Biography: John Richard Beattie Seaman (1913 - 1939)

Biography: John Richard Beattie Seaman (1913 - 1939)
25.
June 2009
Stuttgart
Born: 4 February 1913 in Aldingbourne House, Chichester, England
Died: 25 June 1939 in Spa, Belgium
When Richard Seaman drove his Mercedes-Benz W 154 3-litre formula racing car to victory at the 1938 German Grand Prix, he sealed his reputation as the most successful British racing driver of his day. Although a perennial favourite among German race-going crowds, Seaman’s role as a representative of National Socialist motorsport shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War was viewed critically in his homeland. But Seaman would not live long enough to see Europe descend into war: just eleven months after his triumph at the Nürburgring, his career came to a tragic end at the Belgian Grand Prix when his car left the circuit and crashed into a tree. Seaman died of his serious injuries that same evening.
24 July 1938 would be the greatest day in Richard Seaman’s racing career. The
25-year-old Englishman lined up alongside Hermann Lang and Manfred von Brauchitsch on the front row of the grid for the German Grand Prix, having driven his Mercedes-Benz W 154 into third place in qualifying. On the second row behind the three Silver Arrows was another Mercedes-Benz driver, Rudolf Caracciola, who lined up for the start alongside the Auto Union driver Tazio Nuvolari.
With thirty seconds to go, the 12-cylinder engines of the seven Silver Arrows gave a confident roar as the mechanics from the Mercedes-Benz stable started up the race cars. Racing manager Alfred Neubauer, known to all as Don Alfredo, gave the sign to the works drivers: “Ten seconds to go.” Finally the flag came down and as the engines whined to a deafening crescendo Lang immediately took an early the lead.
But after just one lap Seaman was up with him in second place, and on the sixth lap the Englishman led the field for the first time. 300,000 spectators at the Nürburgring were about to witness a “race with a capital R”, as Seaman’s biographer Chris Nixon would later describe the grand prix at the Nürburgring. Although Lang was forced to retire with technical problems, a fascinating duel developed over the ensuing laps between Seaman and Manfred von Brauchitsch – until von Brauchitsch’s car caught fire during a pit stop on lap 16. With great presence of mind, Neubauer pulled his driver from the flames and sent Seaman, the second driver into the pits, back onto the track. Now Richard “Dick” Seaman was leading the biggest race of the grand prix season. Easily recognisable in his W 154 with the start number 16 and green bonnet, the
25 year-old Englishman gradually consolidated his lead and eventually finished three minutes and 20 seconds ahead of Hermann Lang, who had taken over Caracciola’s car.
But who exactly was this young man, whose meteoric rise and tragic death in 1939 was so reminiscent of the career of Bernd Rosemeyer? Who at just 25 years of age already stood shoulder to shoulder with the best drivers in the Mercedes stable and was the first Briton to win the German Grand Prix since the victory of Sir Henry Segrave back in 1923?
John Richard Beattie Seaman was born on 4 February 1913 into a wealthy British family. William John Beattie Seaman and his wife, Lilian Mary, who was 21 years his younger, owned a country estate and a townhouse in London as befitted their social standing. The family also owned a chauffeur-driven British Daimler saloon, which caught the young Richard’s eye from an early age. But even though “Dick” enjoyed drawing sketches of racing cars as a youngster, nobody in the Seaman household ever thought his life would one day revolve around racing cars for the famous German brand. A career in the Diplomatic Corps or a well-paid job in the City of London’s financial quarter would have been considered appropriate for a boy with a background such as his – but not a career as a racing driver.
Richard’s schooling began at the Hildersham House boarding school in 1921. This preparatory school set the young Richard on course for entry to Rugby, the renowned public school, and then for future studies (French and Italian) at Cambridge. On leaving school his parents presented him with his first car – a Riley Brooklands Nine.
In 1931 Seaman (by this time the proud owner of an MG Magna) began his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge. He rowed for his College, but he was also a member of the University Automobile Club (CUAC) and took part in motorsport events. It was during this period that he met a fellow Cambridge student, the American Whitney Straight. Straight encouraged Seaman to pursue his interest in motor racing, and when his parents bought him a 2-litre Bugatti in 1933 (soon replaced by a Lagonda), Seaman began to take motor racing seriously. Now a member of Straight’s racing stable, success came quickly to the young Englishman as soon as he took the wheel of his black MG Magnette in 1934, securing a class victory in the Prix de Bern and overall victory at the Mont Ventoux hillclimb.
