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MERCEDES TAKE THE WRAPS OFF W03

21st February 2012, 08:25am

The WP03 was due to debut on track on Tuesday

The WP03 was due to debut on track on Tuesday

Schumacher to take W03 around Barcelona circuit

Mercedes have taken the wraps off the W03 ahead of the second pre-season test.

The 2012 charger has been pictured in several spy shots prior to the official launch in Barcelona so it comes as no surprise that the team have opted for the stepped nose.

The W03 will make its on-track public debut later on Tuesday with Michael Schumacher behind the wheel.

The German team has already completed a day of testing at Circuit de Cataluya following hard on the heels of a private shakedown during a filming day at Silverstone.

The new high-performance roadster, which develops 537 PS while delivering weight savings of 125 kg and 30 per cent improved fuel economy, was introduced by Nico Rosberg along with Schumacher.

The W03 has undergone an intensive programme of simulation testing at the team's technical bases in Brackley and Brixworth.

The team say the new car concept is based on a largely stable set of technical regulations, which include two significant changes: revision of the maximum bodywork height at the front of the car, which encouraged the distinctive stepped-nose design; and new restrictions concerning the positioning of the exhausts, designed to prevent the aerodynamic benefit gained from exhaust gases during 2011, the so-called 'blown diffuser'.

"The F1 W03 is a car that I believe, and hope, our team can be proud of, and which will deliver the on-track results that everybody has worked so hard to achieve," said Team Principal Ross Brawn.

"Notwithstanding the distinctive nose design, which is certainly an acquired taste, the F1 W03 is an elegant interpretation of the current regulations, and a clear step forward over its predecessor in terms of detail design and sophistication.

"Last year, we produced a very bold car and, although its more radical elements didn't always deliver the results we had hoped for, the experience we gained has been invaluable to the design of the 2012 car."

Rosberg, who drove the first laps in the F1 W03 at Silverstone last week, commented: "We have had a good start to our 2012 testing programme, and it was a great feeling to drive the first laps in the new F1 W03.

"The car looks good, and is very nicely packaged under the bodywork - all the parts are in harmony, which reflects how well the different departments of our team are working together.

"From the beginning of our running, we have been able to focus on understanding the car and making good progress with our test programme. It will be very interesting to learn more about where we stand in the next few weeks."

Schuacher, who will complete the first full day of official testing with the new car in Barcelona on Tuesday, added: "I have done quite a few roll-outs and launches of new cars, but even after all these years, I must say it still feels special. Days like this are precious moments, as they are always filled with hope and anticipation.

"Already last week, when we were driving the F1 W03 for the very first time, it instantly gave us good feedback and sensations.

"Starting today, we will work intensively to make it a competitive runner.

"For my part, I am eager to fight again, looking forward to the new season, and I can't wait for it to begin."

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