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The whole complexion of Grand Prix racing changed when new Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler decided that success on the track would demonstrate Germany’s resurgence. Both the returning Mercedes-Benz and new Auto Union concerns received seemingly limitless state funding and simply blew the established Italian and French teams away.
Neither German manufacturer was ready for the start of 1934 so Scuderia Ferrari’s Alfa Romeo Tipo-B “P3”s dominated at Monaco. When established star Louis Chiron crashed with two laps to go, his precocious young team-mate Guy Moll was on hand to win. Another victory in the Avusrennen – beating the Auto Unions on their debut – confirmed Moll as a new star. Tragically, that promise would not be fulfilled for he was killed at Pescara.
Both Mercedes and Auto Union were ready for the French GP but did not win. Chiron came from row three (thanks to more than a hint of a jump start) to lead a famous and unexpected Alfa Romeo 1-2-3. However, that only delayed the inevitable.
The radical Ferdinand Porsche-designed Auto Union A-typ was mid-engine and a handful to drive. Hans Stuck was one of the few to master the V16-powered machine and he won the German, Swiss and Masaryk (Czechoslovakian) GPs to emerge as the leading driver of the year.
Mercedes had stripped its white paint in France to make the new 750 kgs maximum weight limit and its cars would be the “Silver Arrows” thereafter. Team leader Rudolf Caracciola was barely recovered from injuries sustained at Monaco a year before so they hired the volatile Luigi Fagioli as insurance. They shared victory at Monza (after the exhausted Caracciola handed his car over to the Italian) and Fagioli then won in Spain.
Like Alfa Romeo, Bugatti were outclassed but René Dreyfus did win at Spa-Francorchamps after the Germans boycotted the race due to the Belgian authorities trying to charge import duty on their specialist racing fuel.