Seaman’s parents were unhappy with their son’/ s expensive and dangerous love of racing. His father was particularly critical, as Richard was only able to support himself thanks to significant and regular subsidies from his mother. His parents even bought him an aeroplane in an effort to dissuade him from motor racing. But Seaman simply used this new means of transport to get him to races quicker and thus take him closer to his goal of becoming an internationally renowned racing driver.
When Straight retired from motorsport, Seaman signed a contract with ERA (English Racing Automobiles). But the works vehicles proved less than reliable and Seaman left the works team and went on to celebrate victories as a private driver in Pescara, Bern and Freiburg. When his mechanic Giulio Ramponi advised him to switch to a ten-year-old Delage previously owned by Francis Curzon, 5th Earl Howe, Dick bought the car from the aristocratic racing enthusiast. Ramponi completely rebuilt the vehicle and Seaman was soon notching up new race victories at the wheel of this motoring anachronism.
Seaman continued to draw increasingly upon his mother's financial reserves – and his ambiguous public image fell somewhere between “spoiled brat” and “possibly the greatest road racing driver Britain had ever produced”. The latter assessment of Seaman’s ability came from Prince Chula Chakrabongse of Thailand, Seaman’s friend and motor racing rival on the circuits of Europe, as well as author of his first biography, published in 1941.
Although he continued to enjoy victories in his Delage, the young Briton nevertheless dreamed of one day racing for one of the great German racing stables. When he looked at the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow and Auto Union teams, he was impressed by their state-of-the-art technology and professional organisation. Then one day the dream came within touching distance when at the end of the 1936 season he received a telegram from Alfred Neubauer. It was an invitation from the racing manager to take part in a test drive that November. Seaman could hardly believe it: he had finally come to the attention of Mercedes-Benz. Just that same summer he had said of the brand:
“If I ever get to drive for Mercedes, I shall never drive for anybody else.”
Seaman was aware of the political implications that came with such an involvement. Nevertheless, his friends all advised him to snap up any offer from Stuttgart should there be one after testing – after all, sport recognised no boundaries. In addition to the technical superiority of the Mercedes-Benz racing cars, however, the business-minded Briton was also conscious of the excellent earning opportunities the company offered compared with British racing stables. But it was too early to start thinking about prize money for the moment. Neubauer had invited 30 young racing drivers to the Nürburgring for testing. After a few laps in sports cars, ten hopefuls were then selected for one of the coveted places in the grand prix racing cars. Neubauer then chose just two drivers to join the team: Christian Kautz and Richard Seaman. Even by late autumn 1936, the racing manager’s praise for the young Englishman (“this young man has real talent”) far outweighed his opinion of Kautz (“he drove well”) .
Seaman signed his contract with Mercedes-Benz in February the following year and started his first race in a Silver Arrow at the Grand Prix of Tripoli on 9 May 1937. “ Dick” lined up in the new W 125 750-kg formula racing car – designed by the recently appointed technical director of the Mercedes-Benz racing department, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. The in-line eight-cylinder engine with 5.8-litre displacement developed
540 hp (397 kW) and proved to be a formidable opponent for the Auto Union race cars with their mighty 16-cylinder engines. Although Seaman only managed to finish seventh, he spent several laps of the race in second position behind Lang and ahead of Caracciola. Only engine problems caused the Briton to fall back through the field on his debut.
For his second race in Berlin on 30 May he finished in a respectable fifth place. But for the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring the Englishman was forced to hand over his
W 125 to Manfred von Brauchitsch, whose vehicle was damaged in qualifying. Although Mercedes-Benz dispatched a racing transporter with a replacement vehicle, Seaman’s W 125 did not arrive at the Ring until the early hours of Sunday morning. With time for just a few early practice laps, Seaman was forced to retire on the second lap of the race itself as a result of ignition failure.
Then the team’s youngest driver, now living in Germany, fulfilled the expectations that rested on his shoulders. Rudolf Caracciola and Seaman travelled in the SS Bremen to the United States to represent Mercedes-Benz in the Vanderbilt Cup on 4 July in New York. After initial testing on the redesigned Roosevelt Raceway, Uhlenhaut carried out exhausting night shift work to modify the supercharger’s intake system before the race. His efforts paid off and on Independence Day a large crowd looked on as the young Englishman, in only his fourth race for Mercedes-Benz, battled for first place with the great Bernd Rosemeyer in the Auto Union car. When Rosemeyer made a pitstop, Seaman took the lead but went on to finish the race as runner-up with a 31-second deficit, followed by Rex Mays in the Alfa. In the United States protective crash helmets were already prescribed for motor racing. Like many of his colleagues, however, Seaman considered such rudimentary protection superfluous. It was an attitude that would lead to tragedy in 1939.
