Mercedes W03, Silverstone, 2012

Picture: Mercedes W03 spied at Silverstone

2012 F1 carsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mercedes W03, Silverstone, 2012
Mercedes W03, Silverstone, 2012

The Mercedes W03 broke cover at Silverstone yesterday as the team put the car through a 100km shakedown test.

The images above and below of Michael Schumacher driving the car were taken and sent in by a reader.

It shows Mercedes have adopted an aggressive stepped nose on the W03.

Mercedes have also released footage of Nico Rosberg driving the car including helmet camera footage:

Here is a video shot of the car testing yesterday:

Mercedes W03, Silverstone, 2012
Mercedes W03, Silverstone, 2012

2012 F1 cars

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Image ?? Roy Powell

116 comments on “Picture: Mercedes W03 spied at Silverstone”

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  1. Woah, that’s a nasty step.

  2. I think Ferrari just lost the honour of worst stepped nose?

    1. I don’t think so. Ferrari have the worst stepped nose followed by Red Bull, in my opinion.

      1. I hope it turns out to be the best stepped nose followed by all the rest.:)

        1. You and me both… like the Mclaren’s absence of a step, the severity of that step could either be a stroke of genius or a complete disaster!

          1. Really doubt the stepped nose alone will make that big of a difference. Mclaren’s nose last year was pretty low, Red Bull’s was high, same this year just McLaren’s design doesn’t need the step.

          2. The only difference bettween this and the ferrari nose is the ferrari nose is red…

          3. @Harry@everyone whose obsessed with noses

            The nose is going to be so inconsequential this year that all the teams are probably ecstatic. All the worlds internet and media are having a frenzy about the ugliest and best looking noses rather than talking about analysing and photographing the really clever bits.

          4. @TheBrav3

            You can stay. :D

            It’s a pity that at the first race all the commentators will talk about are the noses.

        2. Are we all sure the stepped and non stepped noses are really the big area of performance differentiation in 2012. I’m not.

          They are the most striking thing about the cars…but so what? When the season starts and one car leads the rest we are going to be talking about the magic trick going on on the underside or at the back of that car and not about the noses.

    2. Thats the most aggressive step but it looks better than the Ferrari and the Red bulls, no doubt.

    3. @ibuser I think they’re pretty much on a par. Looks forced unlike the Lotus one.

    4. From the side, it’s hard to tell. I actually like it.

    5. I think the centre has a more curved transition, like Force India for example. And the Ferrari is just ugly for the abrupt step, it’s because of the nose being short, stubby, flat, square and sharp. The actual nose of the Mercedes has some character at least (although I don’t like the swept back front wing supports combined with a pointy nose).

      1. * the Ferrari is NOT just ugly for the abrupt step

      2. Surely its the same difference as Art Deco and Art Nouveau, just a matter of taste. I prefer Deco myself so the new look looks great to me. If it is faster it will look even better.:)

    6. well i like force india’s stepped nose……design…

  3. Wow, that’s quite a ‘stepped’ nose…

    1. Very, I cant wait for the high def pictures so we can see whose is worse. Such a pity.

      1. That is by far the biggest step nose of all the teams! Wouldn’t this not only cause drag but also lift? So there would have to be something going on underneath it to insure that design contributes to downforce?

        1. It wouldn’t be the first time an F1 design team forgot to use common sense

  4. The nose looks like a weapon that could be used on those robot wars shows. Quite sharp. Looks quite similar to the Ferrari nose.

    1. Almost identical i would say from the photos we have.

  5. I’m starting to think Ferrari and Merc maybe onto something here and I’m actually fully supporting their designs. I think the Merc is going to come out super-competitive!!! Can’t wait!!!

    1. Agreed. I think the new look is modern and aggressive and I like it. I dont understand the reaction to them other than normal personal preferences. It makes the previous cars look old and out of date IMO. There have been far worse over the years.

      1. Personally I don’t like the look but I do know this…once we’ve seen a few races the cars of last year will be long forgotten and today’s cars will look more ‘normal’. Happens every year. Of course, having the Mac out there with a nose like last year’s might muddy that concept, but overall it seems like any time you look back at previous cars they look dated.

        1. I remember when Ferrari introduced the white livery for vodafone, I reacted against it as I thought it interfered with the glorious rosso corsa but when they changed it back I missed the white. Go figure.:) Winning cars always end up being beautiful.

  6. apart from the nose thats pretty much what tested at jerez bodywork wise underneath differant matter no surprizes really can it win ?

