Drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael show off the W03 with Mercedes bosses Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug

Today’s opening day of pre-season testing at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya began with the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team finally taking the covers off its 2012 challenger, the W03, which it hopes will allow it to compete more regularly with the top-three teams this year.

Designed by an enormous technical team headed by Bob Bell, Aldo Costa and Geoff Willis, the W03 has already enjoyed shakedown tests at Silverstone last week and Barcelona two day ago.

Schumacher and Rosberg show off the Mercedes AMG W03At the first of this year’s three pre-season tests, the team opted to bring along its 2011 challenger, the W02, in order to better familiarise itself with Pirelli’s modified tyres. Now, with this useful data, the team was able to make last-minute refinements to the W03 ahead of its first appearance alongside the 2012 cars launched to-date.

Like almost all of this year’s cars – except McLaren – the W03 has opted for the ‘stepped’ nose eyesore design concept, which has proved the popular solution under the new regulations which demanded that the cars’ nose sections must be lower.

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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.