Brawn has high hopes for Mercedes
February 24, 2012
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has boldly predicted his team's latest car will achieve the results long demanded by the manufacturing giant.
Brawn, along with drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, on Tuesday unveiled the team's latest challenger, the W03, ahead of the second pre-season test in Barcelona.
The hope and belief is the car will finally rival the likes of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari after two years as an also-ran behind the leading trio.
After winning the drivers' and constructors' titles with Brawn's own eponymously-named team in 2009, and following the subsequent takeover by Mercedes soon after, 2010 and 2011 were not what the German company were expecting.
That prompted a technical recruitment drive last year with a trio of big names in Bob Bell, Aldo Costa and Geoff Willis all arriving and expectations rising for Mercedes.
"The F1 W03 is a car I believe, and hope, our team can be proud of, and which will deliver the on-track results that everybody has worked so hard to achieve.
"Notwithstanding the distinctive nose design, which is certainly an acquired taste, the car is an elegant interpretation of the current regulations, and a clear step forward over its predecessor in terms of detail design and sophistication.
"Last year we produced a very bold car and, although its more radical elements didn't always deliver the results we had hoped for, the experience we gained has been invaluable to the design of the 2012 car.
"This car is also a more integrated package, and demonstrates that our Silver Arrows works team is taking the next step forward in terms of on-track performance."
As the last of the front-runners to be revealed - Mercedes ran their 2011 car in the first test in Jerez to evaluate Pirelli's new tyres - it had been expected their design would be a departure from their rivals.
But there were no apparent features different to other cars, leaving Mercedes eight days of official testing before the first race in Australia to fine tune.
After completing 100kms in an allowed filming day at Silverstone on Friday, and a further 354kms in a private test at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday, it was down to business on Tuesday.
Evaluating the latest design, Rosberg said: "We have had a good start to our 2012 testing programme, and it was a great feeling to drive the first laps in the new car.
"It looks good, and is very nicely packaged under the bodywork. All the parts are in harmony, which reflects how well the different departments of our team are working together.
"From the beginning of our running, we have been able to focus on understanding the car and making good progress with our test programme.
"It will be very interesting to learn more about where we stand in the next few weeks."
As for Schumacher, who will complete the first full day of testing in Barcelona on Tuesday, all eyes will again be on the 43-year-old seven-times champion.
Schumacher's two years in the sport since stepping out of retirement have predominantly been a disappointment, albeit in a car that has failed to hit the front.
But ahead of the new season the German appears up for the fight as he said: "I have done quite a few roll-outs and launches of new cars, but even after all these years, I must say it still feels special.
"Days like this are precious moments, as they are always filled with hope and anticipation.
"Already last week, when we drove the car for the very first time, it instantly gave us good feedback and sensations.
"Starting today [Tuesday], we will work intensively to make it a competitive runner.
"For my part I am eager to fight again, I am looking forward to the new season, and I can't wait for it to begin."