While the 2019 Formula One paddock will see changes to various driver line-ups in almost every team, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport will stay true to the line-up that won the team the 2017 and 2018 Constructors’ Championships – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. After the winter break, both drivers are now eager to go back racing.
“Both Lewis and Valtteri spent the winter taking their minds off Formula One for a while, which is important” said Toto. “Lewis spent some time travelling. When we met after the winter break, he was refreshed; he’s extremely hungry and wants to start racing again. Valtteri spent some time with his family in Finland, but he was quickly back into racing cars as he competed in the Arctic Rally. We had a good chat after the break; he was in a good place and has been able to fully reset after a season that was not always easy for him. Valtteri knows he has the full backing of the team to succeed and he’s excited to get back in the car and show his critics what he can do. I’m really looking forward to a strong competition between the two of them, racing each other hard and fighting hard against our rivals.”
“I had a great Christmas with my family and then I went snowmobiling, I went skiing, I went surfing with Kelly Slater, which was amazing,” said Lewis. “I completely switched off from racing for a while, trying to focus and re-centre myself and training hard for the new season. 2018 was a great year, but I feel like 2019 can be even better. I want to achieve more, I want to continue to keep pushing. I feel energised and I’m ready to attack.“
“I had a really good winter; I’m full of energy and I’m looking forward to the new season,” said Valtteri. “I started my first training camp in early January and have been on a good path ever since. I did most of my training in Finland, first in the south close to my home town, then further north in Lapland because that’s where you get a proper winter. The conditions are quite harsh, it’s freezing cold, snow is guaranteed, but it’s a great environment to exercise and prepare your mind and your body for the upcoming fight.”
The significance of the first laps for the team’s new car was clear for both drivers, too.
“I am excited for the new season and that everyone starts with zero points. We are all on the same line and 2019 can bring anything; I’m going to go all in this year,” continued Valtteri. “ There was quite a bit of criticism at some stages of 2018, but that’s actually been a positive thing for me because it’s given me an extra boost! I’m now looking forward to drive the new car for the first time. The car has changed quite a bit because of the aero regulations changes, so it will be interesting to get an idea of how the car feels and how it handles. You never know what to expect and so it’s exciting to jump in the car and discover it, to try to get a feel of the balance of the car and its behaviour. We do already push the car in the shakedown to get a feel for it.”
As for the reigning world champion, he begins his seventh season with the Mercedes works team, with which he has scored four world titles, 52 race wins and 57 pole positions since 2013.
“I’m really looking forward to the next step of our journey together with Mercedes and embarking on what’s not been done before,” concluded Lewis. “This is my seventh year with the team and the energy and the determination within the team are really inspiring. The buzz really starts at the beginning of the year when you see the car coming together. And then you get to the shakedown and you get into the car – it just never gets old. It feels like a real privilege – so many people have worked together to form that car and you know how much hard work has gone into it. Driving the new car is like meeting someone new for the first time – you want to get to know them the best way as quick as possible as you embark on a journey together.”
2019 – An historic year for Mercedes
The 2019 season plays a special role for the team, as the year of the 1000th Formula One Grand Prix is also the tenth season in modern-day F1 for Mercedes as a works team.
“We’ve come a long way since 2010 when we re-joined Formula One with a Mercedes works team,” says Toto. “We had a steep learning curve in the first few years, building the long-term capability of the team and continuously improving our performance. We saw the first good season in 2013, when we finished second. After that we’v e been on a winning streak with five consecutive double championships – an incredible success that none of us in the team, even in our wildest dreams, would have believed possible, especially since we were up against formidable opponents.”
Together with its parent company, the team also celebrates 125 years of motorsport in 2019: in 1894, Daimler engines won the world’ s first motor car race in 1894 from Paris to Rouen as two cars fitted with a Daimler two-cylinder V-engine shared first prize in the 126 kilometre race.
2019 is also the 85th anniversary of the Silver Arrows, as the Eifelrennen, held on 3 June 1934 at the Nürburgring was the first race in which the Mercedes-Benz W 25 competed. Legend has it that the metallic silver skin was only exposed the night before the race, by grinding off the car’s white paint to bring the starting weight of the W 25 down to the limit determined by the race regulations.
The 2019 challenger celebrates this important year in the company’s motorsport history with a new design which has been reduced to two main elements. The first element of the star pattern provides the elegance and luxury of Mercedes-Benz, combining high-grade technology and craftsmanship. The second element is a single, strong PETRONAS green flow line that brings speed and dynamism. And just like the original Silver Arrows from 1934, the livery of the W10 also brings a performance advantage as the new design sees a slight weight benefit compared to last year.