Juan Manuel Fangio, the hero of Reims

At the 1954 French Grand Prix, the Argentine gave Mercedes its first Formula 1 triumph.

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El 4 de julio de 1954 the Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio he won Grand Prix of France de F1 played in Reims. It was the first victory of the Mercedes-Benz W196R, a model that became popular under the name Flecha de Plata. From there began a glorious time in the history of the German brand, which dominated that year and the next, always with Chueco de Balcarce as the great captain.

This French GP later became known as "The Miracle of Reims" because it was linked directly to the Soccer World Cup won by the German team on July 4, 1954 and was known as “The miracle of Bern”. In this tournament organized by FIFA, against all odds, Germany defeated Hungary 3-2 in the final and became champion for the first time.

1954 French GP: The Miracle of Reims
Hans Herrmann, Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling.

This victory caused jubilation in that country - nine years after the end of World War II - and helped the so-called "German economic miracle" since it allowed to increase the nationalist spirit and self-esteem in the country.

For race day on the fast French circuit, Fangio and Karl kling they had secured first and second place on the grid, while the German Hans Herrmann, the other Mercedes driver started from the third row. When the race started at 14.45:11 p.m., Fangio and Kling took the lead, while Herrmann made his way quickly and caught up with them. From lap 61 of the 196 agreed the three W17Rs were in the lead, but on lap XNUMX Herrmann withdrew due to engine damage.

The two Silver Arrows leading the pack had an intense duel for the lead. The battle was so vibrant that the German radio commentator Reiner Günzler announced Kling's victory on lap 60, although there was still a lap to be covered and in which Fangio gave everything to win glory and beat his teammate by half a car after covering 506,4 kilometers.

1954 French GP: The Miracle of Reims
The start of the 1954 French GP.

That Mercedes-Benz that overwhelmed in Reims met all the conditions of the new CSI (Sportive Internationale) Grand Prix formula: 750 cubic centimeters of displacement with supercharger or 2.500 cubic centimeters, with no restrictions on fuel composition.

The engine placed in the Silver Arrow was a 2.496 cm3 eight cylinder that reached 256 hp at 8.260 rpm; while the chassis had a torsion-bar suspension and a new single-link rear axle and turbo-cooled Duplex drum brakes. Although a faired Silver Arrow was used in Reims, there was also another version with bare wheels.

1954 French GP: The Miracle of Reims
Fangio, winner.

It was with this magnificent success on French soil that Mercedes-Benz returned to the Grands Prix after an absence of 15 years. That success of Fangio in France was the third of the season and was added to those achieved in Argentina and Belgium, although using a Maserati.

The Balcarceño won again with the Teutonic machine in Germany, Switzerland and Italy and thus got his second crown in the nascent F.1. The following year the Argentine won the title again with a Silver Arrow in a campaign that included successes in Argentina, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.

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Diego durruty

Journalist with 30 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, Coequipier y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y Vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He currently drives Two Daring Guys, a car magazine that is broadcast on Tuesdays from 18 to 19 by RadioArroba.com; is editor of motorsport in Red Bull Argentina, columnist on the show WorldSport (AM Splendid) and in Surf & Rock FM.  He is also a teacher in SPORTS. Now you can read it on his blog: automundo.com.ar.

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