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Mercedes W04 launch: First pictures and video

2013 F1 carsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The Mercedes W04, one of the most eagerly-anticipated new cars of 2013, has broken cover for the first time.

The team has lured Lewis Hamilton away from his McLaren home to drive for them this year. He will drive car number ten while team mate Nico Rosberg races number nine.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said the new season “marks the start of a second era for our Silver Arrows works team”.

“The restructuring we undertook at the team over the past 18 months are now growing in maturity and this is reflected in the F1 W04, which is a clear step forward in design and detail sophistication over its predecessor.

“Many thousands of hours of work have been invested by our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth to ensure that the new car delivers a step change in performance compared to last season.

“We are also hugely proud to welcome Lewis to the team as a works Mercedes-Benz driver. With Lewis and Nico, we have what I believe to be the strongest driver line-up in Formula One and I know that a healthy level of competition between them both will help drive the team forward.”

Nico Rosberg drives the Mercedes W04

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Image ?? F1 Fanatic, Mercedes

111 comments on “Mercedes W04 launch: First pictures and video”

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  1. Interesting how Nico has taken the odd-number car. Hamilton outscored him in 2012 and he replaced Schumacher, who always wanted the odd-numbered car, regardless of scoring.

    1. @optimaximal – Teams are entitled to assign numbers as they see fit. Most teams prefer to award the lower number (in this case, #9) to the driver who placed higher in the previous year’s World Drivers’ Championship. Although Hamilton out-scored Rosberg in 2012, he is also new to the team, and many teams tend to assign higher numbers (in this case, #10) to incoming drivers.

      There are rare occasions to the contrary, of course. Mercedes used to give Schumacher the odd number because he is deeply-superstitious. And in 2010, Felipe Massa carried the lower number (#7) because the team wanted to rally around his recovery.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I completely understand it’s optional. Was just pointing out that there are two precedents for Hamilton being ‘due’ the 9, just as Rosberg is also due it given the criteria you mentioned.

        1. Was just pointing out that there are two precedents for Hamilton being ‘due’ the 9, just as Rosberg is also due it given the criteria you mentioned.

          Why is it so important that Hamilton drives with the number 9 this year?

          1. He never said it was important. It was an observation.

          2. /kneejerk

      2. Drop Valencia!
        4th February 2013, 11:08

        Massa was also teamed with a driver new to Ferrari in 2010.

        Vettel got “evens” in 2009 after beating Webber in 2008, coz he was the new guy (and had an extra 25hp in 2008).

      3. And in 2010, Felipe Massa carried the lower number (#7) because the team wanted to rally around his recovery.

        Yeah, and then Hockenheim happened.

      4. @prisoner-monkeys Massa’s case isn’t an exception: he was at Ferrari from 2006 and in 2010 Alonso was the new guy, hence the higher number.

        1. @fixy is right. That seems to be the way Ferrari go about assigning numbers as the same thing happened when Raikkonen joined in 2007 from Mclaren as it did with Alonso in 2010. Massa got given 5 and Raikkonen 6, even though Raikkonen had a massive contract and was probably signed with the intention of being the lead driver, as Alonso was when he signed and as Hamilton is now for Mercedes.

    2. @optimaximal, maybe Hamilton doesn’t care about the number when it isn’t a 1, and now it’s Rosbergs turn. Or he does care but ten has a 1 in :-p

      1. I’d say he cares less about his number than some of his fans who were outraged when the first entry list was released, showing him with the number 10. For some reason, people seemed to think that Mercedes owed Hamilton the “better” number.

        1. I’ll never understand that. Driver/Car numbers seem almost meaningless in F1. Does anyone know why drivers aren’t given numbers based on their finishing position in the previous season?

          1. @althasi – Teams are free to assign their numbers as they see fit. Hamilton might have finished ahead of Rosberg last year, but that never guaranteed him the number 9 in 2013.

          2. Sorry, that should be @althasil.

          3. @prisoner-monkeys I think you may have misunderstood me. It the whole Red Bull have #1 & #2 to assign yet #1 was Vettel and #2 was Alonso. The numbering system (as it is currently) seems pretty redundant to me.