Meanwhile the Briton had cemented his place in the Mercedes-Benz team. He moved into a house at Dambach on Lake Starnberg, where he rowed and astonished local residents with a sport hitherto unknown in Germany – waterskiing. His decision to take up residence in Germany was not entirely voluntary, however. In 1937 Seaman was not allowed to take German currency out of the country, and the worsening relationship with his parents meant he was entirely dependent on his salary and prize money as a racing driver.
Seaman’s next race for Mercedes-Benz was the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring on 25 July 1937. After a poor start the Englishman was lying in tenth place, but in the space of just five laps he had fought his way up to fourth position. Battling to get back into contention, Ernst von Delius (Auto Union) attempted an overtaking manoeuvre on Seaman. But von Delius lost control of his car, skidded, blocked the track and drew Seaman’s W 125 into the fray. The two vehicles collided and the German suffered such serious head and hip injuries that he died a few hours later.
Seaman, who was thrown clear of his car before the collision, broke his nose and thumb. From his hospital bed in Adenau on 1 August, the Oxbridge sportsman wrote a letter in his youthful, rounded hand to the chairman of the Daimler-Benz supervisory board, Emil Georg von Stauss: “I am leaving here in a few days, and hope to drive again in the ‘Grosser Preis der Schweiz’ on the 22nd August” – leaving no doubt that he had lost none of his appetite for motor racing as a result of the crash.
Nothing came of his wish to start in Switzerland, however, and although Neubauer gave Seaman an opportunity to race in the Coppa Acerbo in Pescara on 15 August, when Hermann Lang was forced to withdraw on account of flu, the British driver’s superstitious dislike of the number thirteen appeared to have some foundation. For at kilometre 13 on the Friday before the race, 13 August, Seaman collided with a wall at 160 km/h. Although “Dick” escaped uninjured, his W 125 was too severely damage to be repaired.
After two write-offs in just three weeks, Neubauer was now without a car for his junior driver. At the Swiss Grand Prix, Seaman also had to content himself with just a few practice laps, for here “Dick” suffered his third serious accident in a Mercedes-Benz racing car. Even before his first official drive for the racing stable, the Englishman had written off a 1936 racing car during testing at Monza. Neubauer reprimanded the young driver for the high-risk driving style that lay at the root of these accidents and urged him to adopt Lang’s more cautious approach. For whereas Richard Seaman sought risk and the thrill of pushing himself to the technical limits, Hermann Lang succeeded in exploiting the car’s full potential and proving himself to be at least as fast as his teammate.
Nevertheless, the racing manager was impressed by Seaman’s insight into his own mistakes. As with the crash in Monza the previous year, Seaman refused to blame technology in Pescara and instead took full responsibility for it himself. Perhaps for that reason the Englishman was given another chance in the middle of the race. Caracciola handed his race car to the junior driver with engine problems. By lap 13 there were even flames coming from the engine of the W 125, but Seaman revealed himself to be a cool-headed professional. He stopped on a steep downhill section of the track and switched the engine off. Then with the flames extinguished, he restarted the engine and finished a creditable fifth.
Seaman was less fortunate in his last race of the 1937 season. On home soil at the Donington Grand Prix, Seaman was hit by Hermann Müller (Auto Union) and forced to abandon the race with damaged shock absorbers. It was a bitter disappointment for the Englishman, who had notched up three class victories at Donington in 1936 alone, and who was now keen to show the public what he could do in the heavy German race cars for which the Donington course had been specially lengthened and redesigned. Donington was to be Seaman’s last race of the season.
By now the Englishman was beginning to feel increasingly uncomfortable in Germany and among friends at the Berlin Motor Show he made sarcastic comparisons between Hitlerian pomp and the film sets of Hollywood directors. Moreover, during the early months of 1938 he was not given a start in the new W 154. The driver’s disappointment was quickly forgotten that June, however, when he met Erika Popp, daughter of BMW chairman Franz-Josef Popp and wife Christine. The 18-year-old German girl fell in love with the Englishman seven years her senior and the couple began spending more and more time in each other’s company. While Richard got on very well with Erika’s parents, the relationship and subsequent marriage that year to the beautiful German girl resulted in Seaman finally breaking off all contact with his now widowed mother. The romance between Erika and Richard was still blossoming, however, when Seaman was at last given another race start that July.
