F1 Winter Break
New Mercedes F1 car, first glimpse
New Mercedes F1 car, first glimpse
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Jan 2011   |  3:59 pm GMT  |  73 comments

A graphic image of the new Mercedes F1 car, designated MGP W02, has been released to the media this afternoon, after it had been leaked to a German newspaper.

The car is due to be launched in Valencia on Tuesday and carries the hopes of Mercedes and of drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher that it will be more competitive than last year’s car.

Like the Ferrari launched on Friday, the trend for the high nose is in evidence. There has also been some work on the sidepods and and air intake, from the looks of things. It’s hard to tell much from this image, which is clearly a teaser – not least because when I downloaded the image the title of it was ‘teaser’. How very new media!

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Glad to see they've abandoned the silly looking air intake from last season.


The "thin" style air intake from last season has been banned under the 2011 regulations.


Banned is not quite the right word - the minimum width of the top section has been increased, so in effect the blade has to be thicker/wider, otherwise it would be illegal. Mercedes must have concluded that this was inefficient: however it seem Team Lotus have decided otherwise...


Thanks all. I had no idea it was banned, but I'm glad it was! I'm sure it was just as rigid, but it certainly didn't look as safe as the standard air intake shape. I could have seen it really dig into the ground during a bad rollover.


It's been banned.


Oh, one more thing James. In your mind, what's the benefit to the high nose vs. low nose? To an untrained mind, you would think the low nose would produce more downforce, but I guess not. Is it because the low nose doesn't allow as much air to flow below the car, back to the diffuser?


A high nose allows you to do more with the space underneath it and channel more air through the floor, but it's harder to get right and more sensitive to setup changes. Simply put, a high nose has more downforce potential than a low nose, but unlocking that potential is difficult and a design error can ruin the entire car. The low nose is a safer bet and a more conservative option, but one that can still pay off (see BGP001).

It's difficult to know how much to read into a shot like this, but at first glance the car appears to retain the high, compact sidepods from the BGP001 and W01 whilst adding a nose reminiscent of the Ferrari F10's and smaller and less complex front wing elements.

Not what I'd call the bold, aggressive new design promised by Ross Brawn but lets wait and see it for real before making any judgements.


The high nose is intended to open up the air flow under the car. By raising the nose you relieve the area underneath the monocoque of some clutter which allows for a cleaner airflow that will then feed the Bib splitter, underfloor and diffuser.

The reason for this is clean air is easier to manage into producing downforce so the desire is for the air flowing towards the bib splitter to be as undisturbed as possible.

You can see the mercedes solution is very refined and quite extreme. If you look under the nose of the car which is very high indeed, the only item that the airflow has to negotiate en route to the bib splitter is the front wing main plain which, in line with the regulations is aero neutral in the central section. i.e. it is not used to work the air in any way thus keeping the air clean as it comes of the back of the wing and under the nose.

Further back you can see the wishbone arrangement is at a fairly sever angle, this is to allow the lower wishbones to be mounted directly to the side of the tub negating the need for a keel like device underneath the car which would couse flow disruption. This has been common in F1 for a few years now.

Overall a very efficient concept.


I think it's something to do with accelerating air under the car maximizing downforce from the floor

Mark Mattingshaw

The car looks pretty bulky. Don't tell me they put the KERS batteries into the sidepods? (HUGE mistake, c.o.g etc...)


I think it is very difficult to tell anything about the car from this one Computer generated Image...


Looks like the "Design inspired by Red Bull" is the new trend for 2011. Maybe they should even put a sticker on the MGP W02, stating this.


The only thing Mercedes have done is give the car a raised nose like all cars unveiled so far.

it has a V-cross section in it just like the W01 the year before.

Warrant a Red Bull sticker? of course not...


Fat nose like last years Red Bull


Er... No. The fat nose was already present on the BGP.

Besides, the characteristic thing about the RB5/6-nose that was copied by a lot of teams last year is the V-shape and the downward kink. Those are clearly not present. The nose seems to be high and nearly horizontal like on the F150.

A lot of people seem to expect the RB6 to be copied, so now (as well as Friday) they immediately say of any new car it's a Red Bull copy based on those expectations instead of using their EYES. Anyway, the new regulations mean the Newey-nose is no longer viable.


Errrrrrrm yes actually, after USING MY EYES at 1st glance I totally thought what miz_f1 thought (i.e looks alot like the Red Bull front end), although as expected there are subtle differences, & there is a bit of Ferrari in the nose there too.


So what is it then Ferrari or Red bull?

Because this is F1, teams will invariably look the same due to regulation change.

