SILVERSTONE, England – Seventy-five days after the last race of the 2019 season, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team took to the track Friday to complete the first laps with the team’s new car for upcoming season.
The Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance turned laps Friday morning at the Silverstone Circuit with Valtteri Bottas behind the wheel. Lewis Hamilton turned his first laps in the car Friday afternoon.
“2020 will be particularly challenging because there will be teams that will put a lot of focus on 2020 and there will be teams that will start to shift their resources into 2021. Getting that balance right will very important, but that’s not an easy thing to do,” said Toto Wolff. “Our ambition is clear: we want to be competitive in both 2020 and 2021. That is a great challenge, but the greater the challenge, the more we like it.”
Named Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance. As part of the strategy of Mercedes-AMG, EQ Performance stands for the brand’s future Mercedes-AMG performance hybrid models. The EQ Performance designation places the car and its hybrid power unit at the forefront of the future Mercedes-AMG line-up. W11 represents the fact that this is the eleventh Mercedes-made Formula One car since the three-pointed star returned to Formula One as a works team in 2010.
“The atmosphere this year is very calm, very focused – we all know that there’s a job to do and results to be delivered in order to meet our own expectations, so we’re working hard to try and prepare in the best way possible,” said Wolff. “We feel no sense of entitlement to win races or championships, we know that we need to fight extremely hard for that as we had to in every year. This has been our mindset from the beginning.”
Today’s running constitutes an official 100 km filming day, which the team also uses as a final systems check before the first pre-season test in Barcelona. This initial test and filming day is known as the shakedown and takes place at the 2.98 kilometre Silverstone International Circuit.
Both drivers were eager to get back into the car after their winter break, which included intensive training to prepare for the upcoming season.
“It’s a real privilege for Valtteri and myself to be the only people who get to drive this machine and I’m really looking forward to stretching its legs,” said Hamilton. “I’ve been in constant communications with the engineers, trying to keep an eye on everything that was happening at the factory. Today is a really exciting day – finally seeing in person what this team has worked towards so hard. As a driver, you’re just itching to get back into the car.”
“The first time I came to the factory this was quite a few weeks ago for a number of meetings with the engineers and we’ve been in touch since then,” said Bottas. “It’s been really interesting for me to get more and more involved, learning about all the new features of our weapon for this year’s fight. Developing and building a new car is never straight-forward, it’s a huge effort by every single team member to deliver this year on year. Now things really kick off and I’m very excited to finally get the chance to drive the new car. I’ve been waiting to get back behind the wheel.”
“The shakedown has always been important, but it is particularly precious this year. It’s our last chance to make sure all is well ahead of the first official day of Winter Testing. If all goes well in the shakedown then we will be well placed to roll out the garage at nine o’clock in Barcelona and just start hitting the laps,” said James Allison, Technical Director. “With a shorter winter testing program, that last ticking everything off at the shakedown is proportionally more important so we are determined to squeeze every drop of goodness from it that we can.”