Mercedes-Benz had just completed its fleet of new W 154 racing cars in time for the German Grand Prix. Seaman now entered his first race of the season with the start number 16 and during qualifying immediately secured a place on the front row of the starting line-up. He went on to win the Grand Prix in a time of 3 hours, 51 minutes and 46 seconds, ahead of his team colleague Lang. Luck had played a part in the Briton’s win, however. Neubauer’ s team orders, which prohibited drivers from challenging one of their own colleagues after the start, literally went up in smoke, when von Brauchitsch’s car caught fire. On refuelling, the highly flammable, alcohol-based fuel overflowed and set fire to the W 154. Nobody could now catch the Englishman, who had already set the fastest lap of the race as early as lap 6.
Despite his triumph at the Nürburgring, Neubauer decided not to use Seaman in the next two races. He returned to the start at Bremgarten, however, where the Englishman had secured three successive titles in his class between 1934 and 1936. During qualifying for the Swiss Grand Prix, Richard set two fastest laps and started the race in pole position. Seaman got away well and led the field ahead of Hans Stuck and Caracciola. But the young Englishman was not able to match the driving skills of the “ Rainmaster”, and Rudolf Caracciola took the racing car grand prix for the third time, with Seaman finishing runner-up – the only driver not to be lapped by Caracciola.
In September that year, Richard’s future father-in-law Franz-Josef Popp gave Seaman the opportunity to take part in the British Tourist Trophy. Exceptionally, on this occasion, instead of a Mercedes-Benz he drove a Frazer Nash-BMW. “ Dick” had been looking forward to the British race, but he and his team colleagues were rather disappointed by the reliability of the BMWs. All four works cars experienced problems during the race at Donington and Seaman crossed the finish line in a distant 21st position. Then in autumn that year he took part in the grand prix event on the same track in a W 154. Seaman presented the Mercedes-Benz team to the Duke of Kent, before taking His Highness on a few laps of the track. In the race itself Seaman finished a creditable third behind Tazio Nuvolari and Hermann Lang.
The race in England brought the 1938 season to a close. Richard Seaman then enjoyed several blissful months with Erika, whom he married – against his mother’s wishes – in London on 7 December 1938. The couple spent their first weeks of married life in England, France and Switzerland, where they exchanged the race circuit for ski resorts, cinemas and tourist attractions. Seaman, who had developed a liking for fine food in his late teens, was now free with his young wife to explore the culinary delights of other countries.
Not long after his marriage, Seaman signed a new contract with Mercedes-Benz, since the young Englishman now felt at home in the racing stable and was hopeful of a top spot among the brand’s drivers. But the political situation was becoming increasingly tense. Just days before the Berlin Motor Show in February, at which Seaman was due to meet Adolf Hitler, he resignedly made light of the situation to Erika, saying that he was more likely to assassinate the dictator than shake his hand. But “ Dick” attempted nothing of the sort and focused instead on his job and his marriage. Seaman’s former school friend, Tony Cliff, later highlighted Dick’s worries about the political situation: Seaman, he said, had never held any real political conviction that might have given him a platform on which to make critical judgements about current political affairs.
But even Earl Howe advised his countryman in spring 1939 not to break with
Mercedes-Benz for political reasons – even though the Nazi regime were looking for ways to exploit the sporting achievements of the Silver Arrows for political propaganda purposes: “If you can stick it, it would be much better for you to stay where you are.”
The young couple’s financial situation was a further argument against any split with German motor racing, for the Seamans were not allowed to taking any currency out of the German Reich and Dick’ s mother now refused him any support from the family’s British assets.
So Seaman followed the advice of the aristocratic racing driver. Although he was named only as replacement driver for the Grand Prix in Pau, he drove the fastest lap in qualifying. Nor did he get a place behind the wheel in Tripoli, where Mercedes-Benz recorded a triumphant double victory with the secretly developed 1.5-litre W 165 racing car. Seaman eventually got to drive this new car at the Nürburgring in May, however, during filming for a documentary about the Silver Arrows of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. Indeed the camera gave the Englishman a prominent role in the film. But at the Eifel Grand Prix race just a few days earlier, Seaman’s chances of victory slipped from his grasp when he overused the clutch at the start and was forced to retire on the first lap.