Witness the high nose trend, all due to the mandated weight distribution.

Its a Mercedes nose, end of discussion 😉


All I have to say is that it is a beautiful looking car. For the sake of Rosberg (Schumacher's tasted much success over the years) I do hope it's fast enough to challenge at the front.


the cars look better than last year. They improven on the ferrari, and the mercedes as well.




the ferrari looks exactly the same!


I understand they dont usually race the front wing shown in the launch, but honestly, Im seeing the roll structure and the mirrors as the only elements not being more or less shamelessly copied from the RB6, I couldnt find a similar photo of the RB but Im pretty sure they copied the sidepods too... I guess its not the first or last time that has happened, but in my mind serves as more proof that the BGP01 was nothing more than a trick diffuser. Heres to hoping Im wrong, I wasnt a huge F1 fan when Schumacher was in his prime so it'd be cool to see the king back at the front.


I thought it had been well established the BGP01's success was a combination of the DDD, weight distribution (with regard to the tyres and thus mechanical grip) and the front wing (and it's role in feeding the diffuser - which the other teams hadn't quite figured out in '09). As well as the merc-engine of course. I remember hearing several technical people talking about that early last season in BBC interviews and I think Scarbsf1 mentioned it too.

Anyway the sidepods indeed look like the RB6's but then again they also look like the W01's pods! The only other thing that picture shows is the nose, which clearly doesn't have that much copied downward kink of the RB6 and only has a faint trace of a V-section.


the intake above the drivers head is something Mercedes seem to like to mess around with. Didn't they change it after a few races last season to a split one. Did that make much of a difference? Obviously not because no other team tried to copy it. It looked mad though.

I hope this one can win some races! Come on Nico, you deserve wins


I think Mercedes were forced to change it on safety grounds.


Looks like an ad for Petronas, is all.


Just hope and pray that Michael Schumacher can win some races with this car. I really want to see that podium jump one more time!


Same here, I think it will come 🙂


No thanks.


Well I am not personally asking who is your favorite driver and who you don't like. [mod}


Good to see everyone jumping on the Red Bull copy bandwagon without knowing anything really about the car! The front wing actually looks the same as last years W01 from last year - which I understand Ferrari did on there launch car catching out some people.


most teams will use last years front wing, or at least an evolution of it for testing.

the real aero packages are brought out for the last test, or even the first race if they're feeling confident!


I would like to see Nico excell in this car! [mod]


That actually looks silver, as opposed to last year's bland grey.


I agree.

Mclarens new team wear is not longer a silver grey colour too which is evidence of less mercedes support.

I suspect they may have a Virgin like livery for 2011 with black being a more prominent colour


I bet they stick with silver.



I think you've bene tricked. This is a Reb Bull with the Mercedes colours photoshopped... 😉


Yup, it looks like heavily airbrushed. I should wait till Tuesday.


Well it came from Mercedes and like I said, it is a 'teaser'


Let's hope this car will spoil us with epic Schumacher - Alonso battles.


Just like the good old days huh..


With Alonso winning all over again.


Yep biz as usual for kids. "Oh my fav driver is better than yours" kinda thing.


Looks like a fair step on last year's car

Jeremy (CapeTown - SA)

Can't wait for Mclaren's launch!!


McLaren's high nose design seems to have been adapted by everyone so far. Ferrari's is especially McLaren esque


especially the sidepods and end plates!


This is not a Red Bull copy other than the frontal nose section. And all teams are going high because of the standard weight distribution this year. There is no benefit in going low nose for 2011.

As for the sidepods, they are very much BGP001/W01 evolutions. The Red Bull "copycat" bandwagon is in full swing even though we have only seen 33% of the car.

If they have pull rod, then touche. But going pull rod will give you packaging benefits(Centre of Gravity) and with more weight this year(higher standard minimum mass) it makes sense to place all the gubbins lower in the car.

Pull rod gives you a very slight improvement in that area. So can you blame Mercedes if indeed it is the way forward?

Not I.


With the higher standard minimum mass this year, there would be _less_ reason for the pull rod in relation to the lower center of gravity for it's parts.

They have more ballast this year to put down low in the car. Not that this will be that much in the end, with kers taking up lots of weight.


You would be right to say there is less reason. But reason there still remains to go pullrod. Getting the gearbox lower, gives you better CofG.

And the offical unveiling now confirms Mercedes have looked at lowering the innards of the W02 by going pullrod 😉


Due to the various other reasons, I'm not surprised that they have gone pull-rod.

They are copy cats on red bull though, as are most of the field.

As they should.


