“Neubauer was a father figure”.
Sir Stirling, the racing manager at Mercedes-Benz back in 1955 was Alfred Neubauer — a man who was almost as popular as his drivers. What sort of person was he?He was an exceptional man: people warmed to him because he had a great sense of humour, but at the same time his strength and determination earned him their respect. Above all, though, he was a father figure who kept a protective eye on the whole team. Look at it this way: my career lasted for 600 races, but no one I ever met in the world of motor racing made quite such an impression on me as Neubauer.
When did you first meet him?My father first spoke to him in 1953, to ask if Mercedes-Benz would give me the chance of a test drive. Neubauer said: “We’ve already watched your son in various races and will be following his further development with interest”. So in 1954 I joined Maserati, so that I could get to drive in Grand Prix races. And in doing so I came sufficiently to the attention of Mercedes-Benz for Alfred Neubauer to offer me a contract for the following year.