In Belgium John Richard Beattie Seaman was determined to bring home his first title of the season. He was keen to underline the fact that his win at the Nürburgring the previous year had not been just a one-off and that he had earned the silver and diamond-encrusted badge with which Mercedes-Benz rewarded each of its drivers’ grand prix victories. But above all, he was determined to prove himself to the “Rainmaster” Caracciola, since on the day of the race heavy rain was falling on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. After the start Dick was lying in sixth position, but with each successive lap he succeeded in clawing his way to the front of the field. By lap eight he was in fourth, when Hermann Lang waved him through. Müller went into the pits and when the mighty Rudolf Caracciola unexpectedly slid off the rain-drenched circuit and landed in a ditch, Seaman suddenly found himself leading the Belgian Grand. By lap 12 he was already 31 seconds ahead of Lang.
Yet in spite of this comfortable lead, Seaman maintained his high speed, even as the rain worsened. It was to be his undoing. Suddenly, his car skidded off the track at
200 km/h and hit a tree. The impact ruptured the fuel lines and within seconds the car was in flames. Seaman was not seriously injured from the impact. But he was concussed and therefore unable to get himself out of the car. By the time the first helpers reached the burning wreck and a courageous Belgian official was able to pull the Englishman from the inferno, Seaman had already suffered very extensive burns.
In spite of the accident, the race continued. The ambulance could only reach Seaman by a circuitous route, during which time the Mercedes-Benz team doctor, Dr. Peter Gläser, did what he could for the injured driver. Eventually Seaman was taken by ambulance to the hospital at Spa, where Seaman joked to his wife that he would sadly not be able to escort her to the cinema that evening. And to Neubauer he admitted that the accident was caused by excessive speed and therefore nobody’s fault but his own. The insight came too late, however. Dick Seaman, one of the most promising racing drivers of the 1930s, died of his injuries just a few hours after the accident.
Seaman’s death came as a shock to the racing stable. The obituary published by Mercedes-Benz reminded the world of his meteoric rise to join the “racing driver elite”. The international press, too, was numbed by “Seaman’s terrible accident” and his death the same evening. Seaman’s obituary in the Motor Transport Press Service of
28 June 1939 ended fittingly with the words: “Now he, too, has met the destiny of racing drivers.”
Richard Seaman – a racing career for Mercedes-Benz
Triumph and tragedy were closely intertwined in the career of John Richard Beattie Seaman, known to friends and colleagues as “Dick”. The Englishman, who had been driving cars since his student days in Cambridge, joined the Mercedes-Benz racing stable in 1937. He won the 1938 German Grand Prix driving the W 154 3-litre formula racing car. He suffered a fatal accident at the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix in Spa.
  • Born: 4 February 1913
  • 1926: Public school at Rugby
  • 1930: Presented with his first car, a Riley Brooklands Nine
  • July 1931: First hillclimb competition at Shelsley Walsh in the Riley
  • October 1931: Begins studies at Cambridge . Meets Whitney Straight. Seaman decides on a career as a racing driver.
  • 1932: Rows for Cambridge
  • 1932: Member of the Cambridge University Automobile Club (CUAC)
  • Parents present him with an MG Magna.
  • 1933: He persuades his parents to buy him a 2-litre Bugatti. Enters the Bugatti for a race in Donington, but not placed. Later that year his father buys him a Lagonda.
  • December 1933: Whitney Straight forms a racing stable.
  • February 1934: Seaman joins Straight’s stable with a newly acquired MG Magnette.
  • March 1934. First class victory with the MG at the Intervariety Speed Trials in Eynsham
  • August 1934: Class victory at the “Prix de Bern” in Bremgarten
  • 1935: Seaman drives for ERA. However, ongoing problems with the vehicle lead him to set up his own racing team with mechanic Giulio Ramponi.
  • August 1935: Wins in the ERA at Pescara (Coppa Acerbo) and Bremgarten (Prix de Bern)
  • 1936: On Ramponi’s advice, Seaman buys a ten-year-old Delage from Earl Howe. Rebuilt by Ramponi, the Delage leads to winning ways: Seaman notches up victories in Donington, as well as on the Isle of Man , in Pescara and Bremgarten.
