When the 2017 Formula One World Championship gets underway a month from now, all eyes will be on this car you see here. It’s the new Mercedes-AMG W08, unveiled today during a filming day at Silverstone. And it’ll be the car to beat in the season ahead.
Having positively dominated the past three seasons running, Mercedes is back on the grid, but not without its share of uncertainty. Its defending-champion driver Nico Rosberg is gone, replaced by Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas. Its chief engineer has gone the other way to Williams, replaced by former Ferrari man James Allison. And there’s a whole new rule book to contend with.
Still, it’ll be Mercedes-AMG’s title to either defend or surrender, and this is the car with which it hopes to do the latter.
Like those of its rivals, the new Merc is wider, with bigger tires, and an entirely new aerodynamic package. AMG has gone with less of a pronounced tail-fin (tellingly like Williams has) instead of the Le Mans-style stabilizers seen on the new Sauber, Renault, and Force India entries.
The W08 also bears the EQ Power+ name that will adorn all future AMG hybrids to come, with electric blue accents joining sponsor Petronas’ teal on the silver and black livery.
That’s all well and fine, but the real question is how it will perform. And that’s what we’ll be waiting to see when Bottas and his three-time world-champion teammate Lewis Hamilton take the wheel in Barcelona next week – and more to the point, once the championship gets underway in Melbourne on March 26.