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It’s always said in Formula 1 that a car will always be beautiful so long as it’s fast. But if this were a beauty contest, then the all-new Mercedes W08 for the 2017 season appears to have the early edge. The new Silver Arrow of the reigning champions was unveiled yesterday via a YouTube 360º video ahead of the team’s filming day at Silverstone Circuit.

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New driver Valtteri Bottas, previously with Williams, is with us in praising the W08’s design: “What I really like about this is how clean it looks [despite the] massive amount of detail on the rear end and bargeboards, and how far everything has been taken with this car [in terms of development]. It looks cool.”

The most talked-about characteristic of the W08 is its lack of a pronounced shark fin as seen on the cars of Williams, Sauber, Renault and Force India. Instead, the Mercedes wore a T-wing just in front of the rear wing during its afternoon runs on the track. The front end, too, is the best we’ve seen so far, still with a slender and elegant nose rather than a thumb-tip or an outright duckbill protrusion. The team will run with various aerodynamic configurations during the pre-season tests, and will likely show up with a radically different setup come the season opener in Australia.

Power-unit performance and reliability has also been prioritized by the team, given that Lewis Hamilton suffered a number of race-ending failures in 2016. Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains managing director Andy Cowell says, “there are about six design changes within the engine to improve the bearing system, and three or four quality improvements in the way the power unit is assembled and then looked after through its life.”


“The base architecture of our [Energy Recovery System] is similar to what we started with in 2014,” Cowell adds. “Is it the same for this year? No, it is not. There is improvement in the high-power switches—they are more efficient. There are several improvements in reliability within the box, which means we can run it harder for longer. We are not as vulnerable to having to derate the system for cooling reasons because of heating effects within the module. The MGU-H is completely new as a consequence of the drive-cycle change, and the MGU-K is new as well. It is a big evolution.”

Three-time champion Lewis Hamilton gives his initial driving impressions after a few laps in the W08: “Naturally, the car feels wider, which it is, and the front tires feel huge. There is quite a lot of grip already even in the cold conditions [in Silverstone]. This is not a test, really; the laps I did today were behind a vehicle to get filming in and just a shakedown.”

McLaren and Ferrari will be the next to launch their 2017 cars this week. In the meantime, here are some videos that Mercedes has released to explain the technical changes for 2017, as part of their #SimpliF1ed series:

If you're viewing this on a mobile device and can't see the video, please click here.

If you're viewing this on a mobile device and can't see the video, please click here.

If you're viewing this on a mobile device and can't see the video, please click here.

Sharleen Banzon
Editorial Consultant
An inveterate Formula 1 geek, Sharleen tips the scales at just 50kg because she starves herself to save up for F1 trips.
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Formula 1 Formula 1 car Mercedes AMG Petronas Lewis Hamilton Valtteri Bottas
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