The Mercedes AMG Petronas W05 Is Here And It Looks The Business…
If my report on the scarlet car from the northern part of Italy was a little tongue-in-cheek, this one covering the silver, green and black car will be more straightforward. Maybe it is the color combination of the Mercedes that evokes a feeling of measured calm. Colors not associated with passion, but instead with precision, accuracy, and machine works (at least the silver and black are anyway). Maybe it is just that this color combination reminds me of the origin of the owners of this new race car, Germany, and although I would never say the Germans are any less passionate than the Italians, historically they do seem to be a bit more reserved and stoic.
Since it is the front part of the car that has caused so much consternation, I will begin here. Simply put this is the best looking front nose cone and wing assembly that any team has put forth, although we have not seen the Marussia yet. Should we hold out hope? No, I don’t think so either. (OK, some tongue-in-cheek just slipped in, but I promise to keep it to a minimum). For the record, Mercedes’ interpretation improves on the Ferrari solution at least visually. Gone is the hump and there is no anteater trunk aspect to this design. This to me is the way a race car should look. Period. Well-done Brackley.
Who on earth came up with this season-starting front wing? Can you only imagine what this is going to morph into as the year progresses? Eleven different elements not including the endplate, which has another five. By comparison the count on the Ferrari I just reviewed has only five on the main plain but does equal the Merc on the end plate with five. But the way I am not even sure I am counting properly since I am going strictly by photos. The point is, so far Mercedes Benz and Red Bull (their wing has thirteen different things going this way and that) win the award for front wing craziness.
I don’t know if it is just me or the angle of the photos that I have access to, but the side pods on the Mercedes look rather large. I was under the impression that this part to the chassis would shrink in its overall size. This just does not seem to be the case, but I could be mistaken. Moving right along. The bargeboards have a slight re-profile but the flow modifiers or side pod vanes have remained the same shape although look to be a bit wider. Lastly there is a very small flip-up attached at the beginning of the floor and again this would seem to occur on either side of the chassis.
The air box that is basically an opening channeling air to the engine bay looks to be the same however the fin directly behind the air box is much more pronounced than last year. I could be incorrect about this but I think this particular fin is only there to satisfy the regulation for the minimum overall height of this part of the car. That’s why the designers cheat this part with the fin as opposed to ending it where the top part of the air box is. I wish it were not the case; the result would be a much cleaner line and a more elegant shape.
Similarly to the other team announcements, these photos that have been released contain as little information as possible (thank you very much Mercedes guy with the camera). Add to that the strategically un-painted black carbon fiber that does not allow for much discovery in the rear of the side pod areas from the side view, or for that matter while looking straight at the rear end, and I’m still a little in the dark on significant changes to the back half of the car. I can discern a large cut out on the floor presumably one on each side. Also whereas on the Ferrari the geometry of the A-arms has been moved back from last year’s car, on the Mercedes (and I think I noticed it on Red Bull’s car as well) the A-arms on the W05 connect much further up on the chassis.
The view looking straight at the back reveals the single exhaust pipe angled slightly up, and a real diffuser (no impostor here due to the fact laps had to be turned, ha ha) with what looks like eleven little fins to remove the air as quickly as possible. Different, at the very least from Ferrari, is the addition of two very thin upright pillars to support the center part of the rear wing. They begin on either side of the exhaust pipe and finish off in what appears to be the front of the main plain of the wing.
I expect there to be many changes to the rear end as we get underway, quite a bit more than other years, and I would not be at all surprised if by the summer break we have radically different solutions from each of the teams. So we will all have to wait and see who is on the right path and who is not. To see who will have a head start in terms of generating the all-important downforce that were a casualty to the new regulation and the much talked about packaging in regards to heat retention and heat dispersion.
I’ve liked the look of the Silver Arrow from the day Mercedes became a Formula 1 works team. I like the new placement of black behind the driver’s head on the engine cover that makes the three pointed star, the company’s logo, stand out nice and clear. The Petronas signage has a new font and the “reimagining energy” below the title sponsor’s name has been removed. The subtle and vignetted Petronas green is now a bold swath on the side pod. This makes for a more dramatic affect and also makes everything stand out and read better. I think the AMG logo placement on the side of the air box looks cool as well. Overall the bodywork is not that populated with sponsorship, which allows you to really appreciate the lines of Mercedes’ new challenger. The message to Michael Schumacher is a nice touch; I hope it stays on the car for more than just the Jerez testing as was reported.
In a single word I think the Mercedes W05 looks great. After finally getting a look at Red Bull’s RB10 which also looks stunning by the way, and having reviewed Ferrari’s F14-T earlier we have only the Lotus left to complete the top teams’ 2014 releases and I would go so far as to say the W05 is my favorite-looking car thus far. It looks like a bare-fisted street fighter with nothing to lose. I am going to be rooting for the duo of Nico and Lewis this year. Maybe not as much as I will be for the guys in red, but I want to see the Mercedes boys challenging for pole on Saturday and really mixing it up with Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen and whomever else is at the front come Sunday.
One final note. The Mercedes car launch coincided with the start of winter testing and so far, aside from a failed front wing, the W05 has not fallen victim to any engine or energy recovery system failure as of yet and has the highest lap count of all the teams. It is a very good start for Mercedes who are looking to get past the issues they suffered last year with overheating their tires, which when you think about it is only just slightly better that overheating your motor. I could not resist that one. LOL.
-jp- (and these reviews were fun, but lets get back to pot-stirring, next up Vettel vs. Alonso the great debate. Ha ha)