The Silver Arrows are primed, ready for more glory – and, on a record run, looking to equal Ferrari’s six-straight constructors’ titles.
Mercedes has dominated Formula 1’s endlessly complex turbo-hybrid era, a fact that won’t have escaped fans of the sport.
The German marque has led the way since 2014, winning 74 per cent of the races and 84 per cent of the poles. Its dominance even stronger than Ferrari at its best between 2000 and 2004, and Red Bull Racing.
… culminating in five-straight championship doubles, Hamilton taking four of the last five, Rosberg the 2016 crown. A purple patch that still boggles the minds of all at Brackley and Brixworth.
SOUNDBITE (English) TOTO WOLFF,
HEAD OF MOTORSPORT, MERCEDES:
“Who would have thought a few years ago that we [Mercedes] would be able to hold a celebration with a fifth-consecutive double [World] Championship title?”
But the push for 2019 is now well-underway, and manufacturer teams like Mercedes can go far further than their smaller rivals…
… drilling deep into its operation for marginal gains that add up, such as the movement of the mechanics at a Grand Prix and during pit stops.
SOUNDBITE (English) TULSHI VARSANI,
FITNESS COACH, HINTSA PERFORMANCE:
“So basically what we look at is each individual person, depending upon where they’re working on the car - we try and look at how they’re moving, because they’re on their feet a lot during the race weekends. So what we try and look at is the amount of stress they’re accumulating in their job, and then how much stress that we need to do with their training sessions.”
The race team will not only be incredibly fit, but also motivated to continue the golden run of success, following Hamilton’s rousing call to arms at the end of 2018 – with Michael Schumacher’s record 91 wins and seven titles now within reach.
SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
5-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“Please try and think of how you can better yourselves, be better individually and together with the guys that you’re working next to, ‘cos that’s what I’m trying to think of, how I can deliver more for you next year. So, when they bring more power, when they bring more energy, we bring even more. So let’s make sure we do that.”
But, while Hamilton heads into the new season relaxed and confident, his teammate Valtteri Bottas is under immense pressure after a winless 2018 – with team boss Toto Wolff saying he must “perform on a level with Lewis”.
And the Finn has vowed to not hold back in 2019…
“I just want to go for it and drive like I stole it, like it's my last race, last day ever,” Bottas said. “That's a good plan.”
Bottas must succeed, with Esteban Ocon pushing to replace him in 2020 – the Mercedes protégé without a drive after an unprecedented silly season, which sees eight of the 10 teams with new driver combinations.
…and the Frenchman is highly rated within Mercedes and the F1 paddock, as a future rival to Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
Even after he blotted his copybook in Brazil last year, attempting to unlap himself from the Dutch young gun - and causing a collision.
There’s certainly plenty to play for in 2019 as the dominant Silver Arrows push to continue their iron-rule…
One that would cement their place as one of the great teams in Formula 1, the steel-strength benchmark of the turbo-hybrid era.