The Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas team returned to the track this week when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both took turns behind the wheel of the team’s new 2015 car, the W06-Hybrid, at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Preparations for the 2015 F1 World Championship season are now well under way with Jerez hosting the first four-day pre-season test before two further tests take place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona later this month.
Having dominated last year’s World Championship, engineers at the team’s Brackley workshop have been working hard to produce a new car that will be as competitive as the 2014 model, and the fruits of their work has been presented as the W06-Hybrid.
The V6 turbocharged hybrid car was shaken down by both drivers at Silverstone last week, before being transported to Spain for four days of testing and development.
The car ran well despite not topping the timesheets, although the Mercedes crew did encounter some teething problems. Hamilton said: “Early indications are good.
“The car felt very similar to the 2014 world championship-winning car, but we have had a few little problems which stopped us completing quite as much running as we would have liked.
Rosberg said: “The car felt good to drive and I am very happy that we now have the test season underway. Once we start testing everything seems more real, if I can put it like that, and we can focus on the year ahead.
“I think everyone has done a great job with the W06 and I am now looking ahead to the next test in Barcelona. That should give us further indications of where we are alongside the other teams.”
Ferrari-powered cars led the way throughout the test, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen clocking fast times for Scuderia Ferrari, while F1 newcomer Felipe Nasr was fast for the Sauber-Mercedes team.
Rosberg added: “The pace of the Ferrari-powered cars was maybe surprising, but we have seen things in testing before. The F1 world moves very quickly and I am sure the second test will see cars level out.
“Mercedes-Benz are working very hard to provide the very best powerplant in F1.”
The Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team skipped taking part in the Jerez test due to the delay of their VJM08-Mercedes car.
Launched in Mexico two weeks ago, the car is not yet track ready, while Bicester’s Scuderia Toro Rosso did run their new STR10-Renault with both Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. at the wheel.