How Have Mercedes F1 Cars Evolved Over the Years?

Mercedes Amg F1 W13 E Performance Launch Steve Etherington
Mercedes Amg F1 W13 E Performance Launch Steve Etherington

Anyone who has seen Lewis Hamilton race in a Mercedes will have been stunned at how well he handles some of the most powerful vehicles in the world. Since switching from McLaren in 2013, Hamilton has become Mercedes’ most prominent driver, winning six world titles between 2014 and 2020. Dominance, it seems, has become the norm for Mercedes. However, after a close-run contest that ended in him losing to Max Verstappen in 2021, there have been questions over Hamilton’s ability to regain his title in the 2022 season.

Hamilton has hit the headlines with an announcement that he believes he’s just as much of a contender as he ever was in 2022, acknowledging his increased recovery time, but highlighting his stellar record. He says his training regime will give him the stamina to succeed and a decade of experience working with the same team should give him an edge when it comes to efficiency.

Superstars such as Hamilton and Verstappen have really pushed the F1 brand to new heights in the U.S, with Las Vegas becoming the focus. In November 2023, there will be a night-time F1 race held on the famous strip, against the backdrop of Vegas’ stunning neon light display. This is the first time since 1981 that the famous city has held an F1 event, out of living memory for a lot of fans. Excitement is in the air and for good reason.

Interestingly, this has coincided with America’s gambling revolution, which is seeing state after state loosen up the traditionally tight gambling laws. As of last year, PokerStars signed a deal with F1 to become its official sponsor and its parent company Flutter Entertainment also own FanDuel, another huge gambling player in the country. Also, a variety of other vendors, including the legal sportsbooks as listed here allow punters across the country to bet on F1, depending on which state you are in at the time. With this gambling revolution picking up pace at a dramatic rate, it is logical to conclude that gambling sponsors will become even more prevalent in the future.

The evolution of the Mercedes

Of course, the driver is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to Formula One success, and Mercedes have certainly been playing their part in Hamilton’s latest wins. Their cars are using the most cutting edge technology, incorporating design features that can shave seconds of a race time and offer superior handling at the terrifying speeds reached on the racetrack.

Mercedes have been building cars to compete in Formula One since 1954 when motor racing legend Juan Manuel Fangio won the French Grand Prix in a Mercedes W196. Boasting a straight-8 fuel injection engine, Fangio was in pole position after reaching 124.31 miles per hour in his practice lap and the race ended in a head-to-head between Fangio and another Mercedes driver, Karl Kling, with only 0.1 seconds between them.

This earned Mercedes a reputation for the engineering and design of their cars, but it wasn’t until 1994 that they re-entered the world of Formula One, building engines with Ilmor before returning to the sport under their own name in 2005. The company acquired Brawn GP in 2010, shortly before the engine rules changed in 2014, since which time Mercedes has completely dominated the sport.

Mercedes F1 WO5 Hybrid

Designed to compete in the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship, these cars featured the newly designed 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. The car was the first Mercedes Formula One car that conformed to the new regulations that required hybrid-electric engines and turbochargers.

German-Finnish driver Nico Rosburg was the first person to win a race behind the wheel of the WO5 Hybrid, taking first place in the Australian Grand Prix by 27 seconds. Lewis Hamilton then went on to win four Grand Prix titles in succession: the Malaysian Grand Prix, Bahrain Grand Prix, Chinese Grand Prix, and Spanish Grand Prix and described it as the best car he had ever driven.

One of the key things that made the car so successful was the way that the compressor and the turbo were at opposite ends of the system, making it more aerodynamic and allowing it to use the battery more efficiently. This original version was followed by the WO6 and the WO7, both of which proved winning vehicles.

Mercedes AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+

By his fifth season in 2017, Lewis Hamilton was joined by Valtteri Botas on the Mercedes team and the latest design to come from the record-winning team was the AMG F1 WO8 EQ Power+. Using the eighth design of chassis that Mercedes had built, the team won their fourth ‘Constructors Championship’ after Hamilton and Bottas secured twelve wins, nine fastest laps, and four finishes where the Mercedes drivers came in both first and second place.

The new design featured a newly designed suspension system that was expected to be more aerodynamic than its predecessor and was tested at the iconic circuit at Silverstone. It was then tweaked over the course of the racing season with upgrades to the body shape and experiments conducted on the braking system.

The 2017 season ended with Mercedes in first place, and the two following seasons saw the WO9 and W10 models hit the tracks.

Mercedes-AMG F1 W13 E Performance

Mercedes’ current car is the third iteration of the car that was raced in 2020 when it was described as ‘the greatest racing car of all time’ due to its sheer number of wins. The design team won their seventh consecutive Constructors’ Championship and both Hamilton and Bottas showed off its capabilities with thirteen wins, nine fastest laps, and numerous track records.

Designed to meet the latest technical regulations, Mercedes is hoping that their winning stream will see them dominate the world of motor racing for another season.

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