Mercedes this morning rolled out the Silver Arrow W05 that it hopes will be shooting for victory this season. The first Mercedes of the post-Ross Brawn era was unveiled by the new management team of Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe, with the drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Mercedes has been steadily building up for this moment. The engine department, based a few miles from the team’s HQ near Northampton, has been working for a long time on the hybrid small capacity power plant that is going to be such a huge part of success this season. Performance, efficiency and reliability are the three boxes to tick and there has been a feeling for some time in F1 engineering circles that this package will be the one to beat at the start of this revolutionary year.
Time will tell.
But on the chassis side too, Mercedes has been hiring experienced engineers and building up its resources to challenge Red Bull’s hegemony of the sport, which has lasted four unbroken years.
Last season the breakthrough came with a series of wins in the summer, but the second half of the season was less productive.
Nevertheless the feeling that this is the team with the momentum and after missing the sweet spot regularly since his 2008 world title, Hamilton is desperate for this car to be a title challenger.
Team mate Rosberg won twice last year had the stronger end to the season, so he will have to be watched carefully. He is also a more in-depth, engineering led driver and that could be an important factor this year with these complex new technologies.
“This year will be much more complex with all the new technologies and I think it’s great,” said the German. “It will help make the sport really contemporary. It’s all focused on being more fuel efficient and using Hybrid energy, which for me is a good route and something that will make the racing even more interesting.”
Rosberg shook the car down at Silverstone last week ahead of the first serious testing in Jerez. Reliability will be the main focus of the first tests, with performance coming later once the new technologies and the cooling are stabilised.
“We have positive momentum after our second-place finish last season,” said Wolff. “Our clear target is to continue building up our team and we aim to deliver on every single race weekend in 2014.”
Hamilton was impressed with the car’s appearance, “It looks just fantastic, so aggressive but full of really nice details as well. I am excited to find out how the new Power Unit feels to drive, to hear how it sounds from the cockpit and to compare the job we have done relative to the competition. I think this is probably the season with the most unknowns that I have faced in my career and that’s just so exciting for all of us.”
Mercedes is running a message of support for its former driver and current ambassador Michael Schumacher, who is still in a coma a month after his head injury while skiing.
The Mercedes W05 carries a message #KeepFightingMichael at the Jerez test.