I recently got to visit the Merc HQ in Brackley for work (my company is an HPE partner, which this was organised through) and figured I would take lots of pics and post here for everyone to see.
I'm not sure what the limit on pics here are, so I have created an album that you can view with lots of text also here:
DISCLAIMER: I was not allowed to take any pictures inside the actual factory, they made us put stickers on our cameras so we couldn't take any. I will do my best to summarise what I was told and the bits I saw below!
The factory tour was incredible, their design offices sit right above it and everyone sits in small areas with around 5 designers in a hexagon (6th side is the side you walk in). We got to see their race room, which is where they sit staff for race weekends that are looking over data from the cars, listening to radio transmissions or watching feeds from other teams to see what they are doing. each station has three screens and a direct comms line to people at the circuit. There is a guy who is Irish and is nicknamed Potato, he has his own direct line and his own button on the comms board at each station.
Downstairs is where the serious stuff happens. We got to hold lots of components of the engine and gearbox (all old) made out of different materials. Most of them where for hydraulic fluid and were absolute pieces of art. We also got to hold these cubes made of Aluminium, Titanium, Stainless Steel and Densamet. Densamet is used for ballast as is twice as dense as steel, very odd to hold in the hand.
We got to hold parts of the bodywork made from carbon which were incredibly light, and then parts of the suspension that have titanium cores (much heavier). We also got to see the moulds for the new monocoque, although they were upside down on the floor so I couldn't really tell a great deal about it.
We then got to see the 2018 car Lewis won the last race with, along with all the trophies they won during the season. I think someone posted the image of the car parked diagonally on here yesterday, but I was stood inches from the car. It was incredibly dirty!
I have more stories that I have written up in the imgur images so please look through that for those, they had some very interesting bits to tell us. One thing I do remember is that during the height of the oil burning saga, they actually had a second bladder for oil built into the tea-tray so they could burn more oil, similar in a way to BAR when they got banned with the second fuel tank.
I asked what other things they were doing that they couldn't have told us two years ago, and the only other answer I could get out of our guide was that they were doing some very interesting stuff with exhaust gases, but wouldn't go into anymore detail. Our tour guide was actually from the marketing team but goes to around 16 races a year to commentate for the internal Mercedes customers that are at each race.