During a typical social media fanfare, the Mercedes F1 team announced their brand new F1 car that we will be seeing much more of over the 2018 season: the W09 EQ Power+. A few teasers and videos later, a full reveal took place live from Silverstone featuring the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and of course, Toto Wolff.
An assault on the senses! Lights up! A deafening roar that shakes the room!
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) February 22, 2018
It was actually Bottas who got the chance to drive the new car first, although we expect all eyes will be on Hamilton as he aims to clinch a 5th world title from the clutches of his teammate, as well as arch rival Sebastian Vettel.
So what did we learn about the new car?
In the words of a cheesed off Wolff, “If you gave me a chainsaw I would cut it off!”
This pretty much sums up the safety device that the F1 governing body has deemed mandatory for the upcoming season, although with Formula 1 priding itself very much on aesthetics, it will be interesting to see if it’s here to stay. Hamilton further quipped that it meant there would be “more space for advertising” on the car, so at least there’s one silver lining for Mercedes.
During the presentation, Hamilton explained some of the technical changes, but was quick to point out that the wheelbase was the same as last year’s model. Mercedes are clear that it was the wheelbase that was a major factor in the success of the 2017/2018 season, so they were keen to retain this race-winning element of the car.
One of the major changes implemented by the F1 governing body, alongside the new Halo, is the banning of T-wings and shark fin engine covers. The former change has meant teams will now have much less prominent rear wings, which can now be seen on the new W09. How this will translate during races in terms of acceptable downforce remains to be seen.
The major change for 2018 was indicated by Wolff as the aerodynamics, given that the new design shows off a tightly packaged bodywork overall. In contrast though, due to the implementation of the Halo, the car chassis has had to be strengthened to cope with how heavy the mandatory safety addition is. This mixture will be interesting to see under race conditions so we’ll wait with baited breath until the Australian Grand Prix on 25th March.