A front wing failure on his brand-new Mercedes W05 has caused former World Champion Lewis Hamilton to crash in Formula One preseason testing at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain for the second year in a row.
Hamilton had completed 18 laps in the new car today when he suffered the failure and went hard into the tire barriers at Turn 1. However, the British driver managed to come out unscathed from the accident.
Last year at Jerez, Hamilton had run 15 circuits before suffering a brake failure on Merc’s W04 and crashing into the tires at Turn 6.
Today’s shunt was a rough debut for the team’s 2014 challenger, which indeed features a sloping front nose akin to that of Ferrari’s F14 T and has been pegged for big things by some observers as Formula One debuts new turbo V-6 engines and other technical rules.
The W05 had already hit the track prior to Jerez in a shakedown run at Silverstone with Nico Rosberg at the controls. The German driver is expected to test the car tomorrow.
Before getting started today in Jerez, optimism was naturally high among the Silver Arrows camp.
“We have a busy winter testing period ahead of us and a long season where both performance and reliability will be critically important,” said commercial chief Toto Wolff in a team statement.
“Lewis and Nico begin the season hungry for success and I am confident that our team will benefit thanks to the continuity of their work during the winter period. We have positive momentum after our second-place finish last season. Our clear target is to continue building up our team and we aim to deliver on every single race weekend in 2014.”
As for the man Wolff shares team leadership duties with, technical chief Paddy Lowe, he made sure to stress that a lot of work was still ahead for the team to get the W05 ready to contend at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March.
“The new car is an elegant but aggressive design and, as is often the way, its beauty is much more than skin deep; the internal engineering of the car is extremely innovative and intelligent,” Lowe said.
“Our team can be justifiably proud of its work so far – but none of us are under any illusions about the amount we still have to do before the first race in six weeks’ time.”
Hamilton and Rosberg were also itching to put the car through its paces.
“It looks just fantastic, so aggressive but full of really nice details as well,” Hamilton said. “I am excited to find out how the new Power Unit feels to drive, to hear how it sounds from the cockpit and to compare the job we have done relative to the competition.”
Rosberg chimed in: “I am massively excited ahead of getting in the car properly, after our short shakedown at Silverstone last Friday. It’s been a really intense period and I am just so looking forward to driving the car.”