Mercedes' plan to give fans an early online glimpse at their new F1 W04 car was foiled when the team's web servers were unable to take the strain of an unprecedented number of people trying to access the site.

"You guys are LITERALLY killing our website!" Mercedes F1 said via their Twitter page, when their website went down under the heavy traffic. "We knew you guys were crazy, but THAT crazy... just wow. Our IT guys are working hard behind the scenes to fix this!!"

The problem proved to be even more difficult to fix than expected, and even four hours after the Twitter campaign started the site was still down and unable to show the promised 'sneak peek' to frustrated fans.

The plan had been to get fans to retweet a specific hashtag on Twitter, with each tweet triggering the opening of a garage door on the team's official website, behind which was hidden the new F1 W04

"The faster you retweet it, the faster the car will be revealed. So the more you tweet, the more you'll see!" the team said.

The PR campaign worked and the hashtag was retweeted around the world, but initially the website was unable to deliver...

The F1 W04 won't be officially launched until Monday when the wraps are taken off at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain, ahead of the first pre-season test, which gets underway the following day, February 5.

The 2013 car will be driven by Nico Rosberg and new team member Lewis Hamilton, and Mercedes will doubtless be hoping for fewer glitches and crashes with the real thing than they experienced with their Saturday Twitter tease promotion!