Compare Mercedes’ new W09 with its 2017 car

2018 F1 season

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This is the car they all want to beat. The Mercedes W09 is expected to lead the field once again and it’s easy to see why.

The team has had the best power unit since the current engine regulations arrived in 2014. And while it didn’t hit the ground running 12 months ago as successfully as it did in the three previous seasons, Mercedes made excellent progress with its W08 and ended the year in strong shape.

For 2018 the team has had the opportunity to correct some of the vexing characteristics of its last car. So how does the world champions’ new machine compare outwardly to its predecessor?

Use the slider below to transition between images of Ferrari’s new SF71H and last year’s SF70H. Note some images may have been altered for ease of comparison and should not be used as a reference for measurements.

Mercedes W09 and W08: Front

The high level of refinement in the initial aerodynamic package on the W09 is clear to see. Although the basic shape of the front wing and barge boards is little changed the details on them have progressed.

Some of this work took place during the course of last year, notably the distinctive scoop beneath the front nose which arrived as part of the W08’s first major upgrade package during last season.

While the trend elsewhere in the field has been towards larger air intakes Mercedes already had a fairly substantial one which has grown own slightly during the off-season.

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Mercedes W09 and W08: Three-quarter

Mercedes W09
Mercedes W09
Mercedes W08, 2017
Mercedes W08, 2017

One of the most striking developments in the new W09 is how efficiently Mercedes has packaged the rear of the car. The bulge around the power unit is noticeably smaller compared to last year.

A key benefit enjoyed by a team like Mercedes, which develops both its chassis and power unit, is that both can be customised to better suit the other. Unlike engine customers who have to make do with whatever they get – a situation McLaren has had to adjust to this year following its split from Honda.

Mercedes W09 and W08: Side

Mercedes W09
Mercedes W09
Mercedes W08, 2017
Mercedes W08, 2017

So far most teams have unveiled cars which bear close resemblance to their predecessors, with Williams and Sauber notable exceptions. Mercedes is another which has kept the core aerodynamic philosophy of its predecessor.

Unusually, made a point of indicating it has retained the long wheelbase which set their 2017 car apart from the opposition. Some expected Mercedes to move closer to the competition, but clearly they believe they can make this design concept work more consistently than it did last year.

2018 F1 season

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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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17 comments on “Compare Mercedes’ new W09 with its 2017 car”

  1. Yeah, but that a comparison between 1 version of 2017 with fresh rolled 2018. It would be much accurate to compare Abu Dhabi Merc with new 2018 but still great fun.

  2. Apart from the Halo, the W09 doesn’t really look any different compared to its predecessor.

    1. if it ain’t broken…

    2. You missed the nose, starting from the Halo till the frontwing i guess?

      1. @erikje No, I didn’t, LOL.

    3. Yeah, I mean, other than the entire front end being almost completely different aerodynamically, they’re very similar.

      There’s a massive amount of refinement in all of the “black” areas, and some fairly serious tightening up of the rear end.

      The two cars are superficially similar, but the W09 has a whole lot of fiddly bits that the W08 lacked.

      I’m guessing you don’t do well at the “spot the difference” picture puzzles?

  3. Why change a winning formula right?

  4. Wow, considering that looks like the launch spec W08 they are even more similar than I realised.

  5. Deliberately undeveloped, save money, allow competition to try catch up and beat you…

    If they win again that just shows how far ahead they’ve been all along.

  6. @keithcollantine Umm… The title of the article? Compare Mercedes’ new W09 with its 2018 car.
    You mean 2017, right? :p

    1. Also

      Use the slider below to transition between images of Ferrari’s new SF71H and last year’s SF70H. Note some images may have been altered for ease of comparison and should not be used as a reference for measurements.

      Just copy paste things :)

  7. Complete front suspension redesign is no change at all? It is very obvious that slightly elevated axis of roll is there to counteract additional halo weight and sort out ‘diva’ behaviour. In my opinion RBR went to far in doing so. Let’s see who got it right. Can’t wait ’till Monday!!!

  8. People saying there isn’t much change since last year aren’t paying close enough attention to detail I think. I haven’t been a major fan of the Mercs’ aesthetics the past years, but in the profile shot here, the new car is very elegant – the rear is crazy tight and even the halo looks aggressive.

    1. I think what they mean is that the W09 looks very similar to the W08 which finished last season in Abu Dhabi.

      these shots are from the launch of both cars so obviously will be very different. but if you compare the W09 to last year’s fully developed W08, it’s pretty much an evolution and refinement, nothing more

  9. Is it just me, or does the front wing look EXACTLY the same as 2017??
    If it is the same, are they gonna introduce the new one in testing?

    1. I had the same thought, can’t be the real thing I would say. It also stuns be how messy it looks from the front with all those little wings and the addition of halo.

    2. @sbannamalai Indeed. The cars usually change from their first presentation until they are finally at the first race. Especially the aero parts. It’s not like they are going to show their new front wing at their first presentation. The new aero parts usually only appear somewhere during testing.

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