Formula One’s dominant force Mercedes is confident that its new challenger, the W09 is an ‘awful lot quicker’ after the team pushed hard during the designing period to slim down the rear end of the car dramatically.
Mercedes, which won every single 79 Grand Prix bar 15 races over the last four years, has been the absolute dominant force following the introduction of the complex double hybrid power units. The team was challenged in some races in 2017 by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, but secured its fourth Drivers’ and Constructors’ title in a row in the end.
For 2018, the team promised it gave its best to maintain or even improve its dominant pace. Its new challenger, the W09 went through a thorough refinement in every single area to push the boundaries even further.
Ex-Ferrari technical chief, now Mercedes technical boss James Allison said the W09 which is the first to be designed under his eye follows new aerodynamic concepts. The Briton said the team managed to find big chunk of time gains over the winter.
"Across the entire car, across every part of its surface, we've made it new. We've found different ways of doing it. We have found improved way of getting downforce and performance into the car.”
"Each one of them is small in isolation but they add up in their totality to something that is enormous.”
Mercedes conceded Ferrari’s blindingly tight packaging was inspirational for the Brackley-based technical group which it could thoroughly examine in Malaysia when Kimi Räikkönen was hit by technical woes and Ferrari put the engine cover off on the grid.
"The biggest [change] is down here in the sidepod," he said. "We've done an awful lot of work down there to try to make that car really, really slender. If you compare it to this  car, you can just see the difference. You can see that the bodywork bulges out around about where the engine and exhaust pack is.”
"On the new car this is a much, much more slender thing. It doesn't look like much of a difference but actually when you add it all up it is something like 0.25 seconds just there. It doesn't look like much of a difference but it was actually a huge amount of work,” concluded Allison.
Mercedes engine boss Andy Cowell disclosed the new power unit has also been improved which has been the leading PU in terms of peak power, reliability, efficiency and fuel consumption.
"We’ve got ideas to improve the power, the indicated power in the engine. We’ve got ideas to reduce the friction in pretty much every area of the power unit, or the losses in electrical systems.”
“You need to think about what it is you’re trying to measure but you need a very impressive dyno with incredible sensors and good test methodology to genuinely detect those gains and to pick them out from the noise of general testing.”
Quadruple world champion Lewis Hamilton was delighted with the behavior of his new car. The Briton said the new car feels a lot quicker on the track.
"It's been a really positive test," Lewis explained. "We got through everything, reliability has been great. Everyone has been working their backsides off and doing a tremendous job, I'm really proud of the team. We're happy with the information that we've got.
Hamilton was impressed by the mighty pace of the W09 on his long run conducted at the end of the winter testing.
"Both the car and the track are a lot faster compared to last year's race here. In my last run during the race simulation today I was doing 1:19s - that's my qualifying lap time from 2017 every lap.
Valtteri Bottas confirmed the assessment of his team-mate.
I'm very happy with the progress. Now we need to keep working for the week and a half before we travel to Melbourne. It will be interesting to find out where we will be. The team has done a great job over the past two weeks. I really enjoy working with the team and I can't wait to get racing.," said Bottas.