I think that the car will not look like this when we are going to see it for real. It is a teaser...


Looks sleek and sexy! Much better than last years clunky tank of a thing.


@James - I was wondering what you made of the whole "pull rod vs push rod" debate. I believe Ferrari have kept the suspension the same as last year, but other teams, mercedes included judging by the pic, look set to copy the red bull pull rod. Do you think this could be a deciding factor in the race for this years titles? And which one is most likely to be the best?


no sidepod vanes


Rubbish! Its a computer image!


People think Ferrari are under pressure this year but in my opinion all eyes are going to be on Mercedes this year. A poor season last year and with such an early focus on the 2011 car you would think Mercedes should be a force to be reckoned with this year.

With such a huge investment into the team and brand, anything less than few wins this season will be a disaster for the team. Here's hoping Michael and Nico can do the job.


I agree with you there. Mercedes have been successful as an engine supplier in F1, and I doubt they will expect anything less from their team.

I read an excellent quote in F1 magazine (a rare thing indeed IMO), from Pat symonds about Schumacher. He said, michael doesnt care how unstable the car is, as long as its fast.

I dont think you lose "it", whatever it is, over a couple of years off. If they give him a pointy front end it will be interesting to see how Michael does this year.

Similarly Nico showed a lot last year, if he continues to do that he will start getting talked about a lot more.



sure you've seen it, but the Team Lotus car for this year appears to have a very similar airbox design (although a little higher up) than last years mercedes.

I'd understood a blade type support for the camera was dissallowed?

I'm assuming that forms part of the crash and role structure, and has to be tested prior to release (so it has already been approved)?



or even Roll structure 😉


I know the front wing will be updated, but this is last years front wing which took all its cues from the 2009 front wing!! Come on Mercedes, do something inspiring, I can't stand it when Manufacturers produce unimaginitive car designs like this!!! Especially as its a pretty fake looking picture.


Its not even unveiled yet.

Mercedes have a very good front wing, why change for the sake of it?


Change is all part of the game in F1 my friend. Iterration after Iterration will be made, tested and chucked in a skip until they find one that gives them another 10th of a second. The front wing concept is all important as it's the first thing to meet the air, it has to be right to make the rest of the car work.

In 2009, Red Bull made approx 72 versions of their front wing and this is quite normal.

I can't imagine Ross Brawn has ever said "oh that'll do" in his life. Can you?


Well clearly its not as good as the Red Bull one hence last seasons poor showing.

Hence this years Merc front wing is a significantly different model albeit remaining a single flap concept.

Whilst you may perceive little change to the front wing, it is clear to me that every nuance has been reworked.

If they merely bolted the front wing off the BGP001 onto this years car they would be nowhere near the pace.

Regardless, the is no "capital gain" being considered when refining a car. The only consideration is speed, speed and more speed. Money is of no concern. The budget is established and they will spend it on speed until it runs out.



You miss the point entirely. What capital gain is there for a team to show off its finalised front wing for 2011, allowing rivals the chance to copy any new ideas.

Never mind that, but the Brawn BGP001 front wing was the wing to have in 2009, and was copied up and down the pitlane by the majority of temas including Red Bull. Testimony to the fact the W01 had a pretty much unchanged front wing for the entirety of 2010.

Now unless there has been a paradigm shift in front wing design, changing a working front wing stupid, pure and simple. Note How Red Bulls front wing looks pretty much unchanged.

I repeat, why change somthing that works perfectly well? There will be revisions in time, SUBTLE ones.


It is common at this stage to bolt on last years wing element for initial publicity shots. This is because they don't want to reveal their flow concept. Rival aero engineers can tell how the car is generally working its air by taking a look at the front wing layout so it makes sense to hold a few things back for now.

The'll probably run with it for a few days and then as the tests go by you'll see more adventurous looking solutions appearing/disappearing/being replaced/modified.

I expect the single flap to be retained though because this is the configuration that produces most downforce. It is more prone to stalling issues but if you can get it right it will suit Mr. Schumacher down to the ground as it will give him a nice pointy car that he can pound the living daylights out of.


A graphic image? As opposed to...an audio image?


With the 2011 cars that are out, the theme seems to be high flat nose and a pullrod rear...we would have never have guessed at that !


BTW, why have Lotus launched their car in the dark ? Is it really that ugly a design or has someone not paid the lighting bill ?


It certainly looks great, lets hope it's a winner too!


Looks way better than last years car and I hope it performs better too.


I called Ferrari 2011 car agressive looking, I was wrong. Mercedes is much more agressive, buetiful and thin-light one. Maybe colours help to impress me... don't know.

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