The Mercedes AMG Petronas team launched their latest beast the W08, on the 23rd of February. Right from the start, they introduced a number of tweaks to the car, both physical and mechanical, visible and not so visible. They added a new aero package to the W08 during the second Barcelona test along with a revamped front wing. The Brackley unit have added so many bits and bobs that we may expect a rocket instead of a car.
However, Mercedes are not resting on their laurels just yet. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that their rivals have closed the gap. In the pre season test, Ferrari had gained a lot of ground and were lapping seven-tenths faster. “What we’ve seen from Barcelona is that the margins at the front of the field have shrunk,” said Wolff. “We’ll see how that pans out in Melbourne, because we still don’t know about the fuel loads, weights or power settings of the other cars.”But we take every one of our rivals seriously and respect every team’s ability to find that magic bullet. They are all full of very clever people – the best in the world in their fields.We have done the best job we possibly could over the winter and, if we are not the fastest in Melbourne, then it’s about finding out why and what needs to be done to get us back to that top spot. It’s a challenge we will take on with great motivation and energy. Setbacks can provide a long-term opportunity because you constantly need to improve yourself.”
Looking ahead to Australia in the coming week, the German marquee dismissed rumours that the team was hampered by a crankshaft problem. the problem could have meant that they would have to delay using the latest power unit. But the team have said that that is not the case, they are very much on target with their plans to run the engine specification tested by their drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.