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AIACR EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 1939

Table compiled by Leif Snellman & Don Capps


RULES

 DriverCarBelgian
Grand Prix

25. June
French
Grand Prix

9. July
German
Grand Prix

23. July
Swiss
Grand Prix

20. August
Total
Points
1
2
3
4
4
6
6
8
9
9
11
11
13
14
15
16
16
16
16
16
16
16
16
16
25
25
25
28
28
30
30
30
Hermann Müller
Hermann Lang
Rudolf Caracciola
Manfred von Brauchitsch
Tazio Nuvolari
Rudolf Hasse
René Dreyfus
Georg Meier
Raymond Sommer
Hans Stuck
Robert Mazaud
"Raph"
Giuseppe Farina
Paul Pietsch
René Le Bègue
Louis Gerard
Luigi Chinetti
Philippe Etancelin
Leonhard Joa
Hugo Hartmann
Clemente Biondetti
Kenneth Evans
John Wakefield
Robert Ansell
Adolfo Mandirola
Robert Seaman
Emmanuel de Graffenried
Yves Matra
Luigi Villoresi
Raymond Mays
Heinz Brendel
Giovanni Rocco
Auto Union
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Auto Union
Auto Union
Delahaye/Maserati
Auto Union
Alfa Romeo
Auto Union
Delahaye
Delahaye
Alfa Romeo
Maserati
Talbot
Delahaye
Alfa Romeo
Talbot
Maserati
Mercedes-Benz
Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo
Maserati
ERA
Maserati
Mercedes-Benz
Maserati
Alfa Romeo
Maserati
Talbot
Mercedes-Benz
Maserati
DNF
1st
DNF
3rd
DNF
2nd
----
DNF
4th
----
5th
----
DNF
----
----
6th
----
----
----
----
----
----
----
----
DNF
DNF
----
----
----
----
----
----
5
1
7
3
4
2
8
6
4
8
4
8
5
8
8
4
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
5
5
8
8
8
8
8
8
1st
DNF
DNF
DNF
DNF
----
7th
2st
5th
6th
----
9th
----
----
3rd
----
8th
4th
----
----
----
----
----
----
----
----
----
DNF
----
DNF
----
----
1
5
7
6
7
8
4
2
4
4
8
4
8
8
3
8
4
4
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
6
8
7
8
8
2nd
DNF
1st
DNF
DNF
DNF
4th
DNF
DNF
DNF
6th
5th
----
3rd
----
----
----
----
7th
----
----
----
----
----
DSQ
----
----
----
DNF
----
DNF
----
2
7
1
7
4
5
4
6
7
7
4
4
8
3
8
8
8
8
4
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
6
8
7
8
4th
1st
2nd
3rd
5th
DNF
8th
----
----
10th
----
----
7th
DNF
----
----
----
----
----
6th
9th
11th
12th
13th
----
----
DNF
----
----
----
----
DNF
4
1
2
3
4
5
4
8
8
4
8
8
4
7
8
8
8
8
8
4
4
4
4
4
8
8
5
8
8
8
8
7
12
14
17
19
19
20
20
22
23
23
24
24
25
26
27
28
28
28
28
28
28
28
28
28
29
29
29
30
30
31
31
31


Races:
Note:
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:
  • 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.
(Note the similarities to the post-war F1 rules.)

And the points table would then have looked like this:

 DriverCarBelgian
Grand Prix

25. June
French
Grand Prix

9. July
German
Grand Prix

23. July
Swiss
Grand Prix

20. August
Total
Points
1
2
3
4
5
5
5
8
8
8
11
12
12
12
15
16
Hermann Lang
Hermann Müller
Rudolf Caracciola
Manfred von Brauchitsch
Rudolf Hasse
Georg Meier
Raymond Sommer
Paul Pietsch
René Dreyfus
Tazio Nuvolari
René Le Bègue
Philippe Etancelin
Robert Mazaud
"Raph"
Hans Stuck
Giuseppe Farina
Mercedes-Benz
Auto Union
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Auto Union
Auto Union
Alfa Romeo
Maserati
Delahaye/Maserati
Auto Union
Talbot
Talbot
Delahaye
Delahaye
Auto Union
Alfa Romeo
1st
DNF
DNF
3rd
2nd
DNF
4th
----
----
DNF
----
----
5th
----
----
DNF
10
1
1
5
6
1
4
-
-
1
-
-
3
-
-
1
DNF
1st
DNF
DNF
----
2st
5th
----
7th
DNF
3rd
4th
----
9th
6th
----
1
10
1
1
-
6
3
-
1
1
5
4
-
1
1
-
DNF
2nd
1st
DNF
DNF
DNF
DNF
3rd
4th
DNF
----
----
6th
5th
DNF
----
1
6
10
1
1
1
1
5
4
1
-
-
1
3
1
-
1st
4th
2nd
3rd
DNF
----
----
DNF
8th
5th
----
----
----
----
10th
7th
10
4
6
5
1
-
-
1
1
3
-
-
-
-
1
1
22
21
18
12
8
8
8
6
6
6
5
4
4
4
3
2
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
          Caracciola."
          (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.


  • FOOTNOTE:
      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.




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    © 2012 Leif Snellman & H. D. Capps - Last updated: 12.06.2012