    1. Not at all the photos aren’t great but you can make out much smaller side pods. It’s hard to tell how undercut they are and how tightly packaged the rear end is with out getting a closer shot or one from above and the back. I think however it’s safe to say given the size of the side pods they will have a similar rear end to all the other teams. Looks like they have also gone for the lotus/mclaren etc etc gubbins filling in the region between the front of the side pods and the back of the front wheels/suspension underneath the front of the safety cell/step nose. Hard to tell if the front and rear wings are new though if they are not there will be new one by australia. The struts connecting the front wing to the nose are also new.

      1. I’m not Criticising the reader who sent in the photos by the way I wouldn’t expect $5000 camera quality photos from any one but a professional snapper. I and i’m sure everyone reading this website is very thankfull for them!

  7. The sidepods look lower, but apart from that and the nose, I can’t notice any obvious differences to the W02.

    1. see above :)

  8. These step nose F1 cars are what 1970s flared pants were to fashion.

    The The RedBull early on and Mercedes is late 1970s. Yuk. I reckon we will be poking gentle fun at these for cars for years decades to come.

    1. Flared pants kick ass.

      1. But catch a lot of wind when they do.

  9. The nose looks much flatter top and bottom than just about everyone elses so far, not a pretty looking thing and surely the largest most prominent step on the nose.

    Also did they have the elongated vertical planes on the front wing of last years car or is that new, looks similar to the ferrari in that respect.

    1. It looks a bit like FI have profiled their nose, with it sloping down between the two ridges on the sides.

  10. This is what we would get If Megatron was to be transforming into a race car.

  11. Wow, that’s a step and a half there. :O
    I bet I’m the only one of the opinion that it actually looks OK.

  12. The noses on these cars appear to be very dangerous. In a crash, all the force is concentrated a very small area at the point of impact.

    1. But it is a point of impact that is specifically designed to disintegrate and scatter to absorb as much energy as possible, so that the bulkhead behind it (ie. behind the step) stays intact.

      I’d say, since all teams will try to have as little weight in it as possible/needed, there will be little difference between last years, the McLaren, and others’ noses this year in how dangerous they are in a hit with a car.

      Possibly the McLaren is safer in a side collision near the cockpit/driver’s head, due to being a bit lower, but not much else.

    2. If only an educated and intelligent man like you worked in Formula 1. We would’ve had no fatalities in F1 for a long long time.

      1. Surely the only way to make motorsport truly safe is to ban it. If you propel an object of that weight at that speed it can never be totally safe. The modern cars are as safe as can be IMHO and if there is a problem with the new nose surely the finger has to be pointed at the rulemakers. As long as aero is king in F1 this is what will be produced. I agree with Ferrari that aero needs to be curtailed in favour of mechanical grip, that seems to be a better direction.

    3. Very good point, I didn’t think about it like that until now.

    4. You do know the entire point of the stepped nose was to lower the nose for safety reasons….

  13. Is that a Mclaren-2011-styled airbox I see…?

    1. How can you see that from that picture?

      1. just behind the main inlet there is a darker area, just behind where the camara is placed.

        1. Yep, that echos the W02 second gen cooling setup.

  14. From his picture we cannot really tell if there’s a ‘v’ shape in the nose or if it’s like the F12012 just yet.

    It’s very much like the W02, which I don’t have a problem with, as that was the most beautiful 2011 car in my opinion. Cannot wait to see how quick it is, sure hope it is!

    1. To me it looks closer to what FI have, but as you write, its hard to spot from these pictures / video

  15. Updated the story with a second image.


    so dissapointed :(

  17. Am I the only one seeing a hole right beside Schumachers helmet?

    1. over the sidepod..

    2. No, I see something too… it’s a bit blurry though, so quite hard to tell just what it is :)

      1. What ever it is it wasn’t on the WO2, unless it’s simply a trick of the light but i don’t think it is the light.

    3. …think its just the headrest

      1. Nah under the wire line of the fence theres another dot above the side pod winglets. I assume you were refering to the black mark behind the helmet under the engine airbox which is definitely as you say simply the back of the cockpit.

  18. And I see they are still sporting the vent in the middle of the nose.

  19. I really need to see a front angle of this car, i think there is something interesting going on there instead of a step.

    1. It looks a bit as if the nose cone is both flatter, and narrower, than the rest of the tub (Impression also gleaned from having seen the teaser dark lit top view Mercedes released earlier this week that seemed to show a narrower nose cone).

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