          4. @althasil – Numbers are based on the finishing position in the World Constructors’ Championship. The #1 is assigned to the champion, and the #2 to his team-mate, with every other number based on the teams’ final positions. So while Alonso might have been second in the drivers’ title, he carries the #3 because Ferrari were second in the WCC.

          5. Drop Valencia!
            5th February 2013, 6:27

            No PM the #1 goes to the WDC, regardless the WCC. #3 goes to the WCC first, or second place if first already got #1.

        2. Well Pele said the number 10 was a gift from god…so he may well have been given the “better” number.

    3. Rosberg was down to be the in car number 3 when Schumacher made his comeback. Schumacher asked to be in car number 3 because of his superstition that he has always had an odd numbered car. Many suspected it was gamesmanship, but Rosberg didn’t seem too fussed. Maybe he knew that Schumacher made his debut in car number 32 :p. (http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80987)

    4. Anyway, Hamilton will be able to tweet from his new Blackberry button on the steering.

  2. It will be the most interesting thing to watch this team this year: will Rosberg be a match to Hamilton and will Mercedes claim at least one victory.

  3. I say: Platypus

    1. From above, I agree.
      It certainly looks a bit funny.

    2. Same thought here… Duck-billed Mercedespus.

    3. that was the first thing i noticed as well ;-)

  4. @keithcollantine – There is also this image, which shows the car in profile.

    1. @prisoner-monkeys, wow that somehow looks akward

      1. The nose actually reminds me a lot of the HRT F112, though it’s a much more refined version of it. I think it’s a reasonably clever interpretation of the stepped nose rule – rather than put a step in the nose and then cover it up with a modesty plate, they’ve built a continuous nose and monocoque, and then extended two ridges out either side of it to allow for a higher suspension mounting. So it’s kind of a cross between a stepped nose and the V-channels that the teams used to use.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys having looked at other images of the car, I do agree with you on the nose, and car. Nose treatment is a bit similar to what Newey did with the rb9, possibly. But that picture still makes the car look odd to me. Could be due to the car starting to move as the pic was taken though.

  5. I am certainly no expert but it does not as tidy at the rear as other cars. Also that nose just looks odd.

    1. @leoman

      That’s my exact feelings. I’m no expert at all but from the other launches the merc just looks very “full” at the back. The mclaren and redbull show so much rear floor, whereas the merc seems to have a lot of bodywork there.. The nose also looks “wrong” but could work with their package.. Im a huge Hamiltion fan and overall im not jumping for joy, in fact im pretty gutted because there’s much talk of Mclaren running away with this year’s Championships.

      Its yet to be seen how the year will unfold but Im already worried for merc, they ended the last year so badly and this looks more of an “evolution” than a new concept… I so hope I’m wrong !

      1. I 100% expect them to spend the year trying to score points. There seems to be a resignation amongst the team that this year is building slowly towards 2014. They’ve got the right driver on board now, and they are going to use this year to get him used to the team ready for an all out assault next year.

        They’ve got Hamilton in the car so there’s always the chance of the odd storming drive but they won’t be competing for the title this year.

        There’s just as much chance of them getting 2014 horribly wrong as there is them getting it right but I’ve no doubt that most of their effort is going into next year.

    1. “Unique” certainly is the word I’d use to describe it.

      People claim that the sport needs to do more to embrace social media, but it’s episodes like this one that prove just how hilariously inept the people involved can be with it.

      1. Nice idea, but poorly executed. They are definitely not the first Formula 1 team to grossly underestimate the volume of fans wanting to see new cars, and have their server overload as a result!

        1. There’s a reason McLaren chose YouTube’s Live streaming service. The Ferrari stream was abysmally low quality and Force India’s website similarly fell over.

          Mercedes weren’t the only ones with issues – scaling sites are both hard to get right and expensive when you’re expecting mega traffic for all of 2-3 days in a year.

        2. It looks like they underestimated the number of visitors on their website and at the same time overestimated the number of their active twitter followers. To me it seemed like more people were tweeting #UnboltTheBull, than #F1W04Reveal.

          I think they were hoping for the garage doors to fully open in a matter of hours, but instead it was one of the most boring online events I ever saw.

