The much awaited Mercedes W05 was unveiled in Jerez, Spain this morning before testing for the 2014 season began. The car did not disappoint – visually, at least.
Most of the cars unveiled thus far (the only one we haven’t seen at all is the Marussia, which should arrive in Jerez tomorrow) have unsightly phallic protrusions at the end of their noses. According to the experts, that arrangement is aerodynamically optimal. If the experts are right, then Mercedes and Ferrari have got it wrong, because they are the two teams who have designed cars with more conventional nose-ends.
Mercedes has long been known for producing attractive racing cars, and the W05 is certainly that. The nose looks good, which cannot be said for the rest of the field. The livery on the W05 features more black than in previous seasons, but still retains enough of its signature silver to be obviously a Silver Arrow.
What is unknown about the car is its speed and reliability. For the first half of today’s first day of testing, it looked like Lewis Hamilton would easily top the times and cover the most mileage for the day. But then the wheels came off, so to speak. Hamilton’s front wing failed under braking for turn one and he crashed, not too heavily, into the tyre barrier at the end of the main straight.
It will be some comfort to Mercedes that the failure was not related to the engine, or “power unit” as it is now known. But they will still be anxious to sort out the issue that allowed the front wing to fail at high speed.