2012 Mercedes to get first run at second test

2012 F1 season

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Mercedes W02, Valencia, 2011

Mercedes will run their 2012 F1 car for the first time at the second pre-season test next year.

It marks a departure from the team’s previous policy of running their new car at the first test session.

The car, which will be called the W03, will make its first public appearance at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Mercedes also announced the team’s title will change to Mercedes AMG Petronas in 2012.

Chairman of Mercedes-AMG Ola Kallenius explained the change of title: “The Mercedes AMG brand promises ‘Driving Performance’ – and what better embodies this philosophy than the intense competitive arena of Formula One?

“It is an historic first for the AMG name to be associated to the works Silver Arrows team, and offers fantastic opportunities: first, to further build the sporting identity of the Mercedes AMG brand through one of the world’s most-watched and most successful sports; second, to explore and deliver technology transfer between road and track.

“This is already being practised with the SLS AMG E-Cell project, whose electric powertrain will be developed as a joint venture between Mercedes AMG and our F1 engine specialists in Brixworth.”

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Image © Julien Leroy / firstlap.be

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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47 comments on “2012 Mercedes to get first run at second test”

  1. That means that every team in the field apart from Red Bull, McLaren, Williams and Toro Rosso have changed some form of their name in just over the past 12 months!

    1. @ed24f1 Indeed, but as ever we need to distinguish between a ‘real’ change of constructor name (as Renault, Lotus and Virgin are doing to become Lotus, Caterham and Marussia respectively next year) and the kinds of name changes which are really just cosmetic alterations, such as this and Sahara Force India.

      In other words, I won’t be calling these MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team any more than I used to call them MERCEDES GP PETRONAS. As far as I’m concerned, they’re just Mercedes.

      1. Yes, of course there’s a big difference, but it’s still a very odd coincidental trend.

    2. Who knows, maybe STR and Williams will still come up with something!

      1. Yeah, there have been rumours about AT&T leaving Williams and Toro Rosso being sold, so maybe that can do it for them!

  2. i don’t understand why a team doesnt run its new car in the first test…..i thought that was a sign of a team’s lack of preparation…like Force India did this year

    1. I think its become a bit of a trend by now. Not showing your hand too early as well as having a bit more time to finetune everything.

      It could mean we see some interim solutions with exhausts upwards etc. to test the newest batches of tyres in the first week.

    2. @malleshmagdum After their problems this year I wonder if we’ll see McLaren do the opposite and have their new car at the first test next year!

      1. I certainly hope so, after being stung so bad at the beginning of this year I would be surprised if they didn’t.

      2. I wonder whether HRT will be ready for the first two tests this time…..Any Bets?
        @keithcollantine Lets have a competition-poll asking f1fanatics whether they think HRT will be ready….The winner takes home the HRT 2011 car(we know it isn’t worth much)

        1. I wonder whether HRT will be ready for the first two races this time…..


      3. @keithcollantine I hope so. I couldn’t do with another year of McLaren whinging!

    3. In theory, I guess using new parts on last year’s base platform for the first test can help to calibrate systems and check how accurate their windtunnel/cfd models are. They will have tons of reliable data on the old car and not so much for the new one due to the testing ban. As Keith pointed out though, the strategy didn’t work so well for McLaren last year!

    4. I believe Mclaren was still finalizing their development of the new exhaust/sidepods/car at the first practice last year? So they basically weren’t ready and this rolled on through the first half of the season. However it seems if you do show you car at first practice, by the time the first race has come round, Ferrari will have copied it anyway.

    5. I think it may just come down to the tires, they have loads of data on the 2011 car, so driving with the new tires and 2011 car will let them understand the differences in the tires much better.

  3. “Mercedes AMG”. I like the name. I always wondered why Mercedes GP didn’t use the AMG tag sooner.

    1. And they have finally ditched the “GP” from BrawnGP..i always thought it sounded a bit amateur, Mercedes AMG Petronas sounds a lot more Professional.

      1. Mercedes GP is no different to Scuderia Ferrari or Team Lotus – it’s the F1 team, not the company that makes cars.

        Having said that I drive an AMG so thumbs up from me :D

    2. It is “Mercedes AGM Petronas Formula 1 Team” to you…far too long winded for my liking.

  4. They obviously want to challenge for the title. So a change of tactics, which gives them valuable extra development time, might be a good idea.

