Saturday in Australia marks an important anniversary for the Mercedes motorsport family: 10 years ago, on 14 March 2010, the modern-day Mercedes F1 works team took part in its first race, the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix. For the first time since 1955, a Mercedes works team was competing in Formula One again.
On 16 November 2009, Daimler AG announced that Mercedes-Benz would return to Formula One with its own works team. A few weeks later, the team announced that seven-time Formula One World Drivers’ Champion Michael Schumacher would return to F1 to race for the three-pointed star alongside Nico Rosberg.
“2010 was an important milestone for us; it was the year that Mercedes decided to go ‘all in’ and have a Mercedes Formula One team again,” said Toto. “No one back then would have dared to dream of the success that this team would enjoy in the future. It was a bold decision by the Daimler board to join F1, but it paid off – today we look back on a very successful decade as a Mercedes works team in Formula One.”
The Mercedes works team scored a double points finish in its first race, with Nico finishing the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix in P5 in front of his teammate Michael in P6. Three weeks later, the team celebrated its first podium in Malaysia, when Nico finished the race in P3. Mercedes ended the season with a further two podium finished in P4 in the Constructors’ Championship.
The following season proved difficult, with Michael’s fourth place in Canada being the best result of the year and the team finishing fourth again in the Constructors’ standings. In 2012, the team marked the first Formula One victory for a Mercedes works team since 1955, when Nico claimed the win in the Chinese Grand Prix.
2012 was also a foundation year for the team’s future success. Niki Lauda joined the team in late 2012 as non-executive chairman, strengthening the team with his extensive experience, his total honesty and the relentlessness of a three-time Formula One World Champion. At the same time, Lewis Hamilton was announced as the successor of Michael Schumacher who retired from Formula One at the end of the season. In early 2013, Toto Wolff joined the team as Executive Director and managing partner.
“I joined an already strong team in 2013,” said Toto. “People like Norbert Haug, Ross Brawn, Michael Schumacher and others had worked very hard for the team for many years and played an important role in building the foundation of our future success.”
The 2013 season saw the performance of the team improve; Lewis and Nico claimed a total of nine podiums for the team, claiming victory in Monaco (Nico), Silverstone (Nico) and Hungary (Lewis). It was the first year where the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team could consistently fight for podiums and the team finished second in the Constructors’ Championship.
In 2014, hybrid Power Units were introduced in Formula One – a step that aligned the technological journey of the sport with that of the road car world. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team can look back at a 100% Championship win record in the hybrid era of Formula One, having claimed every single Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship since 2014. Lewis won five of those six Drivers’ titles (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019) with Nico winning one (2016). At the end of 2016, Nico retired from Formula One and Valtteri Bottas joined the team in early 2017. Valtteri has claimed seven race victories and 36 podiums with the Mercedes team.
Since 2010, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team has started 198 Formula One races, winning 93 of them, securing 194 podium places, taking 103 pole positions and finishing 48 races on the top two steps of the podium.
“It’s never easy to acknowledge something special while it is happening, but I hope that when we look back at the first decade of the modern-day Mercedes works team, we feel pride of what this amazing group of people in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart has achieved between 2010 and 2020,” said Toto. “We’re now starting into our second decade as the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and we’re very ambitious – both in terms of our on-track results, but also in terms of our efforts to make F1 more sustainable. We’re working hard to drastically reduce the carbon footprint the sport; at the same time, the 2021 Regulations offer us the chance to make the series financially sustainable as well. It’s a great foundation for our long-term commitment to Formula One which has become the most important marketing platform for Mercedes.”
Many team members have been with the Mercedes team from the very beginning; overall, more than 250 colleagues from Brackley will be able celebrate a decade with the three-pointed star this week. The list includes a number of senior team personnel, including Chief Operating Officer Rob Thomas, Chief Designer John Owen and Performance Director Loic Serra.
Four out of five people on the pit wall can also look back on ten years with Mercedes: Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin, Sporting Director Ron Meadows, Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles and Chief Engineer Trackside Simon Cole. The two race engineers, Peter “Bono” Bonnington and Riccardo “Riki” Musconi, as well as Chief Mechanic Matt Deane will also be able to celebrate a decade of Mercedes on Saturday.
And it’s not just team members that have been very loyal to Mercedes, but also many team partners. PETRONAS have been title partner since 2010 and celebrated six constructors’ and six drivers’ championships. Monster and UBS have been with the team for a decade as well and can look back on the same impressive achievement.
While the year 2010 marked the return of Mercedes-Benz to Formula One as a works team, the three-pointed star had already manufactured Formula One engines from 1994 when the brand entered into a partnership with the Sauber team, marking over 25 years of continuous works involvement in the sport. It was built on previous achievements racing sports cars, which saw Sauber-Mercedes win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1989 and the World Sports Prototype Championship in 1989 and 1990. When Sauber made its F1 debut in 1993, its engine came from Brixworth in the United Kingdom – the same place, where the hybrid and fully electric Mercedes engines for Formula One and Formula are still built today. The 1993 engine was labelled “Concept by Mercedes-Benz”; one year later the brand returned officially to F1.
In 1995, Mercedes entered into a partnership with McLaren. It was the beginning of a long-standing and successful partnership. Together, the two partners won their first race in 1997; one year later, the Mercedes-powered team won the Constructors’ Championship and Mika Häkkinen the Drivers’ Championship – an achievement he would repeat again in 1999. In 2007, Lewis Hamilton won his first ever F1 race driving a Mercedes-powered McLaren; in 2008, he won his first drivers’ championship with a Mercedes engine. Lewis has started every one of his 250 Formula One races with a Mercedes-Benz engine in his car. In 2009, Mercedes-Benz engines powered the Brackley-based team Brawn GP to its world championship double – the same team that would one year later become the Mercedes works team.