teams in the early days of Grand Prix racing and the beginnings of F1, with legendary drivers like Stirling Moss, Rudolf Caracciola and Juan Manuel Fangio driving the incredibly successful Silver Arrows.
However the modern story of Mercedes in F1 doesn’t start until, after a 40 year hiatus from the sport, it partnered with racing engine builders Ilmor to supply the Sauber team in 1994 and then, in one of the most successful engine supply deals in F1 history McLaren.
With 58 wins and one world constructors’ championship as an engine supplier, Mercedes agreed in 2009 to supply the struggling Brawn GP team, born after the sudden withdrawal of the Honda team and a management buyout by famed F1 strategist Ross Brawn. This lead to another 8 wins and a further constructors’ title and at the end of the season Mercedes bought the team – giving rise to the current Mercedes GP team.
With a new car designed by Mercedes at the Brackley base of operations, powered by a Mercedes V8, the team was a factory effort again for the first time since 1955. The team recruited young Williams driver Nico Rosberg and tempted back retired 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher for driving duties, achieving consistently fair results, but it wasn’t until Rosberg took both the pole position and victory at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix that Mercedes was on the top step again.
Recruiting Lewis Hamilton to replace Schumacher in 2013, the team managed three more victories across the season – two for Rosberg, one for Hamilton – but it was the shift to hybrid power that moved Mercedes truly to the front again.
Using the revolutionary Mercedes Hybrid power unit that rapidly became the engine of choice on the grid, the new W05 F1 car led every lap, set every pole and won every race up until the Canadian Grand Prix, the sixth race of the season. Across the year, Hamilton or Rosberg set 18 pole position times, and won 16 Grands Prix from 19 entries, winning the drivers’ championship for Hamilton and the constructors’ title for the team.
The 2015 season has, thus far, been much the same as 2014, with it being the exception to see a car other than Mercedes at the top of the time sheets in any session and both titles looking to be in Mercedes hands again.