    And they know more about the 2011 car, so they can calibrate their simulator, which I think will be a new one for this year.

    On top of that, I hope they’ll have some radical invention, which they want to hide from the others as long as possible.

  5. Is it weird that I’m in such withdrawal the news about an F1 test gets me ridiculously excited?

    Anyway here’s hoping Mercedes are making the right choice in waiting till the second test, I’d love to have four really competitive teams fight for wins next year! I’ll trust that Ross Brawn and his five technical directors know what they’re doing!

  6. I really hope Mercedes get out of that no mans land performance that they have had in recent times in being off the pace of the top 3 teams but quicker than the rest of the field so are just nailed to P7 and P8 every race.

    I think it’s maybe a bit ambitious to think they will fight for the championship (though it would be a pleasant suprise if they did) But i hope that the car can give MSC the odd podium when things go well. I remember Michael promising the media earlier in the season that he would get a podium at some point during the season which sadly never happened, surely Michael will make sure the team produces a stronger next year so he can fight amongst the top 3.

    1. Didn’t know MS made a promise of a podium. I don’t think he’ll make that mistake again. He better wait and see if NR is still going to trounce him on quali days.

      I too think it is ambitious to think they will fight for the WDC. And if they can get a handle on tire degradation and fuel consumption, a few things that seemed to hamper NR on Sundays in spite of his consistantly putting the car about as high up on the grid as it deserved, then MS is going to have his hands full just getting past NR let alone the likes of SV and FA.

      A big improvement by MS on Saturdays may also be crucial if some other teams like Lotus Renault and Force India get closer to Merc in the Constructor’s fight. A lagging performance on Saturdays by MS will prove to be ‘fatal’ if he can’t just make up for it by breezing past cars he should have put behind him on Saturday, like this season.

      Anyway, I look forward to seeing any improvements to the Merc relative to the rest of the grid benefitting NR every bit as much as MS, so it should be fun to watch.

      1. He absolutely did, BBC interview before Australia. He said “the podium is the goal…(etc etc driver excuses).” Now I certainly would not consider that a promise, but rather keeping expectations in check.

        1. Agreed…the podium is always the goal for all drivers…doesn’t equate to a promise though…that makes more sense, unless MS actually did promise because he thought the car would be good enough, but given that this was before Australia, making the podium a goal makes more sense than promising one.

          1. From what I remember of the start of the season Rosberg was more confident than Schumacher about how good the car was.

            Schumacher said he hoped they could get podiums and Rosberg was talking about wins.

            There were people thinking Mercedes looked good after they topped the last test in Barcelona which is a lesson in itself about reading to much into winter testing times!

  7. So what this mean? Aren’t their car won’t be ready for the first test? Are they still on the back foot like the last two season? Their engine is already the fastest on the grid,why do you need some more AMG power.

    1. Isn’t it about promoting the AMG aspect of their business? Also, even if putting AMG in their name instantly meant more power, wouldn’t any team like to have more power, even if their engine was one of the best in 2011? Do you think they will just sit on their hands and expect that they will be able to say the same thing about their engines next year? Or should the prudent thing be to assume other teams will be working hard to make their engine the best and therefore Merc should keep developing theirs? Also, I don’t think missing the first test has to mean starting on their back foot. It might mean that by not rushing it they will be starting off on a better note with more assurance of what they have created for 2012 and where they can take it.

      1. Absolutely correct. Not sure if this fella read the entire article.

  8. This is weird. They are going to make the same mistake. They must have the car ready for the first test not later, Brawn has recently said tha this was the big mistake of this season because they didnt have enough time to check the car and they spent the first haf of the year trying to understand the car. :(

    1. Hmmm…the second sentence of the article implies that “It (skipping the first session) marks a departure from the team’s previous policy of running their new car at the first test session.”

      So did they not run 2011’s car in the first session, presumably last January? The artical implies they did. Anyway, even if they didn’t, and Brawn considers that a mistake, I doubt that missing one session put them behind half a year in understanding the car, and in fact I think that by well before half way through the year all they really understood was that they had tire wear issues, fuel consumption issues, MS had quali issues, and they were a distant 4th in the constructors, not really able to even seriously fight for a podium unless it were through attrition of other cars.

