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Monday, 4 February 2013

Mercedes GP Gives Up On Online Launch, Drives W04 Instead

2013 Mercedes-AMG F1 W04
After watching one side of the Superbowl last night, you're probably more comfortable seeing a Mercedes F1 car at an angle as if it's on a NASCAR oval for no apparent reason. So here you go: the new F1 W04. See how easy launching a new car is when you don't use Twitter?

This car has been eagerly anticipated, partly because we didn't really get to see it on Saturday when their online launch plan crashed their website harder than Michael Schumacher crashed into Vergne at last year's Singapore GP, but also because it's Lewis Hamilton's new office, after he left his home at McLaren to move in with his BFF Nico Rosberg, who had a room going spare after the old man retired to a life on his Texas ranch. Seriously. Of course his real plan is to have a fast team in 2014 when the new engine rules come into effect, but having a year to settle in first and see where he can get this new Silver Arrow to finish is good for him and us. Can he pull an Alonso if this car ends up being no more competitive than last year's W03?

Mercedes-AMG F1 are now sponsored by Blackberry, so Lewis can BBM about how he's going H.A.M in the AMG.
Last year's car showed great promise in testing, as well as showing innovation in the form of a clever air channeling system dubbed the "W-Duct", wherein air would enter a little hole in the tip of the nose and go down the front wing struts and out of tiny slots at the front of the front wing's underside, stalling the wing in a straight line and increasing top speed by as much as 10mph with the DRS open. This evolved into a "Double DRS", wherein a little hole was exposed when the DRS flap was up, which channeled air all the way from the rear wing to the front to do the same thing as the W-Duct but more effectively. This along with some solid driving by Nico Rosberg got the team their first ever win in Mercedes guise, making it the German marque's first F1 victory since it pulled out of motor racing in 1955. Although of course, this is what used to be Brawn GP, so the actual team's former successes have been more recent than that.

Naturally the camera car is a Mercedes-Benz. Is the camouflage really necessary?
Photographed doing some promotional filming today, the 2013 F1 W04 features a nose that's the same shape as last year's - with ridges at the sides of the high step - except for the Vanity Panel making the middle of it a much smoother incline. They've also tidied up the usual areas, those being the wings and sidepods, with an exhaust exit that sticks out over the top of the tightly tucked-in rear bodywork, probably as a way to exploit the Coandă Effect like everyone else. Piloting the car today is Nico Rosberg (finally allowed to have the lower racing number), who will be hoping to add to his win tally of one this year with an evolution of a car that actually seemed to get steadily worse as 2012 went on. Hopefully they can flip that trend upside down or just be fast all year. Otherwise Ron Dennis will look smug all winter.

Interesting gills flanking the exhaust pipes. Rear brake ducts are as busy as Lotus's.
Nico Rosberg puts the W04's downforce capabilities to the ultimate test by driving down the side of a building.
Random shot of their new driver pandering to their new sponsor.
And across the line! It's easy to win when you're the only one racing.
Those are some very big seagulls behind them...

[obligatory credit to F1Fanatic for getting these pictures]

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