[F1 2018 NEWS FEATURE] MERCEDES: TOP MARQUE

It’s now eight years since Mercedes launched its first challenger, the W01, at the marque’s Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

… with seven-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher and future title winner Nico Rosberg rolling out the new Silver Arrow.

Fast forward through the exit of Schumi and the arrival of Lewis Hamilton to 2018, and the squad has dominated the turbo-hybrid era.

…winning all F1 drivers’ and constructors’ World Championships, 63 of the 79 races victories and 71 pole positions since 2014. Red Bull and Ferrari the only other teams with wins, 16 races between them during that time.

2018 begins with the same optimism, despite its rivals progress last year, and the heavy workload to deliver the car pre-season.

SOUNDBITE (English) TOTO WOLFF,
HEAD OF MOTORSPORT, MERCEDES:
“We’ve had a good winter, I would say. No real drama. But there is always stress within the organisation at that time of the year.”

And like last year, Mercedes launched and shook down its new car, the W09, at Silverstone – where four-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton admitted finding the motivation to equal Juan Manuel Fangio on five titles didn’t come easy… 

SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON, 
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“It’s not as simple as just writing it down. You have to really try and figure out where you are going to find the determination and the drive. And yeah, I would say, only in the last couple of days, I saw something about being up there potentially with Fangio. So, that is quite an exciting prospect.”

While Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas knows he needs to up his game to stay with the team for 2019 and beyond – despite three strong race wins last year taken under heavy pressure.

SOUNDBITE (English) VALTTERI BOTTAS,
F1 DRIVER, MERCEDES:
"Last year there were many race weeks [when] I wasn't on the level that I should have been and wanted to be. Alongside Lewis again, with everything I learnt last year, it's going to be an interesting season ahead. And I feel that I have better chances this year than last year."

But should those chances include a title battle with Hamilton, the Finn can count on his teammate not getting drawn into any off-track skirmishes – the memory of former teammate Nico Rosberg still haunting him.

SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON, 
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
"Honestly I don't play mind games. I just drive faster. Simple.”

It’s hoped that the new car, which Hamilton hailed as a “work of art,” given its sculptured rear end and intricate front suspension, will take the marque to its fifth-straight title double.