Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W05, Jerez, 2014

Mercedes “certain” of closer fight from round one

2015 F1 season

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Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W05, Jerez, 2014Mercedes believe their rivals will be in competitive shape from the first race of the new season.

The world champions also announced they will launch their new car, the W06, on the first day of testing for the 2015 season at Jerez.

Mercedes’s head of motorsport Toto Wolff said they “went into the winter with a target on our backs for the other teams”.

“We are certain that our rivals will be competitive from the opening race in Melbourne,” he said. “So we have to focus on every detail if we want to build any advantage this year and that is what we have done.”

Wolff added the team has not backed off in its efforts despite winning both title comfortably last year. “The workload this winter has been as great as ever,” he said. “Where last year we were preparing for an all-new formula of racing, we are now faced with the big challenge of making the next step in our development.”

Nico Rosberg will be the first driver to test the new car, followed by Lewis Hamilton who will run on the second day of the four-day Jerez test. Both will then have a further day in the car, in a reversal of the sequence used last year.

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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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40 comments on “Mercedes “certain” of closer fight from round one”

  1. Laptimes should be closer but I reckon greater reliability will make it hard for the other teams to take even three races off Mercedes this year. I’d love McLaren Honda to be up there though.

    1. I think RBR, Williams and maybe McLaren could fight with MB on qualy but in race pace it will be hard to catch MB,
      Last year MB was abor 0.5 sec quicker on Qualy and could be 2 s quicker on race day so if ex RBR has become 1 s quicker overall they could fight for pole but race win wouldn’t be easy

      1. I read that part of Merc’s race pace advantage was that they could run the turbo-driven electromotor (MGU-H) for longer each lap, with their extra clutch. I’m expecting the others to have copied that, though it will cost tokens.

        Part of the problem for Renault/Ferrari is that they’re guaranteed to lose points to Merc teams until they spend their tokens. Maybe it’s the turbo connector shaft as was reported somewhere, that they’re struggling to make work at 125,000 rpm.

        1. Not heard that. Where’d you read it?

      2. @audi1111
        I hope this happens.
        It will be good if one or both of Williams and RBR can qualify ahead of MB then we should see a good fight in the first half of the race.

  2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    19th January 2015, 13:00

    Its a win-win for Mercedes to come out and say this.

    If they increase the gap they look like engineering marvels.

    If the others close the gap its ‘oh well, we said as much anyway’.

    Standard f1 non-statement.

    1. Mercedes are easily the richest team in F1. Ferrari just don’t sell the amount of cars mercedes do. They have more cash to throw at the engine and that’s why they have the best engine. It’s not rocket science

  3. It will be closer but I guess it will be an 2011 RBR sort of dominance.

  4. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    19th January 2015, 13:51

    Hopefully it will be a lot closer this year. I really enjoyed last season, but I wouldn’t want to see that level of dominance too often.

  5. They aren’t going to say anything different are they? Not like Totto is going to come out and say:

    “We have taken the winter off and will basically run last years car because it was so much better than everybody else”.

    Of course they will be pushing as hard as possible, this is F1, they have to push.

    Theoretically the car should be good this year, no major rule changes to find massive time, so they really only have to find a few tenths a lap to still be comfortably ahead of the others, even if the others find a second a lap.

  6. I’d be surprised if any teams car is faster than the W05 let alone the W06.

    1. What´s the average time found between years with stable rules? From the top of my head I think it´s around 1.5 to 2 seconds. So by that a couple of teams would be faster or as fast as the W05, depending on the circuit. So Merc can´t stop developing, and they won´t. Other teams just can add some gains from copying to the gains made from own development, and through that a second year of a rule-set has allways been closer than the first. Would be a huge surprise if Merc weren´t still ahead though.

      On a related sidenote: Still having trouble to single out a significant head of the new technology-era, as we are now in post-Brawn-Newey-times who dominated the last decades (yeah, I know, in different roles, but it was (nearly) allways either of the two who won the WCC). Who is it at Merc, or are they still living from Brawns input? And who is going to be F1s next real (as opposed to the drivers who are mostly replacable showcases) superstar?

    2. Agreed. Mercedes could run the old cars and still win almost every race. I would like to see a mixed race with gp2 cars just to see how they would end up against the Caterham team!

  7. Chris Brighton
    19th January 2015, 17:51

    I know other teams have got more ground to make up than the Mercedes but the Silver Arrows have found another 50BHP for their 2015 power unit and to put it simply, they’ll still be hard to beat in qualifying and on race days.

  8. Now, show me the reporter who asked if this was the case! :)

  9. I think they will again have the quickest car by some margin this year, but I wish the others to catch up. However much respect I have for what Mercedes has done, and what they’ve build, personally I think they are one of the most boring teams on the grid. Luckily they change livery this year. Lets hope they’ll go for more color. The grey of 2014 was annoyingly anonymous.

