(Image credit to: Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport)
Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton both got a small taste of the new machinery, completing 100km of the British track between them.
After a successful 2017, the new car is an evolution of its predecessor, with no major change in design philosophy.
“We like some of the character traits from our diva,” said team principal Toto Wolf. “The W08 was the fastest car on the grid, scoring the highest number of pole positions and winning the most races last year. So we were careful not to lose the car’s main strength just to overcome the difficulties.”
Like with all 2018 cars, the most notable differences are the lack of shark fin and T-wing and the addition of the halo head protection device, but the technical regulations have remained largely the same, which technical director James Allison believes allowed the team to make a more elegant car this year.
“Last year’s regulations were brand new and we weren’t quite sure which direction they would take us in,” he said. “So last year’s car had a certain amount of wiggle room to adapt if we found that we needed to move around certain aspects of the car.
This year, being a little more confident of what we’re aiming for, we’ve been able to commit more fully to certain concepts. So we have the packaging much tighter and have taken things to more of an extreme.”
Since the change in engine regulations ahead of the 2014 season, the Mercedes power unit has been dominant. Though the manufacturer has never been able to stand still when it comes to engine development, “substantial” changes in the regulations have led to significant updates this winter.
“The amount of change on the power unit for this year is quite considerable and driven by a number of requirements,” said Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.. “The biggest challenge we’ve got is lifting our durability limit with the challenge of racing just three engines per driver per championship and two ERS systems.
That’s a 40 per cent increase in the distance that the hardware needs to do for this year compared with last year. We focused on trying to increase the life of the hardware without losing performance.”
He added that the team also worked to increase combustion efficiency and reduce hardware friction.
Article Written By: Bethonie Waring
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