Mercedes’ 2011 challenger, the MGP W02, was launched this morning at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia by race drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.
This is the second Silver Arrows car to be launched by Mercedes GP since the team became the first Mercedes-Benz works outfit since 1955 and eagle-eyed observers will notice the high-gloss airbrush effect – an ‘evolution’ of the car’s livery – and the modern ‘3D’ Petronas logos.
The car also features new-for-2011 adjustable rear wings, tyres from new supplier Pirelli, and the Mercedes KERS system last used by McLaren back in 2009.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher has been involved throughout the design process and, speaking at the launch, reveals what he hopes to achieve with the new car.
“Finally the waiting is over and things get started,” said the German. “For us drivers, the break every year is hard to take because the gap between the last race and the first time out on track seems to be never-ending. Even if I have been involved and updated all winter on the developments, and even if I know the improvements are significant, it is still different to see the new car literally for the first time in front of you. You automatically build up this nice pre-start tension.
“I very much look forward to the new season. We have said it several times already but again, we are really to building up something big together. I am very confident that this season we will be standing on the podium much more regularly; ideally in the middle!”
Rosberg echoed the sentiments of his team-mate, emphasising how much he is looking forward to driving the new car. “It is always a very exciting time of year to drive the new car for the first time and feel how it performs out on track,” he said. “This year we have the added challenge of not having an immediate reference due to the change in tyre manufacturer to the new Pirelli tyres, which felt good during our first try-out at the Abu Dhabi test last year.
“I am very much looking forward to having a much stronger season than last year and as always, our targets are aggressive. We want to be competing at the front and challenging for race wins. Everyone at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth has worked extremely hard on the new Silver Arrow and we are all looking forward to seeing how it performs.”
Ross Brawn added that the team hope to be setting the performance standing right from the first race in Bahrain, and is confident that 2011 will be much better for Mercedes than last year.
“It is always a thrill to see a new car ready to take the track for the first time and this year is no exception,” said the team technical director. “After our first year as the Mercedes-Benz works team, we are now seeing the benefits of our chassis group and our engine group working well together.
“With a good technical structure and a strengthened race engineering organisation, both at the factory and the race track, I am confident that we have done and will continue to do a better job this year in all key areas.
“The concept development for the MGP W02 started early and we have set challenging targets for the design, combined with a robust plan to ensure that the pace of development can continue throughout the long 2011 season. We have two excellent drivers in Michael and Nico, both of whom capable of winning races in a good car, and we look forward to seeing them push each other and the development of the new Silver Arrow during the season.
“We want to be setting the standard right from the start but if we are not, we will respond very strongly to get ourselves into the game. Everyone is excitedly waiting to see what the new season will reveal.”