    1. What change of livery? I would find it very strange for them to abandon the “silver arrow” theme. In fact apart from title sponsors having some input into the livery, the green of Patronas for example I would say the main colour scheme will always be silver.

      1. They are going chrome silver as the reason McLaren used it was a hat tip to the Silver Arrows but now they are not the Mercedes works team they will be changing to an all new livery and Mercedes Works team will have the chrome silver, as the original Mercedes Grand Prix cars were silver because they had no paint to save weight. I read an article somewhere that said the paint effect the Mercedes will use has a very complex application process unique to the company that supplies the paint itself.

      2. @woodyd91 Current rumours are that Mercedes are going to keep the basic livery quite similar to 2014’s, but are going for a chrome finish on the car (like the McLarens of past seasons).
        McLaren-Honda themselves are rumoured to be ditching the silver due to its association with Mercedes (the Silver Arrows). Supposedly they may be running orange in testing then possibly a retro red/white livery during the season.

        Spanish website reporting these rumours:

        As for ME4ME’s comments, personally I don’t find the Mercedes team boring. I think Toto Wolff is one of the more charismatic team bosses, and of course you have Niki Lauda who is never afraid of speaking his mind and says it like it is (which is refreshing and a reminder of the characters of the 70s). The team also have some pretty entertaining post-race celebrations (e.g. spraying champagne at their team bosses and drivers after the team photos, playing pranks on Toto Wolff during interviews, that guy wearing the massive Mercedes star bling when they won the constructors championship in Russia, and of course the Mercedes engineers throwing pie in Eddie Jordan’s face after Abu Dhabi).

        I certainly find them to be less boring than McLaren, who have a clinical and serious approach to everything (note: I am a fan of McLaren).

        If you’re just referring to the car looking boring, then I guess to each his own, since I found the Mercedes to be the second best-looking car in 2014 (behind Williams).

        1. Interesting, Thanks for that. Could be interesting as I thought the Mclaren..Although not exciting in it’s design was cool looking with the chrome & black. Although I do wonder what the Patronas green would look like on a chrome car, not sure if that will work. Wait and see.

          In terms of what teams are boring, I agree I don’t think Merc are by any stretch a boring team, Nikki on his own makes the team interesting. But hey thats’s just my opinion, I don’t happen to think Red Bull are all that exciting, no matter how much base music they pump out of the garage.

  10. I’d be surprised if Merc’s rivals have caught right up by Australia. Ferrari have pretty much already ruled themselves out and I very highly doubt Williams, Lotus or Force India are going to out-aero Mercedes. The only team who realistically could challenge are Red Bull, but all of this could well be dependent on whether Renault have upped their game or not. It is way too early to say where McLaren are with their Honda package. We simply do not know with them right now.

    I’m sorry to say it, but I fear that the first half of the season at least will be much of the same from 2014 in terms of having a championship duel.

    1. As someone who likes the rivalry at Merc, I won’t be sorry nor fearful if at least the first half of the season is more of the same.

    2. The whole season will be a repeat. I can’t see how they can make it more exciting, there all driving slower to conserve fuel, the cars are too heavy starting on full tanks and the drivers are not pushing because they cannot push the car. It’s like watching a prius racing series.

  11. How do we know that McLaren Honda aren’t gonna turn up with their new package and blow everyone away (including mercedes)? You never know…

    1. @3dom – because I’ve been a McLaren fan for 12 years now and optimistic every pre-season only to be increasingly disappointed as the season unfolds ;)

      1. Well @fletchuk at least they finished last season strongly which gives a glimmer of hope for you, they are obviously understanding where to gain performance under the regulations, and bring a works team will be of advantage. Testing is exciting due to the anticipation and the unknown, optimism is good. You never know… ;-)

        1. @3dom – yup the familiar old cycle of hope -> concern -> despair -> hope :)

          agreed testing this year more interesting/exciting than previous years… doh, that’s the hope creeping in again ;)

    2. We don’t “know” this, however given that Mclaren already had the best engine on the grid in 2014 and were unable to compete at the front says a lot. We already know from what has been said repeatedly about this years car that is has been developed around last years car, the chassis, the aero etc.. They were developing the car this year with next year in mind, testing new parts etc… so not only do Honda have to come up with an engine that matches the Merc so they have as much power & performance as last year, but Mclaren also have to come up with a chassis and an aero package that can compete and beat the Merc.

      Asking all this in the short months that have passed since last season, given that this years car isn’t going to be an all new creation for the Honda partnership, but more of a marriage between old and new, it would be a MASSIVE surprise is Mclaren are up the front of the grid consistently this year.

      At the moment, it would seem that the only thing Mclaren will of actually changed dramatically is what was their strongest element of the car, Their PU.

      F1 history has been full or surprises, however Mclaren as of lately..Well they haven’t been.

