The German occupation of the F1 podium.

18 Sep

Since 1950 there have been 60 German Grand Prixs and this year alone there have been 6 German drivers and between the nation they have 8 drivers championships until Vettel wins this year and then they have 9 which takes them to the title of the second most successful country in F1 1 ahead of Brazil. Despite this though the first German drivers championship was in 1994 when Michael Schumacher won to be the first German champion, so having taking them 44 years to get a champion it them took them only 18 campaigns to take them to 9 champions or one every 2 years.

The first good German driver was Karl Kling who amassed 12 points in 1954 to get 5th, in the same year Hans Herrmann finished joint 6th with 8 points, these were in the days when a champion would only get between 30 and 40 points. It then took a whole 4 years to get another German in the top 10, Taffi von Trips finished joint 10th with 9 points in 1958, he then made joint 6th in 1960 with 10 points, driving for 3 different teams in the process, before flying up to 2nd in 1961 only losing out to Phil Hill by 1 point with 33 points. He never made the top 10 again and it took until 1975 for another German to make it to that threshold again, Jochen Mass picked up 20 points to finish joint 7th and 9th in 1976 with 19 points, he then became the first German ever to make it to the top 10 3 years in a row with 25 points in 1977 to finish 6th.

With a new generation there were new hopes but the 80s were a disaster for German motorsport with no driver managing a 10 ten standings finish until 1992 and a certain Mr Schumacher came along. He finished 3rd in 1992 with a German record of 53 points, in 1994 he was 4th with 52 points and 92 in 1994 gave Germany it’s first ever world champion.

The German era of dominance is now beginning, seemingly from nowhere but it led to another championship in 1995 when Schumacher took the championship with 102 points, a slow Ferrari then stopped him managing a hat rick but he was still 3rd with 59 points. In 1997 Schumacher was disqualified from the championship for driving dangerously but another German took the chance, Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished 39 points behind Villeneuve but still managed to finish 2nd in the championship with 42 points. 1998 was the year of the Schumachers Michael finished 2nd with 86 points and Ralf 10th with 14 and in 1999 there a record 3 Germans in the top 10 Heinz-Harald Frentzen 3rd (55 points) Michael 5th (44) and Ralf 6th (35).

Another new decade and with 3 drivers competing for points Germans were expecting something special, they got it. Michael won the 2000 championship by 19 points amassing 108, Ralf finished 5th with 24 points and Heinz-Harald 9th with 11 and in 2001 there was another new German on the scene Nick Heidfeld who finished joint 7th with 12 points whilst Michael got 123 and the championship and Ralf was 4th with 49. 3 again for 2002 (that’s 4 times in a row) again Michael won the championship with 144 points Ralf 4th with 42 and Heidfeld with 7 points finished 10th. Only 2 for 2003 Michael won by only 2 points with 93 whilst Ralf claimed 5th with 58 points. The two brothers made up the German F1 storm in 2004 Michael winning (again) with 148 points and Ralf joint 9th with 24, and in 2005 it was much the same Michael 3rd (62 points) and Ralf 6th (45). Three again for 2006 Michael 2nd (121 points), Nick Heidfeld 9th (23) and Ralf 10th (20). With Michael retiring (for the first time) at the end of 2006 2007 was a year when another German prodigy hit the scene, Nico Rosberg finished 9th with 20 points 41 behind Nick Heidfeld who finished 5th, and in 2008 the next great German driver hit the scene Sebastian Vettel, Heidfeld was 6th (60 points) Seb 8th (35) and Timo Glock 10th (25). In 2009 the Germans had gone a whole 4 years without a champion and Sebastian Vettel did his utmost to end it, he finished 2nd with 84 points, Nico Rosberg 7th with 34.5 and Timo Glock 10th with 24 points although he didn’t compete in the last 3 races as he had a leg injury.

With the previous decade being so successful German fans were expecting something big and they got it, Sebastian Vettel taking his inaugural championship with 256 points whilst Nico Rosberg was 7th with 142 and a recently returning Michael Schumacher was 9th with 72. So far 2011 has been dominated by a German with Sebastian Vettel set to be the youngest driver to win 2 world championships.

This rise from being an average at best nation having 2 superstars with 8 championships between them is nothing short of phenomenal and reminisces of the British dominance between the years 1962 to 1976 when they won 9 championships in 15 seasons although they did need 5 drivers to manage such a feat. But as the phrase goes all good things must come to an end and it did for GB with a drought for 15 years before Nigel Mansell took the title in 1992, so with that in mind which country will be the next, Spain? France? or maybe one of the countries in the Americas or the far east.

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