F1 Racing (UK) - - THE CHAMPION CARS - 2015

Ma­jor reg­u­la­tion changes al­most in­evitably shake up the com­pet­i­tive or­der in For­mula 1, but you can usu­ally ex­pect a de­sign team led by Adrian Newey to de­liver a front-run­ning car in short or­der. Not this time around.

A lack of re­sults in the sea­sons fol­low­ing the buy-out of Brawn GP made the Mercedes board twitchy. Even as team prin­ci­pal Ross Brawn set in place the sys­tems that would yield fu­ture suc­cess, he found himself be­ing el­bowed out. Af­ter co-ex­ist­ing un­easily for a sea­son with the men be­ing groomed to suc­ceed him, Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe, Brawn left in 2013.

The era of teams be­ing led by a sin­gle per­son was com­ing to an end. Mercedes de­clared the role of team prin­ci­pal ob­so­lete: Wolff would take care of busi­ness, Lowe would di­rect the tech­ni­cal and sport­ing side. Lowe’s ar­rival gal­vanised an engi­neer­ing line-up packed with heavy­weight former tech­ni­cal di­rec­tors, in­clud­ing Aldo Costa (ex-fer­rari), Ge­off Wil­lis (ex-wil­liams and Red Bull) and Bob Bell (ex-re­nault).

No won­der Brawn had strug­gled to man­age the board’s ex­pec­ta­tions. But the Mercedes project was about to come good. A tight fo­cus on the new-for-2014 reg­u­la­tions was set to de­liver an un­beat­able pack­age. One of the key fig­ures in­volved in shap­ing the next-gen­er­a­tion of cars was Andy Cow­ell, head of Mercedes-benz High Per­for­mance Pow­er­trains, who de­liv­ered the new hy­brid 1.6-litre V6 turbo power unit.

Cow­ell’s team had not only in­vested more time and money than their ri­vals, they could call on re­source from Mercedes’ road car divi­sion. And, by play­ing a role in the de­sign of the car, they could en­sure that all de­ci­sions and com­pro­mises were made with the aim of max­imis­ing the over­all per­for­mance of the com­plete pack­age.

This is why, at the time of writ­ing, no other Mercedes-pow­ered car has won a grand prix. Mercedes in­du­bitably have the best en­gine, but they con­tinue to have the best car as well. The W05 Hy­brid won all but three races in 2014 and the W06 Hy­brid was sim­i­larly dom­i­nant, net­ting the cham­pi­onship dou­ble.

“With the hy­brid era still in its in­fancy, there is plenty of scope for in­no­va­tion,” said Lowe at the W06 launch. “The chal­lenge is to find the key ar­eas for per­for­mance gain based not just on what we have learned a year down the line, but also on where there is room to ex­plore new and in­no­va­tive sources of com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage.” Chas­sis Sus­pen­sion En­gine

En­gine ca­pac­ity Power out­put Gear­box

Weight Wheel­base Tyres Driv­ers

De­sign­ers Car­bon-fi­bre com­pos­ite and alu­minium mono­coque Dou­ble wish­bones, pushrod ac­tu­ated springs and dampers (front) and pull­rod ac­tu­ated springs and dampers (rear) Mercedes PU106B V6 Hy­brid 1,600cc 750-800bhp Mercedes 8-speed semi-au­to­matic 702kg N/A Pirelli Lewis Hamil­ton, Nico Ros­berg Aldo Costa, Ge­off Wil­lis, Paddy Lowe

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