Mercedes W04 launch: First pictures and video

2013 F1 cars

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The Mercedes W04, one of the most eagerly-anticipated new cars of 2013, has broken cover for the first time.

The team has enticed Lewis Hamilton away from his McLaren home to drive for them this year. He will drive car number ten while team mate Nico Rosberg races number nine.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said the new season “marks the start of a second era for our Silver Arrows works team”.

“The restructuring we undertook at the team over the past 18 months are now growing in maturity and this is reflected in the F1 W04, which is a clear step forward in design and detail sophistication over its predecessor.

“Many thousands of hours of work have been invested by our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth to ensure that the new car delivers a step change in performance compared to last season.

“We are also hugely proud to welcome Lewis to the team as a works Mercedes-Benz driver. With Lewis and Nico, we have what I believe to be the strongest driver line-up in Formula One and I know that a healthy level of competition between them both will help drive the team forward.”

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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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111 comments on “Mercedes W04 launch: First pictures and video”

  1. Interesting how Nico has taken the odd-number car. Hamilton outscored him in 2012 and he replaced Schumacher, who always wanted the odd-numbered car, regardless of scoring.

    1. @optimaximal – Teams are entitled to assign numbers as they see fit. Most teams prefer to award the lower number (in this case, #9) to the driver who placed higher in the previous year’s World Drivers’ Championship. Although Hamilton out-scored Rosberg in 2012, he is also new to the team, and many teams tend to assign higher numbers (in this case, #10) to incoming drivers.

      There are rare occasions to the contrary, of course. Mercedes used to give Schumacher the odd number because he is deeply-superstitious. And in 2010, Felipe Massa carried the lower number (#7) because the team wanted to rally around his recovery.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I completely understand it’s optional. Was just pointing out that there are two precedents for Hamilton being ‘due’ the 9, just as Rosberg is also due it given the criteria you mentioned.

        1. Was just pointing out that there are two precedents for Hamilton being ‘due’ the 9, just as Rosberg is also due it given the criteria you mentioned.

          Why is it so important that Hamilton drives with the number 9 this year?

          1. He never said it was important. It was an observation.

          2. /kneejerk

      2. Drop Valencia!
        4th February 2013, 11:08

        Massa was also teamed with a driver new to Ferrari in 2010.

        Vettel got “evens” in 2009 after beating Webber in 2008, coz he was the new guy (and had an extra 25hp in 2008).

      3. And in 2010, Felipe Massa carried the lower number (#7) because the team wanted to rally around his recovery.

        Yeah, and then Hockenheim happened.

      4. @prisoner-monkeys Massa’s case isn’t an exception: he was at Ferrari from 2006 and in 2010 Alonso was the new guy, hence the higher number.

        1. @fixy is right. That seems to be the way Ferrari go about assigning numbers as the same thing happened when Raikkonen joined in 2007 from Mclaren as it did with Alonso in 2010. Massa got given 5 and Raikkonen 6, even though Raikkonen had a massive contract and was probably signed with the intention of being the lead driver, as Alonso was when he signed and as Hamilton is now for Mercedes.

    2. @optimaximal, maybe Hamilton doesn’t care about the number when it isn’t a 1, and now it’s Rosbergs turn. Or he does care but ten has a 1 in :-p

      1. I’d say he cares less about his number than some of his fans who were outraged when the first entry list was released, showing him with the number 10. For some reason, people seemed to think that Mercedes owed Hamilton the “better” number.

        1. I’ll never understand that. Driver/Car numbers seem almost meaningless in F1. Does anyone know why drivers aren’t given numbers based on their finishing position in the previous season?

          1. @althasi – Teams are free to assign their numbers as they see fit. Hamilton might have finished ahead of Rosberg last year, but that never guaranteed him the number 9 in 2013.

          2. Sorry, that should be @althasil.

          3. @prisoner-monkeys I think you may have misunderstood me. It the whole Red Bull have #1 & #2 to assign yet #1 was Vettel and #2 was Alonso. The numbering system (as it is currently) seems pretty redundant to me.

          4. @althasil – Numbers are based on the finishing position in the World Constructors’ Championship. The #1 is assigned to the champion, and the #2 to his team-mate, with every other number based on the teams’ final positions. So while Alonso might have been second in the drivers’ title, he carries the #3 because Ferrari were second in the WCC.

          5. Drop Valencia!
            5th February 2013, 6:27

            No PM the #1 goes to the WDC, regardless the WCC. #3 goes to the WCC first, or second place if first already got #1.

