Champions Mercedes unveil new car

SILVERSTONE, England: New driver Valtteri Bottas and three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton took to the track in Silverstone on Thursday as Mercedes unveiled their car for the 2017 Formula One season.
The sleek W08 is the latest car to be revealed as teams prepare for the opening pre-season test in Barcelona from Monday.
“Yesterday was the first time I saw (the car) together,” the BBC quoted Hamilton as saying. “It is the most detailed piece of machinery I have seen in F1.”
“This is not an actual test — it’s just a few laps to make sure the car will run. But I was able to go faster in the last couple of laps.”
“It feels almost identical to last year’s car in terms of ergonomics but you have this bigger, more powerful beast around you.”
Mercedes have dominated the last three seasons in F1 but rivals hoped rule changes would cut into the advantage earned by having the most powerful engine.
The carefully staged managed launches prove little with the fruits of everyone’s labours being made public first in Barcelona next week and later in the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix on March 26.
“The new rules for 2017 were designed to make the fastest F1 cars ever through a big increase in aerodynamic performance,” Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff said. “They should be more physical to drive and hopefully more spectacular for the fans to watch.”
“The proof will come in the opening races but we have probably achieved that target.’’
“Of course, in terms of relative performance, it’s clear that any rule change brings with it a big reset but also a big opportunity.”
“This is the time to stay humble and keep our feet on the ground. None of the teams has raced under these rules and we all have the same points right now: zero.”
Finnish driver Bottas moved from Williams to Mercedes in January to replace Nico Rosberg, who retired after winning the 2016 championship. This coming season will be the first without Rosberg at Mercedes since they returned to the sport as a works’ team in 2010.
“I’ve been waiting for a long time to get this car out on track and, although this is just a filming Day, I’m looking forward to starting to test properly next week in Barcelona and to really understand the car that we’ve been given,” Bottas said.
“It has been a busy winter for me since signing with Mercedes and we have tried to make the most of the time we have had.”
Bottas is yet to win a Grand Prix though has managed nine podiums with Williams. Hamilton, in contrast, is one of the most successful drivers in the sports’ history and chasing a fourth title overall after losing his crown to Rosberg.
“This is the most exciting period of the year when the car comes together — and my privilege as a driver is then to get to feel what it’s like and what all the team has worked for,” said Hamilton.
“There’s not too much point setting goals until we’ve really driven the car, so I’m going to go with the flow until we understand the possibilities.”— dpa