An historic achievement for a young team | Pirelli

An historic achievement for a young team





No doubt there are better ways of celebrating an impressive milestone than with a sixth and seventh place finish, but right now, the Brackley crew will just have to make do with it. 15 points was all Mercedes scored today, thanks to a s ixth place for Lewis Hamilton and a seventh for George Russell, who at least helped himself to the extra point on offer for setting the fastest lap of the race. But it does not change their championship standing by one iota. Mercedes dominated this hybrid-powered era of the sport up until 2021, but now it has dropped to fourth in the rankings behind leaders Red Bull, as well as Ferrari and McLaren, the latter using a Mercedes power unit. 


And yet today's Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia-Romagna -surely the longest name ever thought up for a Formula 1 race -  will forever be a part of the Three Pointed Star's racing history in the blue riband category of motorsport, as it marked the 300th Grand Prix appearance of an official Mercedes team. This is not the place to go into all the details of the success achieved by this Anglo-German team, but it's only right to pay tribute to some astonishing figures. One can start with 17 World Championship titles; nine Drivers' and eight Constructors'. What makes the figure even more incredible is that the team has only officially taken part in 17 seasons and its 300 races still only puts it twelfth on the all-time list. It first raced in 1954 and 1955 and only returned to the grid in 2010. 

Two different eras, dominated by two different drivers: Juan Manuel Fangio, who was world champion with Mercedes in 1954 and '55 and then Lewis Hamilton, with the “modern” version, based in England, the chassis built in Brackley, the power unit in Brixworth, who took six of his seven titles with the team and made a significant contribution to its eight Constructors' crowns from 2014 to 2022. The other drivers who were part of this amazing story are Nico Rosberg, Drivers' world champion in 2016 and Constructors' from 2014 to 2016 and Valtteri Bottas (Constructors' 2017-2021).

The team has won 125 Grands Prix, a strike rate of 41.67% of those entered, a record for teams that have contested more than one complete season. To date, it has put a car on pole position 137 times, secured 106 fastest race laps, with 289 podium finishes and scored 7,301.5 championship points. Mercedes certainly deserves the high regard in which it is held in the history of Formula 1. On top of that, it has also filled the role of engine supplier with Constructors' titles for McLaren in 1998 and Brawn GP in 2009 and four Drivers' crowns courtesy of McLaren with Mika Hakkinen in 1998 and 1999 and Lewis Hamilton in 2008 and Jenson Button in 2009 with the team named after its owner, Ross Brawn, who would go on to be Team Principal of the first Mercedes Formula 1 team of the modern era.

2023 was the first year since 2013 that Mercedes failed to win a single Grand Prix and looking at how things are going at the moment, this year could be similarly barren. Is it the end of another chapter of this amazing story, given that one of its main architects, Hamilton, is leaving for pastures new at the end of the season? We don't believe it, as the group led by Toto Wolff has not suddenly forgotten how to design a winning car. All sports go through cycles where one team is dominant and it takes time to return to winning ways. One important element is to maintain the team culture which is a vital ingredient and Mercedes' Austrian team principal knows what it takes to succeed. As for resources, they are certainly not lacking...