Mercedes gear up for three-in-a-row as Hamil­ton pon­ders ti­tle No.4

The Herald - Herald Sport - - CRICKET, FORMULA ONE - PHILIP DUN­CAN

WORLD cham­pi­ons Mercedes have un­veiled the car they hope will fire them to a hat-trick of con­sec­u­tive For­mula One ti­tles.

Lewis Hamil­ton, win­ner of the last two driver cham­pi­onships, is bid­ding to be­come the first Bri­ton to claim four ti­tles, while his team will aim to strengthen their stran­gle­hold on the sport, which has seen them tri­umph in 32 of the last 38 races.

And with few changes to the sport’s tech­ni­cal reg­u­la­tions over the win­ter, the Sil­ver Ar­rows will be­gin the sea­son, which starts in Mel­bourne on March 20, as the favourites.

The W07, sim­i­lar in ap­pear­ance to its all-con­quer­ing pre­de­ces­sor, will be of­fi­cially rolled out at the Cir­cuit de Catalunya to­day ahead of this week’s four-day win­ter test.

Hamil­ton will take to the wheel first with team­mate Nico Ros­berg tak­ing up test­ing du­ties to­mor­row.

“While the car may look very sim­i­lar to its pre­de­ces­sor from the out­side – as is inherent within sta­ble reg­u­la­tions – un­der­neath there are quite a lot of mini rev­o­lu­tions,” tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Paddy Lowe said. “It’s very tough to find per­for­mance un­der a sta­ble set of reg­u­la­tions and we were par­tic­u­larly pleased with how the car turned out in 2015, when we had the same sit­u­a­tion.”

McLaren, who last year en­dured a dread­ful cam­paign, also lifted the lid on their chal­lenger ahead of to­day’s first win­ter test.

The fa­mous Bri­tish team cob­bled to­gether a pal­try 27 points last term.

And speak­ing on the eve of the first test, McLaren, sport­ing a moody black liv­ery, no­tice­ably steered clear of mak­ing any out­landish pre­dic­tions for the new cam­paign.

Jen­son But­ton, who put his re­tire­ment plans on hold to en­ter a 17th F1 cam­paign, said: “De­spite the ups and downs we saw last year, there were steady im­prove­ments all year long, and that gives us con­fi­dence in the de­sign di­rec­tion we’re tak­ing.”

START ME UP: First look at the car Mercedes hope will lead to another F1 ti­tle

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