• 19
Mercedes GP W02 – Click above for high-res image gallery

What the heck happened to Mercedes GP last season? The team showed at least as much promise as the three (Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull) that out-paced it at every turn – with Michael Schumacher coming out of retirement to drive for the defending championship team now backed by full factory support – but barely proved capable of keeping pace.

This could be our answer right here. When Brawn and company realized their transitioning team wasn't capable of mounting a serious challenge for the title, it shifted focus mid-season from the W01 they were using to the new W02 for this season. It was the same sort of strategy Brawn undertook when the team was still under the Honda name, and it netted both titles the following year.

Can the new W02 follow the same path? Is it better suited (along with the new Pirelli spec tires) towards Schumacher's driving style? Or will wingman Nico Rosberg prove capable of getting the better of him once again? Only one way to find out, and we'll all be watching. In the meantime, follow the jump for the full press release and the images in the gallery below.

[Source: Mercedes GP]
Show full PR text


The debut of the MGP W02, the new Silver Arrow for the 2011 Formula One World Championship, took place this morning at the Valencia Circuit in Spain with the new challenger unveiled in front of the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team garage by Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.

The result of twelve months intense design and development work, the MGP W02 is the second Silver Arrows car to be launched by MERCEDES GP PETRONAS since the team became the first Mercedes-Benz works outfit since 1955.

The car's livery is an evolution from its predecessor with a striking high-gloss airbrush effect highlighting the shape of the car. The interaction between the Silver Arrows heritage and the green shading representing the team's title partner PETRONAS evokes memories of the first Silver Arrow car of 1934 with a modern touch added by 3D partner logos.

The technical specification of the MGP W02 includes the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery) system which returns to the sport after a one-year absence. The Mercedes KERS system was the first to win a Grand Prix during the 2009 season when KERS made its debut in Formula One. Also new on the car for this season is the adjustable rear wing, operated by the driver to aid overtaking, and Pirelli tyres as the Italian manufacturer becomes the sport's official tyre supplier.

The team's driver line-up remains unchanged with seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, who achieved the team's three podiums in 2010, forming one of the most exciting and talented pairings on the grid.

Michael Schumacher
"Finally the waiting is over and things get started. For us drivers, the break every year is hard to take because the gap between the last race and the first time out on track seems to be never-ending. Even if I have been involved and updated all winter on the developments, and even if I know the improvements are significant, it is still different to see the new car literally for the first time in front of you. You automatically build up this nice pre-start tension. I very much look forward to the new season. We have said it several times already but again, we are really to building up something big together. I am very confident that this season we will be standing on the podium much more regularly; ideally in the middle!"

Nico Rosberg
"It is always a very exciting time of year to drive the new car for the first time and feel how it performs out on track. This year we have the added challenge of not having an immediate reference due to the change in tyre manufacturer to the new Pirelli tyres, which felt good during our first try-out at the Abu Dhabi test last year. I am very much looking forward to having a much stronger season than last year and as always, our targets are aggressive. We want to be competing at the front and challenging for race wins. Everyone at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth has worked extremely hard on the new Silver Arrow and we are all looking forward to seeing how it performs."

Ross Brawn, Team Principal
"It is always a thrill to see a new car ready to take the track for the first time and this year is no exception. After our first year as the Mercedes-Benz works team, we are now seeing the benefits of our chassis group and our engine group working well together. With a good technical structure and a strengthened race engineering organisation, both at the factory and the race track, I am confident that we have done and will continue to do a better job this year in all key areas.

"The concept development for the MGP W02 started early and we have set challenging targets for the design, combined with a robust plan to ensure that the pace of development can continue throughout the long 2011 season. We have two excellent drivers in Michael and Nico, both of whom capable of winning races in a good car, and we look forward to seeing them push each other and the development of the new Silver Arrow during the season. We want to be setting the standard right from the start but if we are not, we will respond very strongly to get ourselves into the game. Everyone is excitedly waiting to see what the new season will reveal."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President - Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The new Silver Arrow for the 2011 season has little in common with its immediate predecessor. Our chassis engineers have taken a fairly ruthless approach and were determined to shave off every superfluous gram and millimetre. What emerged from this process is a compact and exquisitely shaped vehicle that introduces a host of sophisticated solutions and truly reflects the enormous dedication of its constructors. We have given it a brand new coat of paint, and we aim to see a smile on the faces of our hard-working drivers and team members that is as bright as our new silver livery.

"Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher are top drivers who can win races for us, provided we build them the right car. At the same time, our team, like all the other teams, has to deal with complex new tasks. The new generation of tyres from Pirelli, and the extent to which the cars and drivers adapt to them, will play a vital role in deciding wins and defeats.

"The rear wing flap, which can be adjusted under specified conditions, will boost top speed and facilitate overtaking which should open up a new and interesting chapter for Formula One. And there is the return of KERS following a one-year absence at the end of the 2009 season when our Mercedes system recorded a historic first race win. This will play a massive role amongst all of the performance-related components, both for the additional power and for the strategic options it makes available. As in 2009, it is our ambition that Mercedes-Benz builds and runs the best hybrid system and that all three teams which use it benefit significantly from this.

"After I have spoken at length here on the many new issues, our target can be described in one short sentence: The new Silver Arrow should not only look first class, but should also be developed to be at the top step-by-step."

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Can the new W02 follow the same path?"

      Sure they can, if Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren completely fall on their a**es. But then what's the chance of that?

      I'd be looking very closely at Alonso and Ferrari for this year. Mercedes........not so much.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I used to love F1, but its become an Italian soap lately.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Nuron; No, I now watch real racing, between DTM, American Le Mans, WTCC, and V8 supercars, not to mention WRC and Rolex Series, F1 is a joke..

        Plus, those go carts they drive are stuff I will almost never even drive or see. Why would I bother?

        I can get a used 911, or Corvette, or pick up a Mustang anyday, that is relavant to me.

        The F1 and Nascar are the same, a soaps set on a race circuit.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You can't go out and buy the LMP cars, nor can you buy anything remotely close to the cars in DTM. I highly doubt you can get a Daytona Prototype, also.

        Double standard much?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Mbuku Kanyau Mbithuka: I'm pretty sure a V8 Supercar is only 3 body panels and a badge away from being completely unrelated to the road going Commodores and Falcons too. You don't know much about cars do you? Also, it's not just the racing between drivers that people watch F1 for, it's the racing between teams of engineers to design and produce the most inspired race car. F1 is the pinnacle of automotive engineering. Surely you, as an Autoblog reader can appreciate this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        yeah.. a fantastic season by modern F1 standards. But put a season like this in the middle of 70s-80s and you'll get people falling asleep in front of their tellys.
        Even the "failed" GT1 series offers much better racing than this popularity contest disguised as racing. Heck i even manage to watch 24hr of lemans for 20hrs straight but F1? changed the channel after 8 laps.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Are you KIDDING? Did you watch ANY race in 2010?? (save Bahrain) It was a fantastic season.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is it me, or are this year's cars sexy as all hell? They've got design character, and I think it's great to see form and function balance so well.
        • 4 Years Ago
        if you can't get over the fronts of the cars, look at the back. that's where the magic is happening this year. i've always been an ass man myself.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Cars are nasty looking. Drivers looking at the nose higher than eye level, goofy Pirelli graphic on tires, squashed nose like a tube of toothpaste, terrible.

        Not for my tastes.
      • 4 Years Ago
      MGP might be able to put up a fight this year. i dont think anyone could forget what Brawn GP did not that long ago. this year like the last few will be fairly good.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would love to see Brawn bring it back this year, Nico or Michael driving. Imagine how furious all the heavy hitters would be, particularly the Ferrari boys after last season. I'm really excited for the season to get started!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Even his Schumacherness in good form would have a hell of a challenge looking at the grid this year.

      If he does well though it just makes it even more interesting. If the cars are more equal this year its going to be interesting.
        • 4 Years Ago
        i was there, force india was all day on the track, more than others and if i remember correctly they said the 3rd best time on feb 1th.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks fantastic!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Schumachers the man but he is getting older and has injuries. My money is still not on MB.
        • 4 Years Ago
        he set 3rd time yesterday in Cheste, valencia.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Please let this car be the winningest
      • 4 Years Ago
      Would love to see Nico win it this year. Brawn is great. Schuie is a bore, and a jerk when pressed. Will also hope that it rains a lot again this year as that always makes the racing better.
    • Load More Comments