Mercedes-AMG Petronas has launched its new W08, which is now officially known as the W08 EQ Power+, the additional EQ Power+ having been added because this will be the technology brand for all future Mercedes-AMG hybrid models. The launch formed part of the team’s official 100 km filming day, with Lewis Hamilton driving the car in the morning, despite windy conditions, and Valtteri Bottas due to drive in the afternoon. The car has all-new aerodynamics to meet the new rules, which the team believes could result in the cars become the quickest in the history of the sport, while the M08 EQ Power+ engine is the fourth generation power unit.
“Any rule change brings with it a big reset but also a big opportunity,” said team boss Toto Wolff. “This is the time to stay humble and keep our feet on the ground. None of the teams has raced under these rules and we all have the same points right now: zero.
But the dominant feeling in the team right now is one of excitement – the factory is buzzing with anticipation. It has been a really motivating challenge to develop a brand new car concept and I have never seen our determination to succeed higher than it is right now. We had a curve ball from Nico late last year that left us scrambling a little bit in the winter, but we found a great solution with Valtteri and I am sure that he will form a strong partnership with Lewis.”
Wolff says that in-season development will play a big role in determining the championship outcome.
Lewis Hamilton is keen to make up for last year’s disappointment and is glad to see the team is not resting on its laurels.
“After all the success we have had, people could be sitting back and resting on their achievements,” he says. “So it’s inspiring to see how everybody is pushing even harder than ever and taking nothing for granted at all. This is the most exciting period of the year when the car comes together – and my privilege as a driver is then to get to feel what it’s like and what all the team has worked for. There’s not too much point setting goals until we’ve really driven the car, so I’m going to go with the flow until we understand the possibilities. I’m feeling in a positive place with the team – we talked about a lot of stuff over the winter, I was able to get some things off my chest and now we are communicating better than ever and continuing to grow together.”
The team says that because this is the first major regulation change to occur under the Aerodynamic Testing Regulations (ATR), which limit every team to 65 runs per week in the wind tunnel, the development of the W08 concept began before the end of last season and the car has already had over 2,000 runs. The M08 power unit has been comprehensively redesigned for the new season. The emphasis has been on improving the primary energy source, the combustion process, but a lot of work has also gone into the energy-recovery systems.