It's described as an evolution of last year's race car, which driver Lewis Hamilton drove to a fourth-consecutive title. The most significant change is the addition of the Halo cockpit protection, per new F1 rules, plus the omission of the monkey seat and high T-wings. But it maintains the 2017 W08's general design principles, with the same wheelbase and a slightly increased rake angle. The livery is based on the 2017 livery with more accentuated lines. There's also four of them — one for each championship Hamilton has won.
The new EQ power unit — and name shared with Mercedes's future electrified models — was also developed to meet new rules limiting the number of times power unit components can be changed per driver per season without grid penalties.
"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," said Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, in a release. "That's a 40-percent increase in the distance that the hardware needs to do for this year compared with last year. We're focused on trying to increase the life of the hardware without losing performance."
The team also sought to improve the packaging of the powertrain — a 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 with two electric motors — plus combustion efficiency and hardware friction reduction.
Hamilton returns for his sixth season with Mercedes-AMG and is joined again by Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas.