New Mercedes F1 car breaks cover
With only spy shots and teasers of the W07 having been available so far, the Brackley-based team finally showed off the first clear pictures of its new 2016 F1 challenger.
While attention is grabbed by a slightly reworked paint scheme, the car features more refined aerodynamics and changes to the air and engine cover area of the chassis.
It has already completed a shakedown at Silverstone in the hands of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and will be revealed properly on Monday.
Although there is not a dramatic overhaul on the car because the regulations are stable, executive director Paddy Lowe said a lot of work had gone in to making changes.
And he hints that there have been some signification tweaks made underneath the skin – most likely in the suspension area of the car.
"It's difficult to have a complete revolution when the rules have stayed pretty much the same year on year," he said.
"But we aim to make minor revolutions wherever we can - even within a small context.
"We may look at a completely new packaging solution or suspension concept, for instance.
"So, while the car may look very similar to its predecessor from the outside - as is inherent within stable regulations - underneath there are quite a lot of mini revolutions that make up an overall evolution for the new season."
Still ways to improve
Lowe added that despite the dominance of the team last year, there were still issues that needed addressing if the team was going to stay at the top.
"After a highly successful season all round in 2015, our priority has been to identify the areas in which we were weakest and to try to improve on those," he said.
"Our objective is excellence in all areas and, while we had some fantastic results last year, there are many areas in which we can still be much better.
"That's the kind of culture we try to instill throughout the whole organisation - one of constantly striving to reach something better.
"We had a number of races that didn't go to plan in 2015 - Singapore in particular - so there were a lot of things that needed improving for 2016. We are seeking optimisation absolutely everywhere."
Mercedes has also pushed hard with its power unit development as well, with engine chief Andy Cowell saying it has not been held back by the 32 development token limit.
"32 tokens is quite a lot, so we haven't had to restrict any of our development activity to a specific area," he said.
"Anything which could yield a decent efficiency improvement - and therefore a decent performance improvement - has been explored and we're now working to make sure our package is sufficiently durable in time for Melbourne."
Cowell also made clear that the increased allowance of engines this year because of 21 races – up to five from four – had not actually made life much easier.
"On the face of it, an increased allocation of Power Units would seem to give manufacturers an advantage, in that each unit is required to complete fewer races, thereby putting less pressure on the life cycle of different components," he said.
"But the reality is that our durability targets have remained the same. Our target is to make sure that each Power Unit can last for at least five races, meaning that theoretically we only need to use four per driver, across the season.
"We believe this gives us a good opportunity to react if we have a reliability problem - or potentially to use the extra units to our advantage for a performance enhancement at key races."
This article by Jonathan Noble originally appeared on Motorsport.com, the world's leader in auto racing news, photos and video.
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