        2. Well Pele said the number 10 was a gift from god…so he may well have been given the “better” number.

    3. Rosberg was down to be the in car number 3 when Schumacher made his comeback. Schumacher asked to be in car number 3 because of his superstition that he has always had an odd numbered car. Many suspected it was gamesmanship, but Rosberg didn’t seem too fussed. Maybe he knew that Schumacher made his debut in car number 32 :p. (

    4. Anyway, Hamilton will be able to tweet from his new Blackberry button on the steering.

  2. It will be the most interesting thing to watch this team this year: will Rosberg be a match to Hamilton and will Mercedes claim at least one victory.

  3. I say: Platypus

    1. From above, I agree.
      It certainly looks a bit funny.

    2. Same thought here… Duck-billed Mercedespus.

    3. that was the first thing i noticed as well ;-)

  4. @keithcollantine – There is also this image, which shows the car in profile.

    1. @prisoner-monkeys, wow that somehow looks akward

      1. The nose actually reminds me a lot of the HRT F112, though it’s a much more refined version of it. I think it’s a reasonably clever interpretation of the stepped nose rule – rather than put a step in the nose and then cover it up with a modesty plate, they’ve built a continuous nose and monocoque, and then extended two ridges out either side of it to allow for a higher suspension mounting. So it’s kind of a cross between a stepped nose and the V-channels that the teams used to use.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys having looked at other images of the car, I do agree with you on the nose, and car. Nose treatment is a bit similar to what Newey did with the rb9, possibly. But that picture still makes the car look odd to me. Could be due to the car starting to move as the pic was taken though.

  5. I am certainly no expert but it does not as tidy at the rear as other cars. Also that nose just looks odd.

    1. @leoman

      That’s my exact feelings. I’m no expert at all but from the other launches the merc just looks very “full” at the back. The mclaren and redbull show so much rear floor, whereas the merc seems to have a lot of bodywork there.. The nose also looks “wrong” but could work with their package.. Im a huge Hamiltion fan and overall im not jumping for joy, in fact im pretty gutted because there’s much talk of Mclaren running away with this year’s Championships.

      Its yet to be seen how the year will unfold but Im already worried for merc, they ended the last year so badly and this looks more of an “evolution” than a new concept… I so hope I’m wrong !

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        4th February 2013, 12:10

        I 100% expect them to spend the year trying to score points. There seems to be a resignation amongst the team that this year is building slowly towards 2014. They’ve got the right driver on board now, and they are going to use this year to get him used to the team ready for an all out assault next year.

        They’ve got Hamilton in the car so there’s always the chance of the odd storming drive but they won’t be competing for the title this year.

        There’s just as much chance of them getting 2014 horribly wrong as there is them getting it right but I’ve no doubt that most of their effort is going into next year.

    1. “Unique” certainly is the word I’d use to describe it.

      People claim that the sport needs to do more to embrace social media, but it’s episodes like this one that prove just how hilariously inept the people involved can be with it.

      1. Nice idea, but poorly executed. They are definitely not the first Formula 1 team to grossly underestimate the volume of fans wanting to see new cars, and have their server overload as a result!

        1. There’s a reason McLaren chose YouTube’s Live streaming service. The Ferrari stream was abysmally low quality and Force India’s website similarly fell over.

          Mercedes weren’t the only ones with issues – scaling sites are both hard to get right and expensive when you’re expecting mega traffic for all of 2-3 days in a year.

        2. It looks like they underestimated the number of visitors on their website and at the same time overestimated the number of their active twitter followers. To me it seemed like more people were tweeting #UnboltTheBull, than #F1W04Reveal.

          I think they were hoping for the garage doors to fully open in a matter of hours, but instead it was one of the most boring online events I ever saw.

    2. They have Michael Schumacher as the background image for their website. :-)

  6. It does not seem… balenced right, that rear end in particular looks shody. But I suppose it has some knd of aerodynamic purpose that won’t work right, because its a Mercedes XD

    1. The rear end looks so untidy and very wide. What could be going on there?

  7. The rear wing looks like its on the wrong way round.

  8. There’s alsook a video (found via @TommyB89)

  9. If people care, who is first or second driver…they should worry what color the t-bar is.

    1. @magillagorilla – The colours of the T-bars are assigned based on the numbers as well. Rosberg will have the red T-bar, and Hamilton the yellow.

