Picture: Mercedes W03 spied at Silverstone

2012 F1 cars

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4zcuuFNtp4

Here is a video shot of the car testing yesterday:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy4LtpZQZiM

Mercedes W03, Silverstone, 2012

Mercedes W03, Silverstone, 2012

2012 F1 cars


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116 comments on Picture: Mercedes W03 spied at Silverstone

  1. vjanik said on 17th February 2012, 11:31

    thats an odd looking and interesting exhaust (if it is an exhaust).

    Looks like a thin horizontal pipe. Or is it bodywork supposed to channel exhaust gases? Cant really tell from the pic.

    cant wait for the launch next week and some high res images.

  2. Andy Redden (@andyredden-on-f1) said on 17th February 2012, 11:46

    Bit disappointed to be honest. as they missed Jerez I was expecting more. Could be wrong until we see more pictures but still…

  3. GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 17th February 2012, 11:54

    So thats it then, all stepped noses apart from McLaren. Really hope they are not too far out on that decision.

    I do understand the philosophy of their design but still a bit nervous that everyone else has gone the other way!

  4. Ben (@nebjamin) said on 17th February 2012, 12:03

    It almost looks as though the nose tapers to a point.

  5. metalman71589 (@metalman71589) said on 17th February 2012, 12:17

    Looks like, it’s triangular shaped, like the bayonet on an old musket.

  6. sheehan92 said on 17th February 2012, 12:33

    The Side pods look really steap at the back and look slightly curved on top aswell, it seems the exhaust is placed directly under the air flow that would attach to this part of the car. The car also appears to be very low, the front wing also seems to be bent going round the corner which may suggest flexing. The front of the nose appears to be curved with the step being shorter in the middle than it does on the sides. It also appears to be very compact at the back an maybe a little short, be interesting to have a better look soon.

  7. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 17th February 2012, 12:38

    Next to Ferrari Mercedes looks the worst of them all,still Lotus looks the best, Mclaren is on another planet.

  8. Wow, looking at this latest on-board camera view, just realized that the driver can’t see where the car actually ends! That should make for some interesting starts this year..

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 17th February 2012, 13:00

      Last year that also was the case for most cars apart from McLaren, and drivers did comment on it (the McLaren guys saying they were glad they could see their nose, I think, for example).

  9. supernicebob (@supernicebob) said on 17th February 2012, 13:07

    Yes yes yes. More helmet cam footage please. Was it the end of 2008 when DC raced with one for all of 1/2 corners at Brazil? Seems to have cropped up in a few practice sessions and I think Giedo Van Der Garde had one in a GP2 race at Monza last year but otherwise has not been used anywhere near enough for my liking.

    Does anyone know if there is any particular reason holding it back?

    • TheBrav3 said on 17th February 2012, 13:24

      well driver helmets are aerodynamic devices Could be they don’t like to race with them because even the smallest camera could cause extra buffeting which would = extra stress on the neck over the course of a race.

      100% pure personal hypothesis though i’m afraid I really don’t know why they don’t because that’s what everyone wants to see.

      • GT_Racer said on 17th February 2012, 23:21

        Its something FOM are working on, The one used on vettel’s helmet at brazil (and on barrichello’s in the race) was a trial.
        They were not totally happy with the angle, the view it gives is too narrow, the wider angle shot like in the Mercedes video is more what there after.

        Helmet cameras are surprisingly difficult to pull off, There are various problems with mounting the unit & then making sure the wires are not in the way & thats before you get the teams/drivers to actually agree to run them.

        Its not just in F1, You rarely see helmet cameras used anywhere because of these problems.

        • GT_Racer said on 17th February 2012, 23:21

          Just to add.

          The reason we don’t see them used more often is that its a surprisingly difficult shot to get right. Yes we see it a lot during testing but thats often teams sticking a GoPro unit on the helmet for a lap or 2 just to get some footage. The one in the video above is a GoPro-HD unit, Its about the size of your average handheld digital camera & in no way suitable for use over a race weekend.

          During actual race weekends teams & drivers are funny about putting cameras on the helmets because they disturb the airflow, create a bit of drag & in some cases cause the helmet to move around more because of the drag.

          The one they used last year was a tiny unit which was placed in an aerodynamicly shaped plastic cover, However they struggled to get a decent angle with it which is why it wasn’t used too often & why it was taken off Vettel’s helmet after Friday.

          I said this before but its a shot thats surprisingly difficult to actually do, Thats why you hardly ever see them used.

          In terms of where you could put them,
          You can’t put them inside the helmet (As was done in CART) because of FIA safety regulations regarding how the helmets are put together (Can’t break the seals to run the cables through & there has to be a certain amount of padding etc….).
          You can’t put them at the side of the helmet because the visor tear-off’s are in the way & because they can get knocked off by the driver leaning his head into the cockpit padding.
          Your limited with putting them on top because there are 3 air vents which you can’t cover.

          I know there are many who go on about just sticking a camera on there, it cant be that hard. Trust me you can’t stick any camera on there (Has to be small enough, has to be live broadcast capable & work with FOM’s OnBoard recievers).

          To end, Its not something that isn’t done because FOM don’t want to do it. Helmet cameras are something FOM would like to do more of, Its just something thats never really fully worked out for a number of different reasons, Its not something we dont see through lack of want or trying.

          • TheBrav3 said on 18th February 2012, 4:07

            I love the way your Just to add was 3x as long as your original comment ;)

            kidding aside nice one that’s a pretty comprehensive answer from you GT_Racer and actually a bit sad. That shot from rosbergs helmet was beautifull and from what you’re saying it sounds like it will be years before we’ll get such a clear shot during a proper session let alone a race.

