Photo: Mercedes AMG F1 Team

Mercedes 2017 F1 Challenger Launched at Silverstone

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Mercedes have revealed their 2017 car – the W08 – at Silverstone on Thursday.

Lewis Hamilton completed a handful of laps for filming day on a damp day on a set of wet Pirelli tires at the circuit that hosts the British Grand Prix. After a series of short stints he returned on slick rubber, ramping up the pace before pitting the car for the official launch.

Valtteri Bottas also enjoyed a brief run in the afternoon, his first run with the team since moving over from Williams.

Aside from new looks on the front and rear wings, the team tested a T-wing just in front of the rear wing in place of the shark fin. The team did test the shark fin later in the afternoon.

Toto Wolff, team principal at Mercedes, believes the cars will be more physical to handle and hopes it makes the racing better for the fans.

“The new rules for 2017 were designed to make the fastest F1 cars ever through a big increase in aerodynamic performance,” Wolff said in a team release.

“They should be more physical to drive and hopefully more spectacular for the fans to watch. The proof will come in the opening races but we have probably achieved that target.

“Of course, in terms of relative performance, it’s clear that any rule change brings with it a big reset but also a big opportunity. This is the time to stay humble and keep our feet on the ground. None of the teams has raced under these rules and we all have the same points right now: zero.

Wolff added that there is a “dominant feeling” within the team, but it comes from the challenge put forth for the team.

“But the dominant feeling in the team right now is one of excitement – the factory is buzzing with anticipation,” he continued. “It has been a really motivating challenge to develop a brand new car concept and I have never seen our determination to succeed higher than it is right now.

“Of course, we had a curve ball from Nico (Rosberg retiring) late last year that left us scrambling a little bit in the winter. But we found a great solution with Valtteri and I am sure that he will form a strong partnership with Lewis. They have both been working hard in the factory with the technical teams and, although we have a different dynamic to manage than in recent seasons, I don’t expect the competition between them to be less intense. And that’s how we like it.

One of the most critical moments for the teams will be the development of 2017 cars during the season, according to Wolff.

“This year, in-season development will play a big role in determining the championship outcome,” he said.

“None of us know where we will stand at the first race but I am confident that, whatever that position is, we have the people and the capability to deal with every challenge that comes our way. This will be the season where our full works team can show its true strength.”

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, IndyCar.com and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.

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