- 25 years ago: Steve Parrish, with the Mercedes-Benz 1834 S, became European Truck Racing Champion for the fifth time
- Five years ago: Nico Rosberg, with the Mercedes-Benz F1 W07 Hybrid, became the third German to win the Formula One World Championship
Stuttgart. Two great champions from very different classes of motorsport are celebrating a little anniversary. Steve Parrish was the dominant driver in the very popular European Truck Racing Championship for many years. 25 years ago, in the Mercedes-Benz 1834 S, he managed to win a fifth title with these heavy-duty vehicles. The 2016 Formula One season was mastered with the Mercedes-Benz F1 W07 Hybrid, and Mercedes-Benz won the Constructors’ Championship by a great distance in the highest category of motorsport. The drivers’ title was only decided in a dramatic finale at the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi: Nico Rosberg became the 2016 Formula One World Champion just ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton. It was the last of 206 races in his Formula One career.
12/13 October 1996 – Steve Parrish became the fastest truck racer in Europe for the fifth time
After recognition by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) in 1985, the European Truck Racing Championship (ETRC) racing series experienced an unexpected revival. Up to 200,000 fans of the spectacular races with the most powerful tractor units could be found at the race weekends, such as at the Truck Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. In the early years of this European Championship, Mercedes-Benz was incredibly successful, taking 13 titles. The first European Champion of the newly created series was the German Thomas Hegmann with the Mercedes-Benz 1450 S. This truck derived from the production vehicle but, heavily tuned with 18,237 cubic centimetres displacement and an output of 1,177 kW (1,600 hp), also helped Englishman Steve Parrish on the way to three European titles by 1993.
In 1994, Mercedes-Benz introduced the second generation of racing trucks. The 1834 S corresponds to the newly created category of superrace trucks. These are pure racing vehicles, which are tractor units in appearance alone. The key data: a V6 drivetrain with 11,946 cubic centimetres of displacement and with an output of 736 kW (1,000 hp). The top speed is limited to 160 km/h, as required by the rules. Between 1994 and 1996, Mercedes-Benz won the European Championship with this truck, once with former Formula One driver Slim Borgudd and twice with Parrish. On 12/13 October 1996, he secured his fifth title with two third places at the season finale in Jarama, Spain. Two racing trucks can be viewed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart: the 1450 S of Steve Parrish from 1990 and the Atego of Ludovic Faure from 1998.
Steve Parrish, born in 1953, began his motorsport career on two wheels. After success in the British Motorcycle Championship, in 1977 he came fifth in the 500 cc World Championship as a Suzuki teammate of his legendary compatriot Barry Sheene. After many successes in various motorcycle classes until 1986, he switched to the truck cockpit and won the British Open Truck Championship just a year later. He became one of the most successful truck racers of all time. In 2002, at the age of 49, he ended his career and became a greatly sought-after motorsport television commentator, entertainer and vehicle tester.
27 November 2016 – Nico Rosberg became Formula One World Champion in Abu Dhabi
Nico Rosberg had probably never fought harder for second place than on the evening of 27 November 2016 in Abu Dhabi. He knew before the race that a third-place finish would be enough to win the title. He ultimately finished second with the Mercedes-Benz F1 W07 Hybrid, but it was close. For at the finish line, he and two other drivers were just a blink of an eye behind winner Lewis Hamilton. The exuberance of the German was correspondingly great, who, after 11 years and 206 races along with 23 wins in the top tier of motorsport, reached his greatest goal and became Formula One World Champion with Mercedes-Benz. He followed in the footsteps of his father and mentor, Keke Rosberg, who won the most coveted title in motorsport with a Williams in 1982. Nico Rosberg therefore became the third German World Champion after Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. “It was the most intense race of my career,” Rosberg explained. Over the course of 21 Grands Prix in the year, the champion collected 385 points; Hamilton followed with 380 points. The Constructors’ Championship went to the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team by quite a margin with 765 points.
In the week after the victory, Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from racing at the age of 31. “After I won the race in Suzuka in October, the title was mine to lose […] I began to think about giving up racing as World Champion.” Not even his father Keke Rosberg knew the thoughts of retirement his son had, and the Mercedes Formula One Team, for whom Nico Rosberg had driven since 2010, was just as surprised. In 2014 and 2015, he ended the season behind teammate Hamilton as runner-up. “If I hadn’t won the World Championship, I would have carried on racing,” the driver said four months after his retirement, “but I can rule out a comeback.”
Even after Nico Rosberg left the cockpit, the son of a Finnish father and German mother, born in Wiesbaden on 27 June 1985, could often be found in the Formula One paddock. With his in-depth knowledge of his sport and fluent linguistic skills in English, Spanish, Italian, French and German, he found it easy to be available as an eloquent expert for various TV channels and even to entertainingly interview his ex-teammates or bosses of Formula One teams. The Monte Carlo resident is currently involved in environmental issues and is an investor for young, aspiring companies.