“Mercedes (finally) launch the W04”

Following a disastrous attempted digital launch over the weekend, Mercedes finally revealed their 2013 machine at Jerez yesterday.

The original unveiling, via the Mercedes website, saw the website crash repeatedly; ensuring only a half-baked and incomplete image of the W04 was visible.

Well, it can now be safely said that – like almost every other launch so far this year – the W04 looks an awful lot like last year’s car, thanks to the largely unchanged technical regulations.

On the other hand, Mercedes will at least be looking to improve their overall form throughout the season. Despite a race victory with Nico Rosberg in China and a provisional pole position in Monaco {note 1} for the now retired Michael Schumacher, 2012 was a year where Mercedes tended to rather anonymous.

However recent months have brought a massive restructuring of the team. Following the sale of 40% of the teams shares by Aabar, (via Daimler) Toto Wolff has joined the Mercedes squad from Williams (accepting 30%), while three-time world champion remains as non-executive chairman with 10% of shares being bought by Niki Lauda.
Indeed it was Lauda that managed to persuade Lewis Hamilton to join the German marque, as he steps away from McLaren for the first time in his career. This period has not been without its controversy. The arrival of Wolff has laid question marks over the doors of Team Principal Ross Brawn and CEO Nick Fry, although both are adamant that they will remain with the Brackley-based squad.

Naturally, upon its (eventual) release Brawn was keen to reflect upon the W04. “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.
“Many thousands of hours of work have been invested by our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth to ensure that the new car delivers a step change in performance compared to last season.
“We are also hugely proud to welcome Lewis to the team as a works Mercedes-Benz driver. With Lewis and Nico, we have what I believe to be the strongest driver line-up in Formula One and I know that a healthy level of competition between them both will help drive the team forward.”

Hamilton’s arrival marks an important fork in the road for Mercedes, whose progress up until recently had been partially held at bay by a driver line-up that all too often delivered uninspiring performances. For his part, Hamilton is not expecting instant success, knowing that 2013 may be the first year in a long relationship.
“It’s a very special day for me to officially present our Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow to the world. I’ve been at the factory for a few days now, getting to know the guys, meeting my mechanics and engineers, learning myself into the team and I have never seen a group of people that is hungrier for success than this one.
“They have been flat out this winter trying to pack more performance into the new car and I can’t wait to drive it and see where I can make a difference to help push the team forward with Nico. We are playing a long game here but I know we will have success together and I’m excited to be a big part of making it happen.”

Fresh from the simulator, Rosberg is also anticipating a slow, but positive upturn in performance. “The car seems to be performing well in the virtual world but we have a very busy and intense programme ahead of us during testing to make sure we can deliver that performance on track. The atmosphere in the team is very positive and the people are highly motivated to succeed.
“And, of course, I have a new team-mate with Lewis. It’s his first time in the Silver Arrow and I look forward to working together and pushing each other hard, to make this the best team in Formula One.”

New arrival Wolff added: “Formula One is very straightforward and the only thing that counts is lap time.” That’s nonsense Toto. The only thing that matters are the results. In the past, too many cars have dominated Grand Prix with their quick machines only to not finish.

Key personnel:
Team Principal:
Ross Brawn
CEO: Nick Fry
Technical Director: Bob Bell
Engineering Director: Also Costa
Technology Director: Geoff Willis
Chief Strategist: James Vowles
Executive Director: Toto Wolff
Non-executive Chairman: Niki Lauda

{note 1}
Schumacher secured the fastest time in Monaco, but a penalty lingering over from the previous race ensured he would start 6th.

© Mercedes AMG Grand Prix
© Mercedes AMG Grand Prix
© Mercedes AMG Grand Prix
© Mercedes AMG Grand Prix
© Mercedes AMG Grand Prix
© Mercedes AMG Grand Prix
© Mercedes AMG Grand Prix
© Mercedes AMG Grand Prix

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