In 2010 Mercedes returned as a full works F1 team for the first time in 55 years after buying out the 2009 title-winning Brawn GP team. The new W10 therefore represents a decade of modern era ‘Silver Arrows’ cars, and on the eve of the new season here they are gathered together.
It didn’t go so smoothly at first as Nico Rosberg and a returning Michael Schumacher wrestled with sometimes uncooperative machines for three years. Progress came steadily though, as Rosberg won the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix from pole in the aerodynamically-innovative W03 model and Schumacher set fastest qualifying time at Monaco that same year. The W03 featured a unique F-duct arrangement, using a series of internal tubes linking front and rear wings.
Team boss Ross Brawn managed to recruit Lewis Hamilton from 2013, triggering Schumacher’s retirement. The technical team was considerably beefed up in anticipation of preparing for the turbo hybrid formula of 2014. This proved the crucial step-change in the three-pointed star’s fortunes, as Brawn, engine chief Andy Cowell and technical director Bob Bell conceived a fantastically integrated chassis and power unit architecture.
Five consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles have followed as the team, under the leadership and part-ownership of Toto Wolff, has coalesced into one of the most dominant forces in F1 history. If the new W10 (here heading the ‘arrow’ display) can take a sixth consecutive constructors’ title, it will equal Ferrari’s 1999-2004 record.
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