  10. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 17th February 2012, 13:09

    Why does Nico have a map of a circuit beside the steering wheel? It’d be quite funny to imagine a driver thinking ” So is it a left from here or right, I wonder :) !!! ” But great onboard, pity the broadcasters dont get more creative with the onboard footage that we get to see on tv. Ditto for the radio chat between the driver and team.

    • TheBrav3 said on 17th February 2012, 13:58

      It’s for if they have to make any quick pit calls about anything, on track debries oil/water ground hogs broken down cars bottles strippers what evers out there. Also to give quick feedback about what the car is doing through a given corner. It’s easyer to quickly look at the map and say yes bottoming out at turn 9 rather than going oh blummin heck now i’m going through farm what was the previous corner where i had a problem whilst by then attempting to negotiate the village loop.

  11. I was hoping that Mercedes wouldn’t have gone down the stepped nose route, but alas it seems it will only be the McLaren not to have such an ugly nose.

    I know Marussia and HRT are still to launch their 2012 cars but they probably will have a stepped nose as well and besides they are going to be fighting at the wrong end of the field.

    I like variety in car design in F1 but the problem is if a concept proves to be fast all the other teams usually adapt it as soon as possible.

    Hopefully it will end up that there is not much performance difference between the two types of nose and in the future fewer teams will have stepped noses. Otherwise barring another regulation change we may end all F1 cars looking like this.

    I normally would like as many teams and drivers as possible to be evenly matched at the top and fighting it out for race wins and ultimately championships, however part of me would like McLaren to have a much faster car as it would increase the chance of other teams getting rid of steeped noses next year.

  12. Is it me or is the rear suspension set up really different to the other cars. The wishbones seem to connect halfway up the side of the car!

    • TheBrav3 said on 17th February 2012, 14:01

      Looks the same as what everyone else has got for rear suspension though on first looks i thought the same not sure why lol.

      • The angle at which the top linkage goes to the rear wheel looks odd to me…
        But then again because its not black maybe thats why it looks wierd?! any thoughts… or am i talking out of my a***?

        • TheBrav3 said on 17th February 2012, 14:29

          well i had a look at a couple of different 2012 cars and from what we can see of the merc i reckon they are angled in the same manner. Take a look at this the top picture is the new mp4-27

          http://www.ausmotive.com/F1/2012/McLaren-MP4-27-v-MP4-26-01.jpg

          It looks like a similar setup to me. It could be the colour or maybe because of the actual angle that the merc has been foto’d making the suspensions angle look more exadjurated.

      • TheBrav3 said on 17th February 2012, 14:55

        err what happened to our comments? This is the second time in 3 days i have seen whole chunks of conversations go missing with out any modable reason.

  13. The Limit said on 17th February 2012, 13:54

    I don’t know what to make of the ‘stepped nose’ design as others have put it. I am wondering in McLaren’s case why they havn’t copied the rest of the teams with putting one on their new car, seems abit of a gamble. If their car turns out to be a rocketship on wheels then it will be looked at as a stroke of genius. If not, ouch!

  14. David B (@davidb1970) said on 17th February 2012, 14:13

    Great in car footage. It may just be the camera angle but that step must make the drivers lose a bit of perspective as to the distance to the actual front of the car. I can see the teams going through plenty of front wings this season!

  15. kbdavies said on 17th February 2012, 15:06

    I certainly think McLaren have missed the boat on this one, rather than the conventional “stoke of genius” or “evolution of design” explanation doing the rounds everywhere.

    I do not believe that 11 other teams have missed on a design that is so obvious.
    If you are doing something different from everybody else, which goes against the conventional wisdom, then you are probably wrong – Law of Parsimony paraphrased.
    McLaren have be trying to explain their design route – evidence to me that their nose is more of a gamble, which they are nervous about.

    They cant hardly say we took a risk and got it wrong, can they? I expect the Mercedes and Ferrari to be more competitive than McLaren this season.

    • Mclaren ran a much lower bulkhead/nose to anyone in 2010 and 2011, it didnt do them any harm then. They were beaten only by Redbull, whose car was superior in other areas.

      It’s just a different way of getting around the same problem. It’s not a game changer.

      And actually, as has been pointed out by one of the Mclaren designers, it’s every other team thats having to adapt their cars to the new nose regs, not Mclaren. So if anything, its in their favour.

  16. How can Mercedes be testing at all?

    • Harry Palmer said on 17th February 2012, 16:14

      It’s not testing as such… every team is allowed 100km of running for ‘filming’ purposes. They can only use demo tyres so it won’t give them particularly accurate and they often use it to ‘shakedown’ their car before starting the main testing programme

  17. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 17th February 2012, 15:30

    I don’t understand why a lot of people assume that Mercedes have the biggest, or worst stepped nose, just because they’ve seen a side picture of it.

    From my view, I can see that it is clearly stepped, but it’s not a complete side view, it’s slightly diagonal, and the light on it is making it look worse than it is. Without closer inspection, it’s impossible to tell whether it’s a step similar to the of Ferrari and Sauber, or whether it’s more curved like those of the Red Bull, Force India and Toro Rosso.

    Obviously there’s no telling who is right at this stage, but I have a feeling it’ll be a more curvy design than that of the Ferrari, Sauber and Caterham cars we’ve seen.

  18. I’m gonna bet my money on McLaren this year. They have the most elegant design. ;)

  19. George (@george) said on 17th February 2012, 17:56

    Oooh steering wheel cam! Me likey!

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