    2. They have Michael Schumacher as the background image for their website. :-)

  6. It does not seem… balenced right, that rear end in particular looks shody. But I suppose it has some knd of aerodynamic purpose that won’t work right, because its a Mercedes XD

    1. The rear end looks so untidy and very wide. What could be going on there?

  7. The rear wing looks like its on the wrong way round.

  8. There’s alsook a video (found via @TommyB89)

  9. If people care, who is first or second driver…they should worry what color the t-bar is.

    1. @magillagorilla – The colours of the T-bars are assigned based on the numbers as well. Rosberg will have the red T-bar, and Hamilton the yellow.

      1. oh well then it still shouldn’t matter to people. I kinda figured tbar was by number too, but thought I’d take a shot in the dark. Anyways plenty of people have been second driver and then first the next season, let’s just worry about race results folks.

  10. Looks a bit funny in profile, but this is the first Mercedes which I’ve generally quite liked the look of.

  11. Hamilton has already improved the performance of the Mercedes team by managing to tweet a picture of a car on the internet. That’s this years’ salary accounted for, anyway.

    No doubt a team of 20 silicon valley ex-cto guys is being assembled in a new office next to lauda’s as we speak to work out how he did it.

  12. Somehow that car looks very short, lets hope they find a good way to operate it and win a couple of races this year. I am also curious how much trouble we will have discerning between the 2 drivers when both have a largely yellow helmet!

    1. @bascb What do you mean exactly when you say

      Somehow that car looks very short

      ?

  13. Mercedes appear to have gone for skinny sidepods, too. Perhaps its not as dramatic as the Sauber C32, but they definately look to be a little slimmer than they were on last year’s car.

    1. the link in that comment does not work (or is empty?) @prisoner-monkeys

      1. The picture has been posted now.

  14. That has got to be the most ridiculous front wing I’ve seen in my following of f1 so far.

    The entire nose cone structure is so short, blunt and stout. The angle of the wing holding structure is extremely radical too. I don’t think there’s a car like that at all at the moment.

    Why could they have done this ?

      1. Haha your picture is from an airshow where I born and lived, nice.
        But I agree, it reminds me of a harrier.

        1. I don’t see the similarity.

    1. The front wing is last years as are the pylons. Expect the wing at least to change by melbourne. Most teams launch with their old wing to hide certain details of the flow regime from prying rival eyes for as long as possible.

      The rear is interesting as the upper rear of the engine cover aft of the exhausts doesn’t meet the floor. Instead, it continues the “pseudo tunnel” that starts beneath the exhaust pods right to the back of the diffusor where it appears to feed some unusual u shaped vents. It really is odd and possibly an adaptation of the RB Tunnel concept amalgamated with Ross’s determination to find a new way to do the Double Diffuser within the regulations. Would love a better look at this!

      1. I also forgot to mention the way the wing pillars swoop down at that angle remind me of elongated jaws, particularily David coulthard’s.

  15. Does anyone else find it amusing, or perhaps disconcerting that one of the sponsors is Blackberry ie a company once at the top of it’s game but on a somewhat of a decline since… Much akin to Brawn :p

    1. Actually, if you understand business you will know that company fortunes go up and down. Blackberry believe Hamilton will emerge as the man to beat and that he will outpace McLaren. It’s a gamble but it may pay off. Imagine what this will do if Lewis wins the WC!

      1. And Blackberry has just released their new phone, the Z10, and it has a new operating system and in early days is being touted as a good, competitive phone. They’re still in business, don’t owe anybody any money, and still have a strong loyal following, especially in the business world, and consider themselves to be off to a new start with their new release.

  16. It looks like they didn’t touch the side pods, something that was a big deal at Red Bull and Sauber. I just hope that they are not sacrificing 2013 for 2014 straightway.

  17. I like the look of many 2013 cars, but this is an exception. The nose is still ugly, and the rear looks much fatter than those of other cars. Somehow I already feel less optimistic about the prospects of this year’s Mercedes being a fast car.

    1. The rear looks quite fat in some pictures but when you see this one http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/02/04/mercedes-w04-launch-pictures/merc-w04-2013-6/ it looks much skinnier…there’s a massive undercut at the rear of those sidepods.

      1. Quite right. The exhaust bulge makes them look a little bulky, but they are heavily undercut.

      2. Oh, jeah, that’s an interest in undercut, al most going from front sidepod back to below beamwing. Not immediately visible, but does seem they tugged in the cars’ behind (though in a muffin top way ;-)

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