      1. oh well then it still shouldn’t matter to people. I kinda figured tbar was by number too, but thought I’d take a shot in the dark. Anyways plenty of people have been second driver and then first the next season, let’s just worry about race results folks.

  10. Looks a bit funny in profile, but this is the first Mercedes which I’ve generally quite liked the look of.

  11. Hamilton has already improved the performance of the Mercedes team by managing to tweet a picture of a car on the internet. That’s this years’ salary accounted for, anyway.

    No doubt a team of 20 silicon valley ex-cto guys is being assembled in a new office next to lauda’s as we speak to work out how he did it.

  12. Somehow that car looks very short, lets hope they find a good way to operate it and win a couple of races this year. I am also curious how much trouble we will have discerning between the 2 drivers when both have a largely yellow helmet!

    1. @bascb What do you mean exactly when you say

      Somehow that car looks very short


  13. Mercedes appear to have gone for skinny sidepods, too. Perhaps its not as dramatic as the Sauber C32, but they definately look to be a little slimmer than they were on last year’s car.

    1. the link in that comment does not work (or is empty?) @prisoner-monkeys

      1. The picture has been posted now.

  14. That has got to be the most ridiculous front wing I’ve seen in my following of f1 so far.

    The entire nose cone structure is so short, blunt and stout. The angle of the wing holding structure is extremely radical too. I don’t think there’s a car like that at all at the moment.

    Why could they have done this ?

      1. Haha your picture is from an airshow where I born and lived, nice.
        But I agree, it reminds me of a harrier.

        1. I don’t see the similarity.

    1. The front wing is last years as are the pylons. Expect the wing at least to change by melbourne. Most teams launch with their old wing to hide certain details of the flow regime from prying rival eyes for as long as possible.

      The rear is interesting as the upper rear of the engine cover aft of the exhausts doesn’t meet the floor. Instead, it continues the “pseudo tunnel” that starts beneath the exhaust pods right to the back of the diffusor where it appears to feed some unusual u shaped vents. It really is odd and possibly an adaptation of the RB Tunnel concept amalgamated with Ross’s determination to find a new way to do the Double Diffuser within the regulations. Would love a better look at this!

      1. I also forgot to mention the way the wing pillars swoop down at that angle remind me of elongated jaws, particularily David coulthard’s.

  15. Does anyone else find it amusing, or perhaps disconcerting that one of the sponsors is Blackberry ie a company once at the top of it’s game but on a somewhat of a decline since… Much akin to Brawn :p

    1. Actually, if you understand business you will know that company fortunes go up and down. Blackberry believe Hamilton will emerge as the man to beat and that he will outpace McLaren. It’s a gamble but it may pay off. Imagine what this will do if Lewis wins the WC!

      1. And Blackberry has just released their new phone, the Z10, and it has a new operating system and in early days is being touted as a good, competitive phone. They’re still in business, don’t owe anybody any money, and still have a strong loyal following, especially in the business world, and consider themselves to be off to a new start with their new release.

  16. It looks like they didn’t touch the side pods, something that was a big deal at Red Bull and Sauber. I just hope that they are not sacrificing 2013 for 2014 straightway.

  17. I like the look of many 2013 cars, but this is an exception. The nose is still ugly, and the rear looks much fatter than those of other cars. Somehow I already feel less optimistic about the prospects of this year’s Mercedes being a fast car.

    1. The rear looks quite fat in some pictures but when you see this one it looks much skinnier…there’s a massive undercut at the rear of those sidepods.

      1. Quite right. The exhaust bulge makes them look a little bulky, but they are heavily undercut.

      2. Oh, jeah, that’s an interest in undercut, al most going from front sidepod back to below beamwing. Not immediately visible, but does seem they tugged in the cars’ behind (though in a muffin top way ;-)

  18. i think they have put all on 2014, this just doesnt look right

  19. I thought everybody knew that already?

    Its no secret that Mercedes want to win the WC in 2014.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      4th February 2013, 12:18

      And no secret that with the current set up, they aren’t going to win anything regardless of how much money they throw at it.

      Next yexr is going to be a bit of a lottery but every pound spent on this season’s car is one less spent on 2014. No team is going to spend more money on 2014 than Mercedes.

    2. I know but it’s somehow sad to see the car, looks to me like they don’t even want to try this year, I can’t respect them in 2014 if I don’t recpect them now. I don’t know how to put it exactly but u know what I mean, everybody wants to win in 2014, but u have to drive whole 2013, and we all want to see fighters not those who give up, last year with Ferrari/Alonso was the best example.

