January 20, 2010
Sir, Gareth Tarr (letter, Jan 19) writes about the origin of the term “Silver Arrows”, supposedly the result of the Mercedes F1 team removing all paint before a Grand Prix in 1934 to meet the weight regulations. The story is almost certainly apocryphal: there is no contemporary source, and it first appeared in the autobiography of a former team manager, Alfred Neubauer, in 1958. Further, the name “Silver Arrows” had been used in a radio broadcast as early as 1932 in reference to a German racing car.
British racing green was adopted for the Gordon Bennett Cup because the usual British colours of red, white and blue had already been taken; green was chosen out of respect for the Irish hosts of the 1902 event. This decision had the approbation of the manufacturer of the British entrant, Napier, as it had used the colour previously (albeit olive green). The first instances of British racing green were, therefore, emerald green, rather than the darker hue of later years.