The car was launched during a filming day at the Jerez circuit, a day out from the first official test of 2013, and also took the opportunity to announce a new sponsorship deal with phone company Blackberry, whose logos featured prominently on the car and the drivers race suits.
A vanity panel was in place to cover the stepped nose and the team reverted back to the Coanda exhaust system, despite initially getting rid of the system towards the end of 2012. Despite these changes, the car once again remains similar in appearance to the 2012 model, with obvious changes once again happening inside as team principal Ross Brawn points out.
“Many thousands of hours of work have been invested by our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth to ensure that the new car delivers a step change in performance compared to last season,” Brawn said. “2013 marks the start of a second era for our Silver Arrows works team. The restructuring we undertook at the team over the past 18 months are now growing in maturity and this is reflected in the F1 W04, which is a clear step forward in design and detail sophistication over its predecessor.”
Brawn also was quick to sing the praises of his driver line-up.
“We are also hugely proud to welcome Lewis to the team as a works Mercedes-Benz driver. With Lewis and Nico, we have what I believe to be the strongest driver line-up in Formula One and I know that a healthy level of competition between them both will help drive the team forward.”
After a season of speculation of where he would be driving in the 2013 season, Lewis Hamilton walked around proudly in his new Mercedes attire and while he spent the morning watching his team-mate in the car, he got his first chance at the wheel of his new toy in the afternoon. Hamilton spoke of his excitement to be part of the team and for the season ahead.
“I am [excited] I could barely sleep last night!” he said. “It’s quite an exciting day for us – the launch of a new car – and to be team-mates with Nico; we were just saying how crazy it is because we used to be team-mates back in 2000 when we were go-karting so it’s a dream for me to be back here as his team-mate. It looks beautiful. It’s a lovely car, I’m just excited to get in it … I’m just really excited to get in and see what it feels like.”
Nico Rosberg is entering his fourth season with the team and goes into 2013 confident after finally breaking through for his first victory in 2012 at the Chinese Grand Prix. He has been open in the past about Hamilton coming to the team and spoke last October about being confident he has what it takes to bring it to the 2008 World Champion.
“I enjoy these sort[s] of challenges. I am generally very confident that I will do a good job. That was my approach with Michael too,” he said last year.
With all the talk and hype around the team ahead of the season, it’ll be interesting to see how they cope and whether or not the big money move made by Hamilton will pay off or be something he will live to regret for the rest of his F1 career.
(Images copyright Sutton Images)