Successful Formula One Countries, Part Three: Germany

Billy Sexton@@billysextonAnalyst IAugust 5, 2008

Before we dive in to this detailed report, I would like to thank all the people who have commented and rated my previous articles (focusing on Great Britain and Brazil) in this series.

I was going to extend the series to five parts, yet after careful thought I have decided not to. I don't want to end up like a Rubens Barrichello; holding on when it is best to let go!

In this installment, we will take a look at German constructors and engine suppliers as well as drivers, history and circuits.

History

Germany have been involved in Formula One since the early days. With this in mind, it is a surprising fact that Germany have only ever produced one Formula One world champion, although there have been many successful German constructors.

There has been a German Grand Prix held since 1926 and a Formula One event has been held since 1951. The German Grand Prix has produced many memorable races, and the 2008 event certainly on the list.

The German people enjoy Formula One (much more now after Michael Schumacher's dominance) and there is a lot of pressure on all German drivers to deliver good results and make the country proud.

Drivers

I will only mention one driver in this installment. Although there have been many German F1 drivers, none have been as successful as Michael Schumacher.

There is only one person to begin with when it comes to German F1 drivers: Michael Schumacher.

The seven-time world champion is the first and only German world champion.

Did you know that Michael Schumacher was voted the most popular F1 driver in a survey by the FIA in 2006?

Schumacher was recognised as a talented driver in his first full season in Formula One. Driving with the Benetton team, Schumacher scored eight podiums and one win in his first season. He finished third in the championship.

His first championship came in 1994 when he dominated the season, despite being disqualified from two races and excluded from two others.

Schumacher moved to Ferrari in 1996 and won his first (of five) championships with them in 2000.

Schumacher wasn't off the podium in 2002 and won the title with an amazing six rounds to spare!

Did you know that Michael Schumacher finished 67 points ahead of the runner up in the 2002 F1 championship?

Schumacher won his final championship in 2004 and dominated the season. Had he won in Monte Carlo, Schumacher would have won 13 consecutive Grand Prix.

In 2005, Schumacher conceded his world title to Fernando Alonso, after the 2005 Ferrari couldn't keep up with the McLaren and Renault of Raikkonen and Alonso.

In 2006, Michael retired from the sport as the [statistically] best driver ever.

Did you know that Michael Schumacher currently holds a massive 31 records in Formula One? These include most wins, most championships, and most pole positions.

Constructors/Engine Suppliers

Mercedes Benz used to be a constructor in the F1 world championship before going on to be an engine supplier from 1993 onwards.

In 1954, Mercedes driver Juan Manuel Fangio won the title, and Mercedes dominated the season the following year.

Fangio and Moss won six of the nine races, and it was a Mercedes 1-2 in the championship that year.

From 1993 onwards, Mercedes have supplied engines for Formula One cars. Before supplying McLaren with engines, Mercedes supplied the Sauber team.

McLaren Mercedes only really stepped into a new era in 1998, a year in which the team changed to Bridgestone tyres.

Did you know that McLaren's nickname "Silver Arrows" nickname only began in 1997 because of West sponsoring the cars?

Despite a successful relationship with McLaren, the partnership have only produced one driver's world champion.

Along with Mercedes, BMW used to supply engines to F1 teams, Williams in particular. With 10 wins, Williams BMW were fairly successful, finishing runner up to Ferrari in the WCC twice.

BMW then bought out the Sauber F1 team.

Growing and improving every year, the BMW Sauber team are now one of the front runners in Formula One. They won their first race in 2008 with Robert Kubica and are constructor title contenders.

Rumour is that BMW Sauber are concentrating on 2009 development. With many big changes in aerodynamics, many expect BMW to win a lot more races.

Circuits

There are two main racing circuits in Germany; the Nurburgring and the Hockenheimring.

The Nurburgring has held many amazing races. Jackie Stewart's win in the fog in 1969 was nothing short of a master class performance. He won by over four minutes in the fog and rain.

Did you know that the circuit used to be two separate circuits, joining at the pit straight? It was a huge 17-mile circuit back in the day.

The present Nurburgring circuit has not held the German Grand Prix since 1985, but has been the regular holder of the European Grand Prix until the new Valencia Street Circuit took over.

Maybe not the most notable victory at the Nurburgring, but a special one for me is Ralf Schumacher's in 2003. A German driver won at a German circuit whilst he was driving a German (BMW engine) car. That's almost as good as a Ferrari winning at Monza.

The Hockenheimring has held the German Grand Prix since 1970.

The old Hockenheim circuit is a favourite for many F1 fans, but the track was shortened and re-designed.

Hockenheim was the place that claimed Jim Clark's life when he was competing in a Formula 2 race in 1968. There was a chicane on the old circuit that was named after the British driver.

From 2008 onwards, the Nurburgring and the Hockenheimring will hold the German Grand Prix, and the venue will alternate every year. This is mainly due to the Nurburgring not being used as the venue of the European Grand Prix, as there cannot be two German Grand Prix.

The End!

As mentioned before, thank you very much if you have commented and rated my previous installments.

Please comment again and select as your PotD (only if you think it is good enough of course).

This is my first series-style work I've done on Bleacher Report and I've enjoyed it a lot. I'll think of another topic and I'll be back with another new series!

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