Mercedes unveil the new W15 car: A Leap forward for the 2024 F1 season

The W15 will be the final car Lewis Hamilton drives for Mercedes

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In an eagerly awaited reveal, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team launched the W15 E PERFORMANCE, setting a bold course for the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The unveiling not only showcased a car that builds upon the lessons learned over the past challenging seasons but also symbolized the team’s relentless pursuit of returning to the pinnacle of motorsport.

Team Principal Toto Wolff and Technical Director James Allison shared insights into the philosophy behind the W15’s development, emphasizing a blend of innovation and reflection. The car represents a pivotal step in Mercedes‘ journey, with Wolff acknowledging the “mountain to climb” to compete at the front and Allison highlighting the iterative design process that has led to significant improvements over the W14.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W15 E Performance Launch | Mercedes F1 Team / Finn Pomeroy

“We know we have a mountain to climb to fight at the very front. There are no miracles in this sport,” Toto Wolff said in a statement. “But our ambition and determination are strong. Since charting this new course, development has progressed well. 

“We had several items on our priority list for this car. We will soon see if we’ve made the step we’ve aimed for.”

The W15’s debut at Silverstone, shared by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, marked the beginning of a critical testing and development phase. The car’s livery, blending the iconic Mercedes silver with the powerful black of recent years, commemorates the Silver Arrows’ 90th anniversary, reflecting the team’s heritage and future aspirations.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W15 E Performance Launch | Mercedes F1 Team

With a new chassis, gearbox casing, and aerodynamic refinements aimed at efficiency and downforce, the W15 targets the unpredictability issues of its predecessor, particularly around the rear axle. The design team has meticulously worked to ensure a more stable and controllable platform, vital for the drivers to extract maximum performance.

James Allison pointed out the significance of the car’s underfloor aerodynamics—a critical differentiator in the current F1 car generation. This focus, along with improvements in DRS effect and pit stop execution, encapsulates Mercedes‘ strategy to address past shortcomings and innovate within the regulations’ confines.

“A big focus has been on improving the previous car’s unpredictable rear axle,” Allison continued. “We have worked hard to ensure that both axles, but particularly the rear axle, retain better control of the tyre than on the W14. There’s also been some housekeeping on areas in which we had room for improvement, including the DRS effect, and pit stop performance.”

Mercedes-AMG F1 W15 E Performance Launch | Mercedes F1 Team

Driver Optimism and Technical Focus

Hamilton and Russell expressed optimism about the W15’s potential, highlighting the importance of a more predictable and stable car for their performance. 

“The learnings of the past two years have helped us find our direction,” Hamilton said. “It’s enabled us to find our north star. It’s still going to be a work in progress, but we will face whatever challenges present themselves with our heads up, with open minds, and work through diligently.

“If you’re not comfortable with the car, you’re not able to extract the maximum performance. A more stable, more predictable car will enable us to extract the potential from not only the car, but ourselves as drivers.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W15 E Performance Launch | Mercedes F1 Team

“I know what this team is capable of. I am incredibly grateful for the work of every single person in this team. Every time you’re in the factory, you can see the sheer drive and determination of everyone. We are all mega-motivated for the year ahead and will be giving it everything we’ve got on the journey ahead.”

The emphasis on expanding the car’s operating window and addressing the “nasty characteristics” of the W14 reflects a concerted effort to provide the drivers with a machine that matches their ambition and talent.

“We’ve learnt and grown as a team over the past two seasons,” Russell commented. “It’s not been plain sailing, but I truly believe the journey we’ve been on will make us stronger in the long run. The whole team has been working incredibly hard and we hope to have made a step with the W15.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W15 E Performance Launch | Mercedes F1 Team

“We made progress with some of the nastier characteristics of the W14 throughout last year. But we still had a narrow operating window and, once we were outside of that, the car was difficult to drive. If we can continue to widen the operating window of the car, that will provide confidence for us as a drivers and from there, lap time is easier to find.”

The launch also underscored Mercedes‘ evolving commercial strategy, emphasizing a refined partner ecosystem that aligns with the team’s values and performance goals. 

The involvement of blue-chip brands like SAP, WhatsApp, and Luminar underscores the commercial and technological synergy driving Mercedes forward.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W15 E Performance Launch | Mercedes F1 Team

A Collective Journey Ahead

As the W15 gears up for its first competitive outing in Bahrain, the entire Mercedes-AMG Petronas team—from Brackley to Brixworth—stands united in their commitment to overcoming the challenges of the longest F1 calendar in history.

With a focus on reliability and performance, the team is poised to embark on a season of redemption and resurgence. The W15 E PERFORMANCE’s launch is more than just the unveiling of a new car; it’s a declaration of Mercedes’ unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation in Formula One. 

As Toto Wolff aptly noted, the journey ahead may not be linear, but the team’s spirit and determination remain unshaken. 

“We’re intrigued to see how the car will perform,” Wolff said. “We hope to have solved some of the inherent problems and we will get our first indications of the progress we’ve made during pre-season testing. 

“From there, we will understand more about the challenge that is ahead of us. There are no crystal balls in this sport. But we will at least know the gap we are aiming to close down. Our ambition is strong and we’re ready to get going.”

The world now watches as Mercedes sets out to reclaim its place at the forefront of the F1 grid, with the W15 leading the charge into the 2024 season.

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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