Stefan Bellof, Georg Loos: Riot on “Sir Edwin” / formula racing

Stefan Bellof, Georg Loos: Riot on “Sir Edwin” / formula racing

Stories of the Cologne Ritual, our 9th episode: About a good deed and a dinner that began with equality, but ended in scandal.

It cannot be avoided that I will have to deal with Georg Loos again. The scandalous and quarrelsome owner of the Cologne racing team who abused his drivers as mercilessly as his local nemesis Porsche-Kremer (see column from March 27, 2024).

Strangely enough, the man also had a bright moment in which he seemed to be good and even approachable for a good reason. So it happened in July 1981 that Georg Loos decided to sponsor the remaining Formula 3 matches of the current championship to a talented but financially poor young driver.

The boy’s name: Stefan Bellof.

His team boss Bertram Schäfer had recently told the talent coming from Giessen that his mission could no longer be financed from the team’s coffers despite his good position in the championship fight. Either a sponsor was urgently needed or an early end was inevitable.

It took some persuasion, but in the end Georg Loos agreed to cover Bellof’s expenses for the rest of the F3 season. Perhaps also to improve his slightly tarnished image and celebrated in Cologne newspapers and national business magazines as a benefactor rather than a criminal and troublemaker.

They agreed to get 50,000 German marks for the rest of the season. Bellof’s Ralt-Toyota Formula 3 racing car was painted in his team’s red and yellow colors at the request of Mr. Unprofitable loos. In addition, his name was clearly visible on the front and rear wing.

Loos and his assistants arrived at each of the following F3 races. However, Stefan first had to get used to the manners of his new benefactor, which took some getting used to.

“Is he always like this?” he asked me in Diepholz, surprised after the famous Loos freak. When he drank, vicious attacks on everything and everyone were the order of the day anyway.

Meanwhile, Stefan continued his F3 winning streak despite a disagreement and narrowly missed out on the title thanks to an unfair attack by a title challenger. At that time, Loos left the scene of the final defeat in silence and anger.

To the great surprise of everyone involved, a few days later Loos invited team boss Bertram Schäfer, Stefan and I, along with their assistants, to the end-of-season dinner. No one suspected that the evening would turn into a bitter reckoning.

So at the end of September 1981, the invited guests gathered at Loos Stamm’s restaurant “Sir Edwin” in Cologne’s Gottesweg for an elegant dinner. In total, about 15 people including Loos and his regular followers.

The host in particular spoke highly of the house brew offerings during the evening. After the main course there was a sudden change in mood.

Loos, who already had a lot of alcohol in his blood and a heavy tongue, suddenly started swearing and insulting Bertram Schäfer because of the lost championship. He accused him of bad team tactics, bad tire choice, ignorance and many other things. And generally he is not able to lead the team properly. Bertram, of all people, was considered one of the greatest F3 team leaders of his time.

Stefan Bellof and I stayed out of it at first, but you could tell that Stefan was especially embarrassed by the whole situation and that he was hot. After initial reluctance, he joined the heated debate and strongly defended his F3 team boss.

Stefan’s request to the Pastor angered Loos even more. And when I also tried to defend the team boss who was being attacked, the situation got worse. Now Loos also targeted me and insulted me and all three together as “losers and idiots”.

Now the measure was full. Bertram, Stefan and I decided to leave the scene of the shameful act immediately. Other angry visitors followed our example;

Unfortunately, Stefan Bellof did not want to be reminded of Loos’ figure later – for him, the end, which was as big as it was expensive, came a few months later. Because the fine Mr. Loos dragged Stefan to the Cologne district court over the interpretation of the contract.

The statement of claim states a transfer fee of 75,000 German marks. In revenge and futility, Loos, knowing full well that Stefan could not increase this total, wanted to prevent his next step in the European Formula 2 Championship with BMW and Maurer in every possible way.

I’ll spare you the details of the unpleasant legal dispute here – this much: as part of the Formula 3 agreement for the second half of the 1981 season which was hastily drawn up by Loos the previous year, Stefan also, knowingly or unknowingly, had the option to Loos – Dedicated to the Porsche team car in 1982.

Unfortunately, our promising young man signed everything that was presented to him without hesitation (“Everything is fine, it screams and I can run”). The fact that almost nothing was left to run in Loos in 1982 because of its initial financial problems did not change the legal situation. Loos mercilessly withdrew the option, but Stefan had already signed with Maurer for the European Formula 2 Championship. Now the lawyers had a chance.

The contract was classified by experts as unethical, but that did not change the fact that the Cologne district court ruled against Stefan. Because Loos said that now he was missing an important driver and therefore he could not achieve his planned goals this season.

So the disaster began, and the judge ordered Stefan to pay half of the required transfer fee, i.e. 37,500 German marks, to his former “assistant” Georg Loos, selfless.

Raising money was hard enough for Stefan at the time, and it hurt him a lot. But the sentence also had a beneficial effect on him. So when signing future contracts, at least he looked closely at what he was signing his binding signature to.