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Mercedes only took home half the prize in the 2021 Formula 1 season. Though it was the more lucrative of the two possible victories, it wasn’t the one that the average motorsports fan will remember for decades to come.

That being the case, Mercedes seems ready to return to its roots with a symbolic move that says it is putting its focus on making sure that Lewis Hamilton makes Max Verstappen’s tenure as the World Drivers’ Champion a short one.

Thus, be prepared for the return of the Silver Arrows in 2022.

Mercedes is reportedly returning to its Silver Arrows paint scheme

Lewis Hamilton drives the No. 44 Mercedes during the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on Aug. 4, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. | Marco Serena/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The iconic Mercedes Formula 1 team plans to switch back to its traditional paint scheme that gave birth to the Silver Arrows nickname close to a century ago, The Sports Rush reported based upon details from Bild, the German news magazine.

Mercedes used the silver scheme until the 2020 season, when the team switched to a black paint job in deference to the sports community unifying to oppose racism and support diversity, causes that multi-time world champion Lewis Hamilton had already been promoting.

At the time, a Formula 1 report said just 3% of Mercedes employees identified as a part of a minority group, and 12% were women.

“We will not shy away from our weaknesses in this area, nor from the progress we must still make,” team principal Toto Wolff said at the time.

Hamilton scored his fourth straight World Drivers’ Championship and seventh overall that season. Wolff acknowledged before the 2021 F1 season the significance of the Silver Arrows history but said Mercedes would stick with the black design, which extended to team apparel, for another year.

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Mercedes had never won the Formula 1 World Constructors’ Championship before 2014, and it’s a title that the team has not relinquished since. However, this season’s margin was a narrow 613.5-585.5 as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas held off Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Winning that overall title is a matter of pride for teams, but there is a more significant aspect to it. That’s because the prize money that Formula 1 awards to teams at the end of the season is based largely on the constructors’ standings.

However, the more relevant battle for Formula 1 fans was the one between Verstappen and Hamilton for the individual championship. The two separated themselves from the field early in the season and waged a memorable head-to-head battle. Verstappen sewed up his first championship by rallying in the closing moments to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

That outcome denied Hamilton a record-breaking eighth championship, and the return to Silver Arrows may be the Mercedes team’s indication that it is prioritizing going back to its star’s winning ways.

The tradition began in 1934

The tradition of Mercedes sending Silver Arrows onto racetracks began in 1934 and was the result of desperation when driver Manfred von Brauchitsch and the team arrived at the Eifelrennen, a race in Germany’s Eifel mountain region.

On the eve of the race, the W25 model weighed in at 751 kilograms, just more than two pounds over the limit. Racing team manager Alfred Neubauer ordered his crew to grind off the white paint finish. What remained was a sparkling silver aluminum body. The next morning, von Brauchitsch won in commanding fashion.

“To drive a Silver Arrow is an honor,” von Brauchitsch told reporters, according to the Mercedes-Benz website.

Thus began a tradition that would be carried on in Formula 1 by the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s and more recently by Lewis Hamilton.

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