Formula One: Mercedes-Benz W196 1954. A painting by Joan Mañé

The Mercedes-Benz W196 (sometimes written as the Mercedes-Benz W 196 R) was a Formula One racing car produced by Mercedes-Benz for the 1954 and 1955 F1 seasons.

Successor to the W194, in the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss it won 9 of 12 races entered and captured the only two world championships in which it competed.

Firsts included the use of desmodromic valves and Daimler-Benz developed mechanical direct fuel injection adapted from the DB 601 high-performance V12 used on the Messerschmitt Bf 109E fighter during World War II.

The 3-litre 300 SLR was derived from the W196 for the 1955 World Sportscar Championship season. Its crash at Le Mans that year ended not only its own short-lived domination but also spelled the end for the W196, as Mercedes pulled out of competitive racing in 1955 and did not return for another three decades.

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