Video: Formula One: Mercedes-Benz unveil F1 W03 model racing car for 2012 season
MERCEDES-Benz this morning unveiled their F1 car for the 2012 season at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, the 2012 Silver Arrow, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W03.
The F1 W03 has undergone an intensive programme of simulation testing at the team's technical bases in Brackley and Brixworth and was given it's first meaningful run out by Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher this week.
The new car includes two significant changes: revision of the maximum bodywork height at the front of the car, which encouraged the distinctive stepped-nose design; and new restrictions concerning the positioning of the exhausts, designed to prevent the aerodynamic benefit gained from exhaust gases during 2011, the so-called 'blown diffuser'.
The new car is composed of some 4500 parts compared to 4300 parts on the 2011 model and is lighter than it's predecessor. All mandatory FIA crash tests had been successfully completed at the first attempt by the end of the first week of January 2012.
"The F1 W03 is a car that I believe, and hope, our team can be proud of, and which will deliver the on-track results that everybody has worked so hard to achieve," commented Team Principal Ross Brawn.
"Notwithstanding the distinctive nose design, which is certainly an acquired taste, the F1 W03 is an elegant interpretation of the current regulations, and a clear step forward over its predecessor in terms of detail design and sophistication.
"Last year, we produced a very bold car and, although its more radical elements didn't always deliver the results we had hoped for, the experience we gained has been invaluable to the design of the 2012 car. The F1 W03 is also a more integrated package, which reflects the ever-strengthening ties between our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth, and demonstrates that our Silver Arrows works team is taking the next step forward in terms of on-track performance."
Rosberg, who drove the first laps in the F1 W03 at Silverstone last week, said: "We have had a good start to our 2012 testing programme, and it was a great feeling to drive the first laps in the new F1 W03.
"The car looks good, and is very nicely packaged under the bodywork – all the parts are in harmony, which reflects how well the different departments of our team are working together.
"From the beginning of our running, we have been able to focus on understanding the car and making good progress with our test programme. It will be very interesting to learn more about where we stand in the next few weeks."
Schumacher, who will complete the first full day of official testing with the new car today in Barcelona, said: "I have done quite a few roll-outs and launches of new cars, but even after all these years, I must say it still feels special.
"Days like this are precious moments, as they are always filled with hope and anticipation. Already last week, when we were driving the F1 W03 for the very first time, it instantly gave us good feedback and sensations.
Following the car's launch this morning, the F1 W03 will complete eight full days of pre-season testing over the next two weeks at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.