One day out from the first of the Formula 1 pre-season test sessions getting underway, the Mercedes AMG F1 team has become the latest entrant to unveil its 2013 Grand Prix challenger, dubbed the F1W04.
The ceremony took place in sunny conditions at Spain’s Jerez circuit, with the launch occurring after driver Nico Rosberg was given the honour of performing a few shakedown laps in the new design.
The team will be hoping for a dramatically improved – and ultimately more consistent – run of form in 2013 after a very poor 2012 campaign. Despite claiming victory at the Chinese Grand Prix, the rest of the season was rather more ‘miss’ than ‘hit’.
The W03 came armed with a revolutionary ‘super DRS’ concept that sparked many an envious glance along the pit lane, until it was ultimately shown to be a serial tyre destroyer – it was a dilemma that the team never managed to solve.
As the season wore on, the team steadily slipped further into the midfield, despite being blessed with an abundance of resources and technical know-how. They chased dead-end solution after dead-end solution, confused over exhaust layouts and still managing to destroy their tyres when no one else was. A paltry six points in the final six races (including five no-scores on the trot) was just embarrassing.
The new car is aesthetically similar to its rather troubled predecessor, although sports a considerably less-severe ‘stepped nose’ than the 2012 car, the W03. Design by the Brackley team’s huge pool of design talent, team principal Ross Brawn called the F1W04 “a clear step forward” in all areas.
“[This] marks the start of a second era for our Silver Arrows works team,” Brawn said. “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.”
The team also used the launch to unveil a range of cosmetic and sponsorship changes. The car’s livery has had some subtle tweaks, along with the addition of new sponsorship stickers from mobile device manufacturer BlackBerry – prompting many a BlackBerry-snapped photo being shared by Rosberg, Hamilton and the outfit’s PR team on social media.
The team also showed off new black and silver racing uniforms, while the media also got to see Hamilton’s revised racing helmet design and clear diamond earrings – the former McLaren man appears to have spent the off-season dispensing with the black diamond studs, while also working on his facial hair.
Hamilton later took the F1W04 out for the team’s allocated ‘filming’ running in the afternoon.