The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team today unveiled their 2017 challenger, the F1 W08 EQ power+, during a filming day that took place at a wet and windy Silverstone circuit.
The new regulations for 2017, which focus primarily on aerodynamic changes, are set to produce more physically demanding machines, and the fastest F1 cars so far. Mercedes Motorsport Boss Toto Wolff is looking forward to seeing that evolution take shape on track once the season starts.
“The new rules for 2017 were designed to make the fastest F1 cars ever through a big increase in aerodynamic performance. They should be more physical to drive and hopefully more spectacular for the fans to watch.
“The proof will come in the opening races but we have probably achieved that target.”
Wolff, although excited for the new season and optimistic of the German teams chances, is also wary that any changes could bring the chance for their competitors to get ahead this time around, so will not be taking anything for granted.
“Of course, in terms of relative performance, it’s clear that any rule change brings with it a big reset but also a big opportunity. This is the time to stay humble and keep our feet on the ground. None of the teams has raced under these rules and we all have the same points right now: zero.
“But the dominant feeling in the team right now is one of excitement – the factory is buzzing with anticipation. It has been a really motivating challenge to develop a brand new car concept and I have never seen our determination to succeed higher than it is right now.”
Speaking of Nico Rosberg‘s shock retirement announcement at the end of last season, the Austrian admitted it had caused them a few issues, but is confident new driver Valtteri Bottas will be a perfect replacement, and will push teammate Lewis Hamilton, as the Brit will the Finn, to stronger performances.
“Of course, we had a curve ball from Nico late last year that left us scrambling a little bit in the winter. But we found a great solution with Valtteri and I am sure that he will form a strong partnership with Lewis.
“They have both been working hard in the factory with the technical teams and, although we have a different dynamic to manage than in recent seasons, I don’t expect the competition between them to be less intense. And that’s how we like it.”
With the engine token system having been dropped this year, power unit development is set to be ever evolving, with updates being pushed through at a much faster rate, a factor Wolff believes will sort the men from the boys this season.
“This year, in-season development will play a big role in determining the championship outcome.
“None of us know where we will stand at the first race but I am confident that, whatever that position is, we have the people and the capability to deal with every challenge that comes our way.
“This will be the season where our full works team can show its true strength.”