The new Mercedes W04 is unveiled by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Jerez
Lewis helps take the wraps off his first non-McLaren car
By Pete Gill and William Esler
Last Updated: 05/02/13 9:51am
Looking relaxed and refreshed, a smiling Hamilton and Rosberg stood side-by-side as the wraps came off the new car which carries their hopes of lifting the team into the ranks of the sport's elite.
"I am so excited I couldn't sleep last night," exclaimed Hamilton. "It looks a beautiful car, I'm really excited about getting into it and finding out what it feels like.
"It's the start of a new chapter for me, a new adventure, and when I walked through the doors in Brackley, I was so excited to get down to work. I've been at the factory for a few days now, getting to know the guys, meeting my mechanics and engineers, learning myself into the team and I have never seen a group of people that is hungrier for success than this one."
However, despite the days in the factory, Hamilton admits he has had little opportunity to influence the car's design.
"I've had barely a finger on it yet, it won't be until I drive it that I can actually say how it feels," he told Sky Sports News.
"The simulator is one thing, but the correlation is always different and it won't be until after the next couple of days that we can start to get a feel for it and I can see what direction I want to push the guys in.
"I'm heading into this with an open book, a blank sheet and I really don't know what to expect. I just hope it has lots of downforce."
Hamilton and Rosberg were joined at the launch by recently-appointed Executive Director Toto Wolff and, perhaps more pertinently, Ross Brawn, the Mercedes team boss whose future has been subject to fevered speculation in recent weeks.
According to Brawn, the W04 is "a clear step forward in design and detail sophistication over its predecessor."
It features a new five-element front wing design and a second-generation Coanda exhaust at the rear while retaining a pushrod front suspension and a pullrod rear suspension.
Unlike the Lotus E21, the first of the 2013 cars to be revealed, the new Mercedes also wears a small modesty panel after the team disovered a 'small gain' from its use during aerodynamic testing.
"2013 marks the start of a second era for our Silver Arrows works team," said the Team Principal.
"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. 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.
"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."
The launch of the car has proved to be something of a piecemeal event, with the team's website providing the first glimpse of the W04 on Saturday night and this Monday's official launch preceded by the car's shakedown in front of the early arrivals at Jerez.
It's official debut will take place on Tuesday morning when the first test of the winter commences at the Spanish circuit.
The 2013 car launches
Lotus - January 28th, Enstone.
McLaren - January 31st, Woking.
Force India - February 1st, Silverstone.
Ferrari - February 1st, Maranello.
Sauber - February 2nd, Hinwil.
Red Bull - February 3rd, Milton Keynes.
Mercedes - February 4th, Jerez.
Toro Rosso - February 4th, Jerez.
Caterham - February 5th, Jerez.
Marussia - February 5th, Jerez.
Williams - February 19th, Barcelona.