The Story Behind Grand Prix’s Biggest Starting Grid

#127 – Paul Pietsch — Veritas – Meteor
Grid: 7th / Race: Retired (1 lap / Gearbox)

(Source: Revs)
Born: 20th June 1911
Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Died: 31st May 2012
Titisee-Neustadt, Germany
Appearances: 3   (1950 Italy, 1951 & 1952 German GP)


Not exactly one of the heroes of the Silver Arrows, but nonetheless a well-established Grand Prix driver before the war.

In 1946, Pietsch founded the automobile magazine “Das Auto” together with his partners Ernst Troeltsch and Joseph Hummel. This kept him busy enough to keep him away from active racing until 1950, when he took over Hummel’s Veritas RS sports car to win his first Eifelrennen and also the German championship in the 1.5 litre sports car category. During the season, he also revived his connections to Maserati to become the first German driver after the war to appear in a current Formula 1 car, taking the overall win at the Schauinsland hillclimb.

He had also ordered one of the new Veritas Meteor Formula 2 cars, which was delivered to him just in the last moment to take part in practise for the German Grand Prix, where he was fastest of the local drivers and the only German to start from the front row. However, in the race he could not avoid the usual Veritas disaster, when his Meteor – like all of its six sister cars – was taken out of action early by mechanical failure. In spite of this disappointment, Pietsch remained the only trustful German driver to stay with Veritas throughout the years, after the company’s bancruptcy and re-foundation by Loof at the Nürburgring.

This paid out for him already in 1951 when he could achieve the marque’s greatest success by winning the Eifelrennen F2 race, which was now an international event open for foreign drivers (but marked by the absence of the announced Ferrari team). This win helped him to just snap the German Formula 2 championship by just one point from the noses of Rieß and Ulmen. The honour for him could not have been higher, when he was invited to drive for Alfa Romeo in his home Grand Prix, but then, being too excited, he spoiled it all with an accident in the race, which had some effect on his reputation and perhaps also on his morale.

Nevertheless, he carried on during the 1952 season with an updated Meteor from Loof, which did not prevent him from the usual Meteor ‘fate’ in the German Grand Prix, retiring with gearbox damage on the first lap. Also as a final coup, his monoposto was fitted with very special streamlined bodywork with a fully-closed ‘cabin’ for the Avus circuit, turning into tragedy, when during practise the car got out of control on the banking, resulting in a heavy accident which ended his career.

1952 German Grand Prix, Paul Pietsch (Source: Internet)

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