Mercedes have revealed the car they hope can defend the world championship's they won so dominantly in 2014; the W06 Hybrid.
The new Silver Arrow completed just under 50km at a freezing Silverstone before snow brought the filming day/ shakedown to a premature end. Both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton got an early feel for their new machine ahead of the first official test in Jerez which begins on Sunday.
Another new nose design
As with all the cars the most notable change is the front nose which, despite having one of more normal looking designs last year, still didn't comply with the new 2015 regulations.
On the W06 the nose design can best be compared to the new Lotus E23 with a relatively steep drop from the end of the chassis to a square-shaped tip, but the 'letterbox' between the front wing beams is much more square than the W05 as the whole nose section becomes narrow as it approaches the tip ala the new McLaren MP4-30.
New look, big expectations
As expected, the rear bodywork and monkey seat are quite basic with the full design not being publicly displayed until Jerez, but with an extra bulge where the sidepods meet the engine cover and also re-profiled sidepod intakes the W06 does look quite a bit different from the predecessor that was so successful last year.
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And indeed the new Mercedes does have a lot riding on it as the W05 won 16 of the 19 races in 2014.
Most expect the Silver Arrow dominance to continue this year, with further upgrades to the already pacesetting V6 turbo hybrid adding at least another 50 horsepower. But the W05 wasn't just quick because of the engine, it was also one of the leading cars aerodynamically and ensuring that remains true with the W06 will be the key to staying ahead of the chasing pack.
Hamilton vs Rosberg round two?
If the new car can continue Mercedes' run at the top then we can look forward to round two between Hamilton and Rosberg. Last year Hamilton was simply too good for his rival, winning 11 races and easing to the Championship in the final race in Abu Dhabi, This year, however, there is a great debate over whether Rosberg can bounce back.
Will Hamilton move his form into a different level as Sebastian Vettel did once he claimed his first title over Mark Webber or will Rosberg learn from 2014 and up his game as well?
Pretty F1 is back... almost
A final note, however, is that the Mercedes W06 is the fifth car launched for 2015, and with the exception perhaps of Williams' 'tongue' nose all of them have seen a return to the beautiful pieces of design that F1 should be all about.
While it may not guarantee the remaining four cars to be revealed (Ferrari and Sauber on Friday and the two Red Bull teams in Jerez) will also feature aesthetically pleasing designs, it's nice to not have to jump behind the sofa every time we see what is attached to the front end of a modern F1 car.
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