  • November 1936: Invited to test drive for Mercedes-Benz at the Nürburgring
  • February 1937: Contract with Mercedes-Benz
  • May 1937: First race in the W 125 Silver Arrow at the Grand Prix of Tripoli. Finished seventh
  • May 1937: 5th place at the AVUS Grand Prix
  • July 1937: 2nd place at the Vanderbilt Cup in New York , 1st Rosemeyer, 3rd Mays
  • 1937: Moves to Dambach on Lake Starnberg , practises his waterskiing
  • July 1937: Serious accident as a result of colliding with Ernst von Delius at the German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring. Von Delius dies, Seaman breaks thumb and nose.
  • August 1937: Accident during qualifying in Pescara , nevertheless finishes 5th in Caracciola’s car at the Coppa Acerbo
  • September 1937: Two 4th place finishes in Livorno and Brno
  • October 1937: Crashes out of the Grand Prix at Donington
  • June 1938: Meets his future wife Erika Popp
  • July 1938: Wins the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. 2nd Lang / Caracciola, 3rd Stuck
  • August 1938: 2nd place at the Swiss Grand Prix in Bremgarten. 1st Caracciola,
    3rd von Brauchitsch
  • September 1938: Starts in a Frazer-Nash BMW at the British Tourist Trophy. Finishes a disappointing 21st as a result of technical problems
  • October 1938: 3rd place at the Donington Grand Prix. 1st Nuvolari, 2nd Lang
  • December 1938: Marries Erika Popp, terminates contact with his mother
  • 1939: In spite of mounting political tension, British racing colleagues advise Seaman to continue driving for Mercedes-Benz.
  • April 1939: Drives the fastest lap in practice at the Grand Prix de Pau, but only named as reserve driver
  • May 1939: Abandons the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring shortly after the start. A few days later takes part in filming for a documentary on the Silver Arrows
  • 25 June 1939 : Leads the field at the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa, but crashes in heavy rain and dies of his injuries later that day

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  • 1974M95-6A
    John Richard Beattie Seaman (1913 - 1939)
  • 1974DIG705
    John Richard Beattie Seaman (1913 - 1939)
  • 84716
    John Richard Beattie Seaman with his mother.
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    John Richard Beattie Seaman (1913 - 1939) practising his waterskiing.
  • R18571
    Masaryk Grand Prix near Brünn, 26 September 1937. Richard Seaman (number 6) on Mercedes-Benz W 125 finished fourth.
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    Belgian Grand Prix, 25 June 1939. Richard Seaman on Mercedes-Benz W 154 (number 26) in persuit of H.P. Müller on Auto-Union.
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    John Richard Beattie Seaman (1913-1939)
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    John Richard Beattie Seaman (1913-1939)
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    German Grand Prix, JUly 24, 1938. The Mercedes-Benz crew, from left: Manfred von Brauchitsch, racing director Alfred Neubauer, Richard Seaman, Hermann Lang and Rudolf Caracciola.
  • R5629
    Belgian Grand Prix, 25 June 1939. A tragic accident at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit during the Belgian Grand Prix put an end to the career of the popular British driver Richard Beattie Seaman. He had a 28 second lead going into lap 22, when he lost control on the rain-soaked track before La Source and skidded sideways into the trees. The fuel tank punctured and the car caught fire. Richard Seaman died from his injuries the following day.
  • U63435
    The Swiss Grand Prix, 21 August 1938. From the left: Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Manfred von Brauchitsch (3rd place), winner Rudolf Caracciola, John Richard Beattie Seaman (2nd place), director Max Sailer and race manager Alfred Neubauer.
  • 27866
    Manfred von Brauchitsch ahead of Richard Seaman at the Masaryk Grand Prix in Brno. They finished in 2nd and 4th respectively, with Rudolf Caracciola winning the race. All driving the Mercedes-Benz W 125 750 kilogram racing car..
  • 30481
    Swiss Grand Prix near Bern, August 21, 1938. The Mercedes-Benz W 154 racing cars took the lead immediately after the start in heavy rain and drove towards a triple victory. The winner was Rudolf Caracciola (on the right) followed by Richard B. Seaman and Manfred von Brauchitsch.
  • 30483
    Swiss Grand Prix near Bern on August 21, 1938. The Mercedes-Benz W 154 racing cars took the lead immediately after the start and headed for a triple victory. The winner was Rudolf Caracciola (photo) ahead of Richard B. Seaman and Manfred von Brauchitsch.
  • U6822
    German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring, July 24, 1938. The winner of this race, Richard Seaman, during a refueling and tire-change pitstop in his W 154 formula racing car.
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