      I just find it interesting that they already know they will skip the first session. It could be due to a ‘problem’ they already know about as in production, construction, or development issues, or it could just be a well thought out plan.

      Or who knows, maybe that aspect which has them deciding to start in the second session will change and they will be able to start with session one after all.

      1. @robbie Last year they did have the car/chassis ready at the first test, but it had only a rudimentary aero package.

        Mercedes then brought their aero package to the car only at the end of the last test, so they did not get much experience of finetuning that.

        1. Thats it. They had a “basic” car without all the aerodynamic development in order to learn how Pirelli tyres worked and in the last practice they introduced the definitive model. This proved to be a great mistake because the car with alll the new package didnt work well.

          The good example is Mclaren, they introduced the new car very early, they saw that it was very problematic so they had time to prepare another specification before the first GP.

          Anyway, as Robbie has said there can be some reasons to explain this attitude, perhaps they know that the car is awesome and they want to shock all the competitors as it happened with Brawn GP.

          1. Fair comments…my only thinking on this is that I don’t think missing one test is the be all and end all…it can help, I’m sure, to have that extra time to tweek things, but the tweeking doesn’t stop once the season starts.

  9. Cant wait. This car is going to be MEGA

    1. Is it? I think that is hard to say as the trend has shown something different. 2010 Merc was a distant 4th 182 points behind Ferrari, with Renault a not so distant 51 points behind Merc…2011 Merc was a distant 4th 210 points back of Ferrari and having 49 fewer points than 2010.

      Of course the difference is the Pirelli’s and the DRS this year, but strictly in terms of trends Merc did not go the right way from 2010 to 2011…the car will NEED to be MEGA if they are going to touch the Red Bulls and the Macs, and probably the Ferraris’ too. We’ll only know when the first race is run, although trends can show themselves in testing.

    2. You could be right, this is very subjective but I’ve got a feeling they’ve got something up their sleeves…. the result of a loop hole maybe, lighting couldn’t strike twice could it?

      1. I feel a Brawn-like season coming up soon, with NR making WDC. Place your bets now, boys and girls. Looking at the MASSIVE influx of new big names into the team, as well as the change to AMG naming; alot is riding on the success of MercAMG. I am not a fan of the team per se, but I think this is going to be a breakout season in 2012. If they dont do it in 2012, then it likely just because the new people havent had enough time to influence the 2012 car. That means 2013 will be MEGA. :)

        1. Should be fascinating to see…they will have to not only improve the car dramatically just to match Red Bull, being the current benchmark, but it can’t be understated what Adrian Newey might do to crank the Red Bulls up even further, so Mac and Ferrari have a huge task just to get up to Red Bulls level, let alone the huge leap Merc will have to do…

          1. Btw, @d3v0…love the sound of NR as WDC and I do appreciate that comment that it might take them until 2013…Red Bull might be even more formidable than this year, the Macs and Ferraris might get closer, so Merc has their work cut out for them but wouldn’t it be great to see a little change in the pecking order and/or 4 teams that are very very close.

  10. Really hope Merc gets back up there with the Top 3(RB,McLaren & the Scuderia).Honestly,Miss them being actual rivals instead of having a car that its performance is nowhere.

    1. @younger-hamii They ought to be. The oldest car manufacturer in the world and a constructor. They really have no excuse.

  11. Having the car ready for the first test gives more time to evalute the changes made and fix any problems. Having the car ready for the second test gives more time to prepare the car before the shakedown, but less time to fix any problems; it also helps to compare the behaviour of the new and old car on same tyres and maybe some slight changes, such as wings.

  12. I don’t think that this is a particularly big deal, with the technology available in wind tunnels these days you can probably afford to skip a test (unless you’re trying something ‘revolutionary’).

    I REALLY hope they’re on the ball next year. Third time lucky, eh?

  13. This is weird. But I think they are still working on the car ,and they just know,that they will not complete it by the first test. Anyway,I hope the coming racer is more competitive than beutyfull,like last year. It was the best damn thing I’ve seen,but it was a slow little tanker.
    And Michael will do it,if he get’s a car at least half a second quicker than last years car. Because in 2011 we all saw that he’s trying so much,and has the speed in him,but the car just won’t let him to drive on the limit.

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