AIACR EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 1939
Table compiled by Leif Snellman & Don Capps|
VIII Grand Prix de Belgique, Spa-Francorchamps, 25 June
34 laps (75% = 34-26 laps, 50% = 25-17 laps, 25% = 16-9 laps)
XXXIII Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France, Reims-Gueux, 9 July
51 laps (75% = 51-39 laps, 50% = 38-26 laps, 25% = 25-13 laps)
XI Großer Preis von Deutschland, Nürburgring, 23 July
22 laps (75% = 22-17 laps, 50% = 16-11 laps, 25% = 10- 6 laps)
VI Großer Preis der Schweiz, Bremgarten, 20 August
30 laps (75% = 30-23 laps, 50% = 22-15 laps, 25% = 14- 8 laps)
There were never any official results of the 1939 championship.
(Also the Italian GP with an intital date of 10 September was never raced) and AIACR could not meet because of the war. However, Lang was declared European Champion
with 23 points in December 1939 by NSKK-Korpsführer Hühnlein who was simultaneously President of the ONS
(Oberste Nationale Sportbehörde für die Deutsche Kraftfahrt - Highest National German racing organization).
So Lang has always been regarded as the 1939 champion and he never had any doubts about his championship himself.
But with the points system (Note 1) used in 1937 applied to the 1939 season Müller (Auto Union) would have been the
rightful champion. Obviously Lang was declared champion without any references to that points table.
In 1939 there had been a suggestion from the president of the sports commision of the Belgian Royal Automobile Club, Mr. Langlois, to use an altenate
points system similar to the one that had been used in French sports car racing.
According to those rules the points were awarded as follows:
(Note the similarities to the post-war F1 rules.)
- 10 points to 1st position
- 6 points to 2nd position
- 5 points to 3rd position
- 4 points to 4th position
- 3 points to 5th position
- 1 point to those who started the race.
And the points table would then have looked like this:
And so on with a further 16 drivers having 1 point each, including Mandirola who participiated in two races but was disqualified from one of them.
See upper table.
So, which of the tables was used? Obviously the second one but why? Lets see what contemporary raing magazines say:
The old rules are in use.
(MOTOR und SPORT No. 30, 23 July 1939, page 31)
The Italian GP is definitely off.
Confusion over which rules apply, the magazine shows both tables.
The Germans prefer the old rules, the French the new ones.
(Automobil-Revue No 63, 4 August 1939)
"Der Meister Unbekannt!" (We don't know who is Champion!)
(Automobil-Revue, after the Swiss GP)
"At the moment it seems that Hermann Lang will be European Champion of 1939.
He is leading at present with Muller (which is fairly surprising) next up, ahead of
(Motor, 29 August 1939 page 169)
"Hermann Lang, I suppose, must be adjudged European Champion"
(Motor, 12 September 1939 page 239
So Lang's 1939 title is strange and doubtful. Obviously AIACR was never able to come to an agreement. Everybody agrees that Lang deserved the title as
the best driver that year but, if the rules were not officially changed, rightfully the title should have gone to Müller.
The reason Hühnlein suddenly prefered the French system giving the championship to Mercedes-Benz driver Lang over Auto Union driver Müller remains a mystery.
It is however notable that 60 years later professional racing book authors and GP historians
still seem hesitant to take up the subject.
1 The points system was known only to a few experts until the late 1980s when it was explained by Chris Nixon in his book "Silver Arrows"
and in articles in "Autosport" magazine but he did not take up the Müller dilemma.
A special thanks to Richard "Vitesse" Armstrong and Hans Etzrodt for their assistance.
Read further Richard Armstrong's article at 8W
and also my short points system analysis.