The Mercedes team bosses have made an early statement of intent for the 2015 Formula 1 season, promising that they will leave no stone unturned in their bid for a second world championship following the team’s domination of the sport in 2014.
The team lifted the covers off its new car, the W06 Hybrid, in Jerez today ahead of the first pre-season test with Nico Rosberg getting the first chance to try out the car in public.
Lewis Hamilton claimed his second drivers’ title last year, defeating teammate Nico Rosberg at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi to enjoy a 67-point advantage in the final standings.
Mercedes’ performance will go down as one of the most dominant in F1 history. Together, Hamilton and Rosberg claimed a record 16 wins and 18 pole positions in a single season, with the W05 Hybrid car being the class of the field.
The team is refusing to rest on its laurels, though, with technical team boss Paddy Lowe focusing on improving the reliability of the new car after issues in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Singapore and Abu Dhabi left the drivers frustrated.
“It’s no secret that reliability let us down on a number of occasions in 2014,” Lowe said. “Thankfully, over the course of the season overall, this did not fall in an asymmetric way between the drivers – or in a costly manner to our constructors’ championship ambitions.
“But we know we need to up our game. No matter how good things might seem, there is never a scenario where you can afford to leave points on the table. Making a car reliable is a long game and a lot of effort has gone in on that side. It’s not about fixing individual issues but about raising quality across the many thousands of parts and processes involved.”
Much of Mercedes’ success in 2014 was down to its power unit, which was clearly head and shoulders above those produced by Renault and Ferrari. However, engine chief Andy Cowell has promised that the team at Brixworth will push to extend the advantage over the rest of the field.
“It’s very much a case of evolution rather than revolution in 2015,” Cowell said. “Where last year was a case of ‘can we do it?’, we are now faced with a different challenge: ‘How do we improve it?’.
“We have been working hard on all areas of the power unit to increase the conversion efficiency of every single system – trying to make our package more thermally efficient and produce greater absolute power. The focus in this respect has been on combustion efficiency and frictional losses – be they in core parts of the ICE or the ancillary aspects of both ICE and ERS.
“There is very significant scope for change under the regulations and significant opportunities to make performance gains, so we have left no stone unturned in our quest for performance – and I am sure that exactly the same is true of our competitors.”
If the team can deliver on its promise and widen the gap to the rest of the field, we could be set for another record-breaking season from the Silver Arrows, and potentially another titanic battle between Hamilton and Rosberg for the drivers’ championship.