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Mercedes W12 shows off "sexy bulge", "new clothes" and a veil of secrecy

Mercedes W12 shows off "sexy bulge", "new clothes" and a veil of secrecy

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Mercedes W12 shows off "sexy bulge", "new clothes" and a veil of secrecy

Mercedes W12 shows off "sexy bulge", "new clothes" and a veil of secrecy

Mercedes has unveiled its new car for the forthcoming Formula 1 season and while there was "a rather sexy bulge" and it was "dressed in new clothes", according to technical director James Allison, there was also considerable secrecy.

Fair play to Mercedes, during its global 30-minute reveal, it allowed the camera to pore over virtually every centimetre of the W12's bodywork, but there were also areas it opted to keep under wraps even though the majority of the car is a carryover from last year.

For this season, the main area of change is with regard to aerodynamics, with regulations cutting downforce for safety reasons.

It was feared the Pirelli tyres that have been carried over for what will be a third term this year would be unable to cope with the increasing levels of downforce being applied to the car.

So Mercedes cleverly refused to give the game away in key areas, while it has also opted not to declare where it has spent its two development tokens for this year.

In giving a guided tour around the car, Allison said: "It doesn't take much of a glance to see it is an old friend in many ways. It has the same monocoque as last year, the same gearbox as last year, lots of the same structure underneath as last year.

"But, look a little closer and you will also see there are some fairly significant differences. Just a glance at the sidepod there and you will see a rather sexy bulge in the engine cover, which is hiding some of the work that our friends at HPP [High Performance Powertrains] have done to squeeze more horses into that power unit for us for the year.

"And across the whole car, it is dressed in new clothes, new aerodynamic finery that we hope will make it a successful car.

"The bit we're not showing you is down along the edge of the floor. That area is the one most affected by the new regulations.

"They've tried to pull performance away from the car by changing the floor regs, and down there is a bunch of aerodynamic detail we are not quite ready to release to the world.

"Not because it's not there, but because we don't want our competitors to see it, we don't want them starting to try and put similar things in their windtunnels. It just buys us a couple of weeks extra."

As Allison added: "We all look very closely at what our competitors do, and we know they will be looking, and we don't have to show it yet, so we're not."

Allison confirmed that aside from the power unit, the main area of development has been aerodynamically in order to "put as much downforce on the car as possible".

It will be the case this season that whoever recovers that lost downforce quicker than its rivals will likely find itself out in front until the opposition stages a recovery.

This is why Allison was quick to dismiss suggestions Mercedes will win again.

"It's a touching degree of faith but certainly not one that we feel here," added Allison.

"We feel utterly excited about everything that's in front of us, but equally anxious because so much has changed in these regulations at a detailed level that really punishes the car from a performance point of view.

"So have we done enough to recover back that performance better than our competitors? None of us know, and yet we really care about, and so the anxiety is quite high at this time of year."

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