      1. Actually the arrival of Prodromou from RBR has made a difference for McLaren aero. They’ve been improving well in the late season

    3. I wouldn’t be amazed to find they’re the second-fastest team.

      1. @lockup I too would be amazed. That said, @woodyd91 I personally am not surprised that Mac couldn’t do what, on paper, they perhaps should have been able to do with the Merc PU. Should they have ever been expected to beat the factory team? I have come to the conclusion from last year and what we gleaned about the new cars, that it is about the marriage of chassis and PU to the degree that I think they should actually be thought of as one. I think they are somewhere beyond one part making a good chassis, the other a good PU, and putting them together and there should be good odds of a decent car. I think it is about the marriage more than ever, so it will be about how the Honda PU and the 2015 Mac will do together collectively…doesn’t matter that they didn’t do much with last years Mac with a Merc in it. Doesn’t matter the degree of difference from this years chassis to last (the rules haven’t changed much to alter the cars much anyway so no surprise it’s an extension of last years car). From here on in it is about what McHonda can do. Whatever they’ve done to the new car, it must work in sync with the PU.

        I even think that they could have a slightly worse chassis, and a slightly worse PU, (worse than Merc on both counts I mean) but they working in sync could make for them being a formidable opponent. Give them some balance, and some predictability under braking, which is so tied in with the PU, and who knows? Not trying to say the odds don’t look stacked against them, but we won’t know til we know. I also don’t believe it comes down to simply more HP, like Horner at times has implied was RBR (only) problem. SV would not have been handled as he was by DR if their only problem vs Merc was 50-70 HP. I don’t think SV ever felt comfortable under braking. When all is said and done and a bit of time has gone by it will be fascinating to hear what Mac was concentrating on with Honda for this year’s marriage, based on what they learned last year.

        1. Yeah I agree I think integration, integration, integration is a lesson Mac and Honda will have learned from 2014 @robbie. I’m wondering how much difference Peter Prodromou will have made, too.

          Also no Sam Michael can only help IMO. Change of mindset with Ronster, and also Fernando. Let’s see.

  12. Now that the teams can spend their 32 tokens throughout the year rather than all by 28th February. It will be a slow burn of tokens which will hand the advantage to Mercedes in the first half of the season. By which time Mercedes will have accumulated a ‘shed load’ of points. They can spend some tokens on reliability, which the others cannot afford as they need to develop.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      19th January 2015, 20:20

      They do not need ‘tokens’ for reliability upgrades! [FIA Sporting Regulations – appendix 4 1.c)]

    2. All the the lifting of restriction has done is give them more time, I’m pretty sure Renault & even Ferrari would of found enough improvements during last years season to spend their tokens 5 times over. I don’t really think time is a massive issue, but rather the amount of upgrades they can introduce. Now they have time to see if they can gain more performance on every token they spend, But Merc also have this luxury now.

      Game changer? I doubt it, more like a political statement from the other’s on grid to Mercedes. Just my POV anyway.

    3. Apparently Toto Wolff has spoken of potentially withholding the spending of some tokens to as late as September in order to introduce some 2016 components earlier. This would give them greater long-term gains, as they would be able to get more performance from the same amount of tokens (even if it means bringing them in later). If they have anywhere near the advantage in 2015 as they did last year, then they can probably afford to have this approach while still having enough in hand to win both championships.

      @woodyd91 It’s only rumours, but I’ve heard that one of the biggest reasons behind Ferrari and Renault pushing for a mid-season upgrade is because they wouldn’t have been able to introduce a split-turbo concept by the 28th February deadline. It allegedly took Mercedes almost 2 years to perfect because it requires the shaft connecting the compressor and the turbine to have zero flex, or there could be catastrophic results (
      Supposedly Ferrari and Renault are aiming to introduce the concept by around mid-season. Even if this means losing out on many points in the first half of the season, it will have benefits not just for 2015, but also significant long term benefits due to being more efficient with how they spend their tokens. This approach may be required in order for them to mount any sort of title challenge in 2016 (and beyond).

  13. I think a lot of work on engine upgrades this year will be to flatten the torque curve for better traction whilst moderately raising hp by about 100bhp, last years W05 was very pointy in the corners so I expect the front wing change will have almost no impact on the W06

    1. Renault won’t be able to do anything this year, they don’t even have reliability with their weak power unit (did), Ferrari might get more extended range, but they will probably down on power, and Mercedes will still be 1-1.5 seconds faster than anyone else. Honda will probably be somewhere between Renault and Ferrari, maybe even behind Renault. Should be interesting to see how many laps Honda can manage by the end of the first test.

  14. Another bring year in F1 to look forward to. Mercedes zooming off at 2 seconds a lap and everyone else falling in line 2 by two afterwards. How thrilling.

    Why don’t they bring back refueling just to mix it up? They can still keep the stupid fuel restrictions

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