Mercedes launch W08 car as F1 champions aim for four in a row
Defending champions complete shakedown at Silverstone as W08 revealed; Hamilton says new car feels "powerful" after opening laps
Last Updated: 24/02/17 2:12pm
Mercedes have revealed their new W08 car which they hope will lead the team to a fourth successive F1 World Championship double.
Lewis Hamilton and new team-mate Valtteri Bottas each drove the car for the first time as Mercedes completed a shakedown at Silverstone ahead of the start of winter testing next week.
"It is undoubtedly the most detailed car we have ever built as a team," said Hamilton.
After his first on-track drive in the W08, Hamilton described the car as feeling like "a "powerful beast".
The W08 is the successor to the 2016 challenger which claimed a record 19 victories last season.
"The cars look so much better than they have in the past," added the three-time world champion. "I'm really hoping F1 is going to be super exciting this year for the fans and it will be a lot closer between the teams and that us drivers will be able to make more of a difference."
Mercedes have established themselves as F1's dominant force since the switch to hybrid turbo engines three years ago with three successive Drivers' and Constructors' Championships, along with 51 wins from 59 races.
But the shake-up of the technical rules for 2017 is set to pose a renewed threat to their supremacy with rivals Red Bull, in particular, heavily tipped to mount a more sustained push for the world title.
"We had a very successful run the last three years," said team chief Toto Wolff. "We have benefited from a regulation change in 2014 and have put a great team together and developed an amazing car.
"Now the rules have changed and we need to just continue to be concentrated, motivated and understand what needs to be done in order to be competitive. Then more success will come.
"But it's very important that after winning 50-or-so races and three championships you don't think it's just normal - it's not. So our mindset is we are not taking anything for granted.
"It could be that someone makes a very good car and we just need to do a better job than them and rely on our strengths and then success is going to come by winning races and hopefully winning more championships."
Mercedes go into the new season without their world champion driver after Nico Rosberg stunned F1 by quitting the sport within days of winning the 2016 title.
The arrival of Bottas from Williams - a driver who Wolff has described as a near like-for-like replacement for Rosberg - provides Mercedes with another highly-rated talent, but the Finn has yet to win a grand prix.
Who's who at Mercedes in 2017?
|Race driver||Lewis Hamilton|
|Race driver||Valtteri Bottas|
|Non-executive chairman||Niki Lauda|
|Head of motorsport||Toto Wolff|
|Technical director||James Allison (from March 1)|
|Powertrain managing director||Andy Cowell|
|Engineering director||Aldo Costa|
|Technology director||Geoff Willis|
Hamilton, Mercedes' 2014 and 2015 title winner, enters his fifth season at the team and has set his sights on winning the fourth world crown of his career.
Mercedes have also parted ways with technical chief Paddy Lowe over the winter, although pulled off a coup last week by signing James Allison as their new technical director.
Allison, who starts work on March 1, has enjoyed past title-winning success at Ferrari and Renault and will head up Mercedes' technical operation as they bid to retain their status as F1's leading team.
"James is certainly one of the very exciting engineers of Formula 1," said team chief Toto Wolff. "Somebody that we in the organisation know well, we rate him a lot.
"When we discussed him joining the team there was not one single voice that was sceptical about him joining the great group of people here. It's an exciting opportunity."
2017 CAR LAUNCHES
Friday February 17: Williams FW40, Online preview
Monday February 20: Sauber C36
Tuesday February 21: Renault RS17, London
Wednesday February 22: Force India VJM10
Thursday February 23: Mercedes W08
Friday February 24: Ferrari SF70-H;
Friday February 24: McLaren MCL32
Sunday February 26: Red Bull RB13, Online; Haas, Online; Toro Rosso STR12, Barcelona
The first F1 pre-season test starts on Monday February 27 and the Sky Sports F1 Digital team will be providing live commentary from dawn until dusk on all four days while Sky Sports News HQ will also deliver live updates from trackside.