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AMG Mercedes Petronas Launches Wo8 Defender In England

Photo by Mark Sutton/ Sutton Images

Photo by Mark Sutton/ Sutton Images

In a media day with cold winds and overcast skies, defending driver and constructor champions Mercedes AMG Petronas took the veils off their Wo8 defender Thursday morning at the Silverstone International Circuit in Silverstone, England.

While the morning itself was made for the unveiling of the car, the afternoon was made for both Lewis Hamilton and his new teammate, Valterri Bottas to get a few slow laps in to shake down the car. Unlike some of the models that have been introduced so far, the Wo8 features only a small shark fin on the run down to the rear wing assembly. From its recent seasons, the car features a narrow nose design and it has a bigger floor along with a huge s-duct outlet compared to past models.

Although despite the sweeping and radical changes to this season’s cars, many believe that the Mercedes will be in the benchmark as the top runner for the season, with some threats from Sahara Force India that they have made some upgrades to it Mercedes V-6 turbo engine. The Wo8 remains with one thing: it continues to have its mostly silver car with a tad in aqua, dedicated to its main sponsor, The Petronas Oil Company of Malaysia.

However, for this season, a few things have been replaced. Former technical director Paddy Lowe has departed for Williams, but will be replaced next month by James Allison, who comes from Ferrari. Of course, by now, everyone knows about Bottas, who replaces current and retired world champion Nico Rosberg, who now has a position as an ambassador to the team.

However, will Bottas just hold back and assist his leader Hamilton for another world championship? It does not seem likely, especially after the team had to go through much trouble following last year’s collisions at Spain and Austria between Hamilton and Rosberg. The final race at Abu Dhabi had Hamilton slow down towards the end of the race, trying to back up Rosberg towards the oncoming chasers, hoping that Rosberg would fade away and lose his points finish. This was caused by the team issuing Hamilton an order. But this year according to team manager Toto Wolff, is logical for internal guidelines to occur every year.

“That is an internal paper that has grown over the years, with experience.” Stated Wolff to ESPN F1. “Still, when you look at Abu Dhabi it proved to have blank spots. So it’s something you want to continue to do and develop for the benefit of the team, the drivers and the spectators. The basic concept will stay in place, we are maybe going to call it differently and trim it a little bit, add the bits that were missing, but not make it a complex regulation.”

Hamilton and Rosberg were good friends during their advancement leading up to formula one. But after a few seasons, Rosberg was joined by Hamilton at Mercedes, and their relationship became strained because they were the only drivers that were in contention of winning the world title. But Wolff admits that it might not happen this season, since the car is not the outright favorite.

“We have to see how the season gets started anyway, it might be completely different in terms of the dynamics between the drivers and the dynamic with other teams.” Wolff added. “But the basic concept stays, yes.”

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Mark Gero has written formula one racing stories since 2002 on the Internet for such sites as Motorsport.com, Racing Information Service News and for a brief time at the Munich Eye newspaper in Munich, Germany along with Autoweek online. Mark also has a diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism in London, England and in addition a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.