Mercedes GP has released the first official image of its 2011 championship contender, Mercedes GP W02 Teaserthe W02, two days ahead of its official unveiling on Tuesday.

The outfit is part of the majority of the grid avoiding a full-scale launch by opting for a lower-key ‘reveal’ ahead of the new car’s track debut on Tuesday when pre-season testing gets underway. But to give a hint of the look we can expect, the team has issued a CGI mock-up of the new car.

Gone is the split air intake on the engine cover that the outfit pioneered last year, and in comes a higher nose section. The livery has also been changed with the addition of more turquoise highlights (a nod to title sponsor Petronas).

“It [also] has a shiny new silver paint, which really illuminates the beautiful shapes,” said Mercedes competition boss Norbert Haug.

When it became evident early on that the W01 wasn’t going to deliver back-to-back championships for the outfit formerly known as Brawn GP, the team quickly shifted focus to designing its car for 2011, hoping it would understand and correct the issues that plagued the W01.

“Last year I had to turn down some of the engineers’ interesting suggestions. Now it’s different. We are much better organised,” added team boss Ross Brawn.

The team hopes it will have several advantages over its rivals – not least of which being having had plenty of time to work on the W02 – including its own KERS unit, which Brawn boasts “is very light, very compact, and will affect the balance hardly at all. It is a big step.”

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.