Reigning F1 world champions Mercedes have revealed their newest challenger for the 2021 F1 season as they target an unprecedented eighth title. The new car is called the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance, with the team explaining the ‘E Performance’ nomenclature has been added since it’s the “new technology label used in product names and badging on all forthcoming Mercedes-AMG performance hybrid cars – which feature direct cascade technology from F1”.
The W12 will be piloted by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas this season.
- Mercedes-AMG W12 will be Hamilton and Bottas’ 2021 F1 racer
- Features new-spec power unit
- Retains black livery to support diversity
Mercedes’ 2021 F1 racer – the W12 E Performance
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was agreed that development of some key elements of the chassis would be effectively frozen for 2021. But this doesn’t mean that the 2021 cars are identical to their 2020 predecessors. Some key aerodynamic rule changes have been introduced this year to keep downforce in check.
Mercedes says the W12 carries “considerable aerodynamic changes” alongside improvements in other areas like suspension, cooling system and a new-spec power unit.
Last year, the team introduced a new all-black livery to support greater diversity and inclusion in F1. The W12 sports an evolution of that livery, with the black fading into the team’s traditional silver. The red star paying tribute to two-time F1 world champion Niki Lauda continues to feature on the car.
Mercedes F1 Team Principal Toto Wolff states the biggest challenge for the team will perhaps be operating under the newly-introduced cost cap. “We had to change the structure of our team, the way we work with each other, streamline our processes and become more efficient,” he said.
“We will try to ensure that we protect the rate at which we learn how to make the car go faster, but the cost cap will inevitably change the intervals between updates,” added James Allison, the team’s Technical Director.
Hamilton, Bottas continue with Mercedes F1 team
Mercedes happens to be just one of three teams to continue with an unchanged driver line-up for this season. After much delay, seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton finally signed a new contract with the team last month. Statistically, Hamilton has surpassed Michael Schumacher to become the most successful driver in F1 history. With the two parties continuing their dominant partnership in 2021, and with the regulations remaining largely stable, it’s almost certain that Hamilton will cross the extraordinary 100-wins mark this year.
“The launch day of a new car is always a really exciting one,” said Hamilton. “It’s great to reveal to the world the result of everyone’s hard work at the factories and to see some of my team-mates in person, which has been so rare during the past year. I’ve been in touch with the engineers through the winter, keeping track of their preparations as I prepare myself for the season ahead. The excitement has been building and building, so now I just can’t wait to get out on track in the W12.”
Valtteri Bottas will also stay on for what will be his fifth season with Mercedes. With Mercedes junior George Russell waiting in the wings, the pressure is certainly on for him to dial up his performance if he wants to hold on to that seat. Speaking with Autocar India last year, the Finn stated that he doesn’t feel like he’s yet peaked in his abilities as a driver and there’s a lot more to come from him – “I feel like I’m getting better every year. It doesn’t happen automatically, you do have to work for it. But I feel my best years are still ahead.”
2021 F1 season
Pre-season testing gets underway at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 12-14, two weeks before the season-opening Bahrain GP at the same venue on March 28. You can head here to check out the full revised calendar.