On Thursday, less than a fortnight after the final round of the 2021 F1 season, Mercedes released a short video revealing the fire up of the new W13. The video showed Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff being kept up to date on developments via a live video link on a mobile phone, with staff at its factory overlooking the event. The images provided no additional information about the design of the new Mercedes car, which will be raced by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in 2022.
While the pre-Christmas fire-up of the Mercedes car shows how far the team has progressed, teams are still planning to launch their definitive new challengers in February. The rate of development of the new ground effect cars means teams will want to wait as long as possible before committing to their final designs, with an entirely new rule set coming into play.
Crank up that volume. W03 has a festive message for you… 😉 pic.twitter.com/XdLGt9VPRI
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 22, 2021
With teams also aware that competitors will want to learn as much as they can from the opposition, there will be little incentive to release details too soon in case others can copy the best ideas.
F1’s first pre-season test is scheduled for February 23-25 in Barcelona, Spain, with teams expected to reveal their cars in the weeks leading up to that date.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the season finale’s events have left Hamilton and the team “disillusioned.” The Austrian expressed his desire for Lewis to continue racing, but also suggested that the Brit will never recover from the pain and distress which caused on Sunday. After a controversial Safety Car restart procedure, Max Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the race’s final lap to claim the race win and world title.
Mercedes announced on Thursday that they had withdrawn their appeal against the race result, but they remain deeply disappointed with how the race unfolded. “Lewis and I are disillusioned at the moment,” said Wolff. “We are not disillusioned of the sport, we love the sport with every bone in our body and we love it because the stopwatch never lies.”
“But if we break that fundamental principle of sporting fairness and authenticity of the sport, that suddenly the stopwatch doesn’t become relevant anybody because we are exposed to random decision making it is clear that you start to question if all the work that you have been putting in, all the sweat tears and blood can actually be demonstrated in terms of bringing the best possible performances on track because it can be taken away randomly.”