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Mercedes launches 2012 F1 assault with W03

Mercedes has kick-started its assault on the 2012 F1 world championship with the launch of the car it hopes can finally challenge Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.
Undeterred by the two week head-start that many of its rivals have gained since launching their 2012 F1 contenders ahead of the Jerez test, the Mercedes AMG Petronas team finally took the wraps off its own contender in the pit-lane at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

Combining the event with the first public preview of the brand-new Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG, Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher pulled back the covers to unveil the Brackley-based team's third F1 creation since taking over the reins of the championship-winning Brawn GP operation in 2010.

The latest Silver Arrow, officially title the F1 W03, underwent an intensive programme of simulation testing at the team's technical bases in Brackley and Brixworth, before being shaken down during a 'filming day' at Silverstone last week. With that outing limited to 100km, but with a day in hand following the early finish to its Jerez test programme, the team took the opportunity to conduct a private test day in Barcelona on Sunday [19 February], during which the car ran for 354km with both Schumacher and Rosberg taking turns at the wheel.

Despite rumours, stemming from leaked 'teaser' images, suggesting that Mercedes had followed McLaren's lead when it came to the front-end treatment of the car, it was clear at the launch that it had instead adopted the more common 'stepped' nose concept seen on the rest of the 2012 cars unveiled so far.

The new car is based on a largely stable set of technical regulations, albeit with changes to the front end heights and the siting of the exhausts, designed to prevent the aerodynamic benefit gained from exhaust gases during 2011.

“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,” team principal Ross Brawn commented, “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."

The F1 W03 project was begun in May 2011 and is the first full car produced by a technical team that was strengthened last year with recruitments at every level of the organisation. The car, which is composed of some 4500 parts compared to 4300 parts in 2011, has nevertheless achieved a lower core weight than its predecessor, is better packaged and more efficient. All mandatory FIA crash tests had been successfully completed at the first attempt by the end of the first week of January 2012.

"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," Brawn continued, "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.”




Related Pictures

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Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg with new Mercedes W03   [pic credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas]
Mercedes AMG Petronas W03   [pic credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas]
24.08.2014- Race, 1st position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10, 2nd position Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and 3rd position Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 with Adrian Newey (GBR), Red Bull Racing , Technical Operations Director
24.08.2014- Race, Press conference, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
24.08.2014- Race, 1st position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10, 2nd position Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and 3rd position Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 with Adrian Newey (GBR), Red Bull Racing , Technical Operations Director
24.08.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
24.08.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 with punctured rear wheel.
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
24.08.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
24.08.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
24.08.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
24.08.2014- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
24.08.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
24.08.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 with punctured rear wheel.
24.08.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 with punctured rear wheel.

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