Mercedes unveil new car
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has ushered in Formula One's new turbo-charged era.
Lewis Hamilton ushered in Formula One's new turbo-charged era.
There was a whirlwind rush of three car unveilings in the space of 30 minutes in the pitlane in Jerez ahead of the first day of pre-season testing.
Mercedes, Red Bull and Force India all showed off their new-for-2014 challengers and, as has been commonplace so far, the nose design of all three were very different.
The problem regarding the noses centres around the fact there is a discrepancy between the rules regarding the height of the chassis and that of the nose.
In order to ensure the car is aerodynamically efficient, the shape of the nose has been altered significantly, and not for the better.
But as has been noted, the aesthetics of the cars are only a sideshow as it is their pace which is the crucial factor.
This year, F1's focus is on the new 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged power units that have replaced the 2.4-litre V8s.
Hamilton was first out at exactly 9am local time when the track opened, and the first impressions of the new sound that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has previously claimed would turn fans away is that it is different.
Gone is the deep, throaty roar of the V8, and in its place is a more whiny, higher-pitched tone that on occasion on Hamilton's install lap sounded akin to something from MotoGP when in the distance.
Despite that, and with reference to team-mate Nico Rosberg's outing for a filming day in which he completed 40 kilometres on Friday, the 29-year-old said: "It has been exciting to see the car come together and to see - and hear - it run for the first time last Friday in Silverstone.
"It looks just fantastic, so aggressive, but full of really nice details as well."
Looking ahead to the season overall, Hamilton said: "I think this is probably the season with the most unknowns I have faced in my career and that's just so exciting for all of us.
"This is my second season with Mercedes and it now feels like I am a fully-fledged member of the team and that we are nurturing the great relationship we built last year.
"But it is still going to be a big learning year for all of us.
"There's so much new technology on these cars and so much information to take in and filter out to get down to what really matters.
"It's going to be a big challenge with changes to driving style and race strategies, too."
The nose of the Mercedes certainly appeared to be more 'normal' than the protrusions seen on a number of other cars, including Red Bull and Force India.
Four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel and new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo peeled back the cover off a striking-looking Red Bull, the RB10.
Down at Force India, an all-new partnership of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg unveiled the VJM07.
Of the 11 teams, only Lotus were not present due to delays in their build design, while Marussia were not running on Tuesday due to late technical issues with the MR03.
After 40 minutes, Hamilton in the W05 was the only car to take to the circuit as clearly the other eight teams were doing some last-minute tinkering to their challengers.
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