On the 2 February Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team launched the car that they hope will once again challenge for the title in the 2021 season – the W12.
With there only being 12 weeks since the chequered flag was waved at the 2020 season closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Brackley-based team will no doubt have had to spend long hours over the winter making sure that they make the most out of their limited number of development tokens.
The W12 was shown to the world in the brand new Race Bays at the Brackley Technology Centre which is the product of hard work over the past 18 months.
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, acknowledges that the process of resetting and refining focus may sound simple, but Wolff acknowledges that this is a lot more difficult than it sounds, with the Austrian referencing the fact that no other sports team has seven consecutive titles. Wolff also doesn’t want any complacency to creep into his team or to get used to success.
“Every year we reset our focus and define the right objectives, that may sound simple but it’s damn hard and is probably why there are no sports teams out there with seven consecutive titles. So many things can happen and it’s very natural to get used to success, and therefore not fight as hard for it.”
However, the Austrian team principal has never noticed anything like this in the factory, ever since he walked in the doors in 2013. Even though there may be large-scale changes on the horizon particularly in 2022, but these changes excite the team and ignite the team with higher levels of fire and passion.
“But this team has not shown any of that. I see the same fire, hunger and passion now as I did the first time I walked through the doors in 2013. Every season presents a new challenge and therefore, a new goal for us to achieve. 2021 brings changes to the regulations, which could impact our competitiveness, plus the cost cap and working on the major rule changes of 2022. These challenges excite us.”
This season also marks the embarkment of a new chapter for the team, with the announcement coming last season that Wolff, Daimler and INEOS will all have one-third equal shares in the team. The sheer fact that Mercedes were able to attract such a large company like INEOS, shows that F1 is still an attractive prospect to company’s. The incoming budget caps according to Wolff, make F1 teams operate more like American sports franchises on a business level.
“The fact that we were able to attract INEOS as an investor shows that we have a strong business case and that F1 continues to be a highly attractive platform for big brands and companies, we’re also seeing a slight shift in the way that F1 teams operate as the cost cap and the new structure move us towards a business model that is more familiar in American sports franchises.”
Having three strong shareholders, offers the team security for the future and Wolff has recognised this in increasing his share in the team slightly. The team is like a second family to Wolff and he will continue to stick with them through thick and thin.
“At the same time, having three strong shareholders in the team gives us even more stability for the future. On a personal level, I’m very happy to commit to the team for the long term and increase my share slightly. I’ve always said that this team is like a family to me, and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved together.”
Fans of Formula 1 and Mercedes alike will not have to wait long before they get to see both Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in action at the pre-season test at the Bahrain International Circuit.