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The 2019 season is very special for the entire team. It’s the year that the 1000th Formula One Grand Prix ever takes place, the tenth season in modern-day F1 for Mercedes as works team, and the 85th anniversary of the Silver Arrows. We are very well prepared for these upcoming jubilees and challenges and we are facing the races with the new Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+.
Especially today is exciting for all of us: Although there are still four weeks left until the start of the season in Melbourne, we are testing the Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+ on the Silverstone International Circuit in UK for the very first time. And while the 2019 Formula One paddock will see changes to various driver line-ups in almost every team, we rely on two well-known faces: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. After the winter break, both drivers are now eager to go back racing!
W10-changes due to new aero regulations
Compared to its predecessor, the Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+ has been changed substantially. The majority of those modifications were driven by the significant changes to the Technical Regulations for the 2019 Formula One season. They will make the start of the season even more exciting for us. This is why the start of the season is now even more exciting for us. Our Technical Director James Allison: “Regulation changes are both opportunity and threat.”
They are always exhilarating because you have that sharp sense of anxiety that you might not be doing enough but equally the thrill and excitement of looking forward to finding out
Our focus during the development of the W10 was mainly dealing with the changes to the aerodynamic regulations. However the team also worked hard to improve the weaker areas of the previous car and further build on its strengths. You can clearly see our improvements already in the comparison of the handling of the W08 and W09.
Nevertheless James and his team were not happy with some aspects of the W09 last year: “We were still not as good as some of our competitors at preserving the performance of the rear tyres. We have worked hard on the suspension and aerodynamic characteristics to deliver a car that will be much kinder to its tyres – enough, we hope, to allow us to be competitive at all phases of the race and at each track on the calendar.“
Weight reduction challenge
Success and the weight of the vehicle have a strong connection and play a major role in motor sports. In 2019 the minimum weight limit was lifted by 10kg, however weight reduction remains a real challenge on the current generation of F1 cars. Again James Allison comments on that: “Components that we felt were stripped to the bone in 2018 have been taken, one by one, and subjected to a further round of aggressive analysis to shave further weight from them. Some components surrender what feels like a giant step of half a kilo, others just a few grams, but collectively each of these victories add up to a handful of kilos that have been invested back in the car on aerodynamics, suspension and Power Unit to bring performance.”
Good news for all fans of the W09: Despite significant changes to many areas of the car, the W10 also retains some of the characteristics of its predecessors. The general architecture and the wheelbase, for example, stay the same. Mainly the execution of this concept has been further refined. Every item is pushed tighter, made more slender – each change permitting us to improve our aerodynamic performance even more in 2019.
New season, new Power Unit
While the chassis development was partly driven by regulatory changes, the Power Unit regulations remained largely stable. However we also wanted to further develop our racing car in this area and achieve two main goals: improving performance and reliability. Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains explains in detail: “We’ve made changes to the cooling architecture of the Power Unit, which hopefully provide aerodynamic benefit on the car and also provide efficiency benefit on the Power Unit – so, hopefully a win on both the chassis and on the Power Unit.
Right at the heart of the Power Unit is the conversion of fuel into heat release in the combustion chamber and useful work out of the crankshaft. We have made steps on the combustion efficiency and on the ERS system. The marriage between the turbocharger assembly with the MGU-H, the inverter, the cells and the MGU-K: that whole system is now capable of operating more efficiently and helping with energy deployment through a race.”
More race fuel
One small new regulation is left: The maximum race fuel allowance has increased by 5 kilograms to a total of 110 kilograms. However, the higher fuel allowance does not impact the thermal efficiency of Formula One Power Units, which are among the most efficient engines ever-built.
“If you have got an efficient engine with efficient aerodynamics and you are prepared to do a little bit of lift and coasting, then you have the opportunity to start the race at less than 110kg,” explains Andy.
For every 5kg of weight you save, it’s about two tenths of a second a lap quicker, so there is a natural reward to starting the race a little bit lighter
“There is still a competitive edge from making an efficient car – both Power Unit and aerodynamics – and racing smartly to make sure that you have good pace at the start of the race as well as through the race.”
Apart from the technical innovations, the 2019 challenger celebrates this important year in the company’s motorsport history with a new design. Take a look at these two main elements: The first element of the star pattern at the back of the car provides the elegance and luxury of Mercedes-Benz, combining high-grade technology and craftsmanship. The second element is a single, strong PETRONAS green flow line that brings speed and dynamism. And both elements are not only for design fans. Just like the original Silver Arrows from 1934, the livery of the W10 also brings a performance advantage as the new design sees a slight weight benefit compared to last year.
Hamilton and Bottas refreshed and ready for the new season
Check out the first pictures from Silvestone right here in this blog article and form your own opinion about our new car. But what do our drivers think about their new w10 EQ Power+ and the upcoming season? For Lewis testing a bolide for the first time always feels like a privilege: “So many people have worked together to form that car and you know how much hard work has gone into it. Driving the new car is like meeting someone new for the first time – you want to get to know them the best way as quick as possible as you embark on a journey together.”
Valtteri is pretty excited about the changes: “The car has changed quite a bit because of the aero regulations changes, so it will be interesting to get an idea of how the car feels and how it handles. You never know what to expect and so it’s exciting to jump in the car and discover it, to try to get a feel of the balance of the car and its behaviour. We do already push the car in the shakedown to get a feel for it.”
Today, more than 16 months of work on our new W10 EQ Power+ lie behind us, the amount of around 7.000 drawings were released for manufacture. Before the car left the garage for the first time today, the team had tested something close to half a million kilometres cumulatively across all these different components. As I said: It’s a huge day for everyone in our team. And now that we’ve unveiled it, I promise we just can’t wait for the new season to start!