      1. @infishan They’re not going to change something for the sake of changing it, are they?

      2. @infishan

        and we all want to see fighters not those who give up

        And you got that just by looking at the car??

        1. I’m a genious.

          1. A genius whose strengths don’t include spelling clearly

  20. Its all very well saying they are concentrating on 2014 but they surely cant afford to be a laughing stock during 2013. Potentially that could damage the mercedes name as much as winning the WC in 2014 could improve it.

  21. i thought they had just released the W02 from 2011 for a minute, this car just looks slow to me aha…but we’ll see…it might surprise, its definitely the ugliest car released this year so far

  22. Why is everybody so negative ? jeez, just wait until the end of the first half of the season and then talk

    1. It’s Hamilton’s car, what you would expect?
      Even if were the greatest car ever made people would find “problems”.

      1. I agree with you mate

  23. I don’t get why so many people are already dooming this car to failure.
    Yeah it looks out of place and funky but that’s what we said about the F2012 last year, now look how well that car did in the capable hands of Alonso.

  24. IS the test gonna be live on any channel? sky f1?

    1. @wackyracer Very doubtful. There was an article a week or so ago about how we might just have to make do with Sky Sports News updates.

      1. @wackyracer As per F1Broadcaster on Twitter, no live coverage. But we do get a 15-minute roundup at the end of every testing day, but another 15-minute segment for Ted’s (Testing) Notebook. Which is probably the most extensive coverage of F1 testing I’ve ever seen (the bar is pretty low after all).

  25. Ah OK. The live stream is over now. I’m glad I hung around on the off chance they would stream something. It went OK. The audio was unsynced, but apart from that it was OK for a low key launch.

    It was funny to me that they were racing each other out the pit lane. I’m not sure how well them being friends is going to work out.

    The car. I’m no expert, but it doesn’t seem to be that different to last years. No radically different new things that I can see.

  26. Strangely the Mercedes F1 website had no mention on it about the live stream. Why?

  27. Looks don’t mean bleep, but this just feels like they had separate teams working in isolation on different parts of the car with different approaches and then put the pieces together as best they would fit.

  28. UNeedAFinn2Win
    4th February 2013, 12:56

    Aren’t the rules that were introduced regarding the narrow rear wing and the snowplow frontwing with the intention to limit these winglets still in use ?

  29. Call me a cynic, but Mercedes GP sponsored by Blackberry seems a tad ironic. A team which has to perform the next (two) year(s) in order to stay in F1, sponsored by a mobile phone company which has to perform if it wants to stay in business.

    1. Nice picture Nick :))))

    2. @npf1 Exactly what I was thinking. It would’ve been the same if HRT had been sponsored by Jessops.

    3. Synergy is what it is @npf! At least both have to put in effort.

  30. It’s been almost painful waiting for this car but I think it’s worth it. The car looks good. Well done Mercedes for trying to embrace social media and failing completely.

  31. W04 ‘a clear step forward’ – Brawn. They actually need two or three clear steps forward.

  32. I like the look of it.

  33. I feel quite sorry for Lewis – not only will he be racing in the mid-field this year – it now looks like he’ll have to use a Blackberry as well!

    1. Why? Blackberry has just come out with a brand new, good and competitive phone…the Z10. Don’t underestimate it.

  34. Anyone noticed Lewis looks yeas younger ?

    1. Yea, he looks much FRESHER than he did end of last season.

  35. Does anyone know what time the new Toro Rosso is being unveilled today?

    1. around six in the evening acording to their website

  36. Car looks very awkward in my opinion. Looks as if the nose as been bolted to the wrong car and it slightly too short. Bit hey you never know, might fly in the hands of Hamilton and Rosberg :)

  37. that’s quite a tight bottom!

    looks fast. lets hope it is..
    saying that my last girlfriend looked hot but turned out to be mental.

    should be fun playing who’s who with both drivers having yellow lids!
    keeping my fingers crossed for lew.. so long as he stays behind the mclarens of course ;)

  38. The two helmets are going to be a nightmare to distinguish between!

  39. and here i was thinking the modesty panel was to IMPROVE the look of the car…. silly me ….

  40. Looks like an F1 car from the future!
    And perhaps, that’s a good thing…

  41. This is far and away the ugliest car in the field.

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