Mercedes aims to defend Formula 1 drivers’ and constructors’ championships with W10 F1 challenger
Renders of the Mercedes W10 Formula 1 car have been released as the team shakes down its car at Silverstone on Wednesday.
Mercedes topped the constructors’ championship last year with 655 points while Lewis Hamilton took his fifth F1 drivers’ title with 408 points over Sebastian Vettel’s 320.
The W10 will be driven by Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas for the 2019 F1 season while former Force India driver Esteban Ocon gets a reserve role.
“The 2019 season will be a new challenge for all of us,” said Toto Wolff, team principal and CEO.
“The regulations have changed quite substantially. We have to start from scratch, we need to prove ourselves again – against our own expectations and against our competitors.
“We start the season with zero points, so we’re taking nothing for granted and there’s absolutely no feeling of entitlement to be at the front. In fact, with the regulation change for the new season, every team can have a shot at the title and we’re seeing all of them as a potential threat.”
Mercedes is sharing the Silverstone circuit with Red Bull today, with the Silver Arrows doing 100km of running before preseason testing kicks off on February 18.
“We’re eager to hit the ground running in Barcelona, to benchmark ourselves against our own simulations and see if our predictions materialise on track,” said Wolff. “We will focus on ourselves, building up performance and hopefully be ready when the first really competitive session starts on Saturday in Melbourne.”
Technical director James Allison added: “Regulation changes are both opportunity and threat. They are an opportunity because all the old assumptions about what you need to have to be quick are swept away and, if you are fleet of foot and smart in dealing with that, you can do better than all the other teams that are tackling the same change.
“They are a threat because if you are not as smart and you didn’t see how to make the most of these new regulations, then you’ll certainly suffer in the coming season. But they are always exhilarating because you have that sharp sense of anxiety that you might not be doing enough but equally the thrill and excitement of looking forward to finding out.”
He also touched on the pros and cons of the W09 on Wednesday.
“The handling of the W09 was a big improvement over the rather idiosyncratic W08,” said Allison.
“We managed to be competitive at tracks which had plagued us in recent years. However, notwithstanding this improvement, we were still not as good as some of our competitors at preserving the performance of the rear tyres. We have worked hard on the suspension and aerodynamic characteristics to deliver a car that will be much kinder to its tyres – enough, we hope, to allow us to be competitive at all phases of the race and at each track on the calendar.
“Even though the minimum weight limit was lifted by 10kg for 2019, weight reduction remains a real challenge on the current generation of F1 cars. Components that we felt were stripped to the bone in 2018 have been taken, one by one, and subjected to a further round of aggressive analysis to shave further weight from them. Some components surrender what feels like a giant step of half a kilo, others just a few grams, but collectively each of these victories add up to a handful of kilos that have been invested back in the car on aerodynamics, suspension and power unit to bring performance.”
Powertrain director Andy Cowell explained that Mercedes has made cooling improvements to the power unit, improving aero benefits and efficiency.
“Right at the heart of the power unit is the conversion of fuel into heat release in the combustion chamber and useful work out of the crankshaft,” said Cowell.
“We have made steps on the combustion efficiency and on the ERS system. The marriage between the turbocharger assembly with the MGUh, the inverter, the cells and the MGUk: that whole system is now capable of operating more efficiently and helping with energy deployment through a race.”
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