Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas’ Mercedes-AMG W10s are running a one-time heritage livery at the German Grand Prix this weekend in celebration of the car company’s 125th year of competing in motorsport and their 200th Grand Prix start.
Whilst much of the focus at the front of the car was on the retro branding, numerous mid-season upgrades to the Silver Arrows’ bodywork and aerodynamic package dominated the discussions ahead of Friday’s practice sessions at the Hockenheimring.
Despite the German manufacturer winning nine of the first ten races of the season, their development program has not slowed with changes to the front wing, an upgraded sidepod which houses a new cooling update, floor tweaks, and a new aggressive rear-wing endplate.
Karun Chandhok, Sky Sports presenter and former racing driver, commented on the new look Mercedes during his walk around pit lane.
“I didn’t see any major changes on Red Bull or Ferrari (cars) but the Mercedes have a very different package, a huge amount of detail on the barge boarding and the front of the floor, it will definitely add performance, how much we will see on track,” he said.
Pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz weighed in on the upgrades that he says will see Mercedes dominate on Sunday.
“There’s a lot on the Mercedes, a lot, and it’s a big mid-season upgrade, they needed to enlarge the radiators, the radiators we saw in Austria weren’t big enough and they needed to change the side pods but they have made them better as well and there’s other new stuff on there, I think they will be the dominant player,” he added.
Championship leaders Mercedes are favourites to repeat their home race victory at the circuit from 12 months ago but as Europe scorches through a record-breaking heatwave, the W10s’ previous performance in extreme heat which derailed their Austrian Grand Prix campaign is a concern for the team.
“It’s a different circuit, with hot conditions and we know that our car is maybe not the most efficient in hot conditions,” Bottas said.
“But we have some new bits for the cooling and also a quite nice new aero package that should give some more performance to the car.”
Lewis Hamilton, who ended his five-straight podium streak in Austria due to the cooling issues with his Mercedes, said that rain would not be a bad thing for his race this weekend.
“I’d imagine, if it stays this hot, we’re going to be in trouble,” said Hamilton. “We’ve got these hot races coming up which are obviously not so easy for us, so it’s going to be a challenge.”
The new Mercedes package was tested with the mercury hitting 38ºC on Friday, with Friday’s to practice sessions headed by rivals Ferrari. A late thunderstorm is set to cool temperatures to as low as 24ºC for the rest of the weekend with rain predicted for the race on Sunday.
Hamilton and Bottas will be looking to dominate for Mercedes who are celebrating their 125th year in the sport. The Mercedes racing marque began with a single ‘Benz’ competing in what is widely regarded as the world’s the first ever motor race, run between Paris and Rouen on July 22, 1894.
The anniversary livery pays homage to the infamous story of the birth of the Silver Arrows in the 1930s. Early Mercedes racing cars competed in Germany’s national racing colour of white until their W25 car was found to be over the weight limit while racing at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 1934. Legend has it that the mechanics scraped off the white paint to reveal the silver bodywork beneath, solving the weight issue.
Mercedes have won the past three races at Hockenhiem and will be hoping to extend their 164-point lead over Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship. Likewise, if reigning champion Lewis Hamilton takes the top step on the podium on Sunday, he will be named the most successful German Grand Prix driver beating his and Michael Schumacher’s record of four race wins.
Image via Mercedes-AMG Motorsport