The Mercedes AMG F1 W04 looks way better than the W03, thanks in no small measure to the vanity panel on the nose that helps the F1 car lose the stepped nose that scarred cars on the grid in 2012. While some teams have retained the stepped nose this season citing lack of performance gains at the cost of added weight of the vanity panel, Mercedes says they have observed ‘a small gain during aerodynamic testing’.
With Haug being shown the door and Toto Wolff at the helm, fresh infusion of driving talent courtesy of Lewis Hamilton, debates on whether the Mercedes AMG Petronas team is stronger than last season are going to be one too many. Hamilton becomes the first British Works racing driver since Sir Stirling Moss in 1955. Mercedes’ decision to unveil the car at the test location – Jerez – meant the drivers would test the car the same day it was unveiled to the public. Nico Rosberg has already driven 100 kms in the forenoon shakedown session while Hamilton waits to test the latest Silver Arrow in the afternoon. Mercedes AMG has also pointed out that this four day test session at Jerez will see Nico behind the wheel on Tuesday & Thursday and Lewis on Wednesday & Friday.
Aerodynamic testing for the W04 began in early summer 2012 with Engineering Director Aldo Costa at the helm and under the coordination of Technical Director Bob Bell resulting in a new five element front wing and a second generation Coanda exhaust at the rear. While there have been rumours of a ultra compact gearbox being developed for the Mercedes AMG F1 W04, Mercedes hasn’t shed any light. There were also rumours of Mercedes adopting a pull rod suspension layout up front like Ferrari but it has now been confirmed that the Silver Arrow retains push rod suspension layout at front and pull rod suspension at the rear. As with other teams, the rear end has been slimmed down for aerodynamic benefits.
“2013 marks the start of a second era for our Silver Arrows works team,” said Team Principal Ross Brawn. “The restructuring we undertook at the team over the past 18 months are now growing in maturity and this is reflected in the F1 W04, which is a clear step forward in design and detail sophistication over its predecessor. Many thousands of hours of work have been invested by our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth to ensure that the new car delivers a step change in performance compared to last season. We are also hugely proud to welcome Lewis to the team as a works Mercedes-Benz driver. With Lewis and Nico, we have what I believe to be the strongest driver line-up in Formula One and I know that a healthy level of competition between them both will help drive the team forward.”
Nico Rosberg said he was looking forward to working with Hamilton and push each other hard and make the team the best.
“I’ve been working really hard over the winter on my physical preparation, both in the mountains – climbing to over 2,000 metres with ski boots – and also in the Mediterranean, training on my bike, swimming and running. I fitted that around regular visits to see the guys at the factory in December and January and we have done some really good work, especially in the simulator. The car seems to be performing well in the virtual world but we have a very busy and intense programme ahead of us during testing to make sure we can deliver that performance on track. The atmosphere in the team is very positive and the people are highly motivated to succeed. And, of course, I have a new team-mate with Lewis. It’s his first time in the Silver Arrow and I look forward to working together and pushing each other hard, to make this the best team in Formula One.”
Lewis Hamilton is no stranger to Stuttgart, having made Mercedes’ acquaintance when he was thirteen. “It’s a very special day for me to officially present our Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow to the world. There is no company with a longer history in Grand Prix racing than Mercedes-Benz and it is an honour for me to tread in the footsteps of legends like Juan Manuel Fangio, Sir Stirling Moss and Michael Schumacher. It’s the start of a new chapter for me, a new adventure, and when I walked through the doors in Brackley, I was so excited to get down to work. I’ve been at the factory for a few days now, getting to know the guys, meeting my mechanics and engineers, learning myself into the team and I have never seen a group of people that is hungrier for success than this one. They have been flat out this winter trying to pack more performance into the new car and I can’t wait to drive it and see where I can make a difference to help push the team forward with Nico. This is a new start for me with the team in Brackley but I have worked with Mercedes-Benz for a very long time now, and I learned one thing most of all: Mercedes-Benz doesn’t know how to lose. We are playing a long game here but I know we will have success together and I’m excited to be a big part of making it happen.”
Toto Wolff, the new Executive Director of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, concluded: “The first laps for a new car are always filled with emotion and today was no exception. It is even more meaningful when the car is a Silver Arrow: Mercedes-Benz has a long tradition of racing success and this is something we are proud to represent and determined to live up to. In the fortnight since I joined the team, I have been impressed by what I have found. The people are highly motivated, open-minded and determined to succeed. Our drivers are hungry for success, too, and it will certainly be fascinating this season to see how Nico and Lewis perform together. Ultimately, though, Formula One is very straightforward and the only thing that counts is lap time.”
Oh, not to prove ourselves adept at stating the obvious, but Hamilton and Rosberg arrived at the unveiling in two Mercedes SLS AMG Coupé Black Series. Best backdrop for an F1 car unveil this year, in our humble opinion.