Monday, June 22, 2009

Should Mercedes Have Withdrawn From Le Mans '55?

The bloodiest accident in racing history occurred at Le Mans in 1955 when a Mercedes driven by Peter Levegh ploughed into a stanchion. Its parts sprayed in the grandstand, killing more than 80 spectators. The accident occurred when Mike Hawthorne abruptly pulled his Jaguar into the pits. To avoid him, Lance Macklin veered suddenly to the left, directly into the path of Levegh coming up from behind. It happened around 6:30 p.m. By 2 a.m. the Mercedes directors in Stuttgart sent the order to withdraw their remaining two cars from the race. Stirling Moss, who as then on the Mercedes team, argued against the withdrawal, saying it was a "theatrical gesture" and amounted to an admission of guilt.

What do you think? Should Mercedes have withdrawn?

1 comment:

  1. This was 10 years after the Germans had some other heavy machinery in France, and they were very sensitive to one of their cars flying into a predominately French crowd and killing so many. I think they made the correct decision. Merc would have been reviled as heartless and "machine-like" if they had stayed the course.