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W04 'a clear step forward' - Brawn

ESPN Staff
February 4, 2013 « LIVE: Mercedes W04 launch | 'Start of a new chapter' for Hamilton »
The Mercedes W04 hit the track for the first time on Monday for filming purposes © Sutton Images
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Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn says the W04 is "a clear step forward in design" compared to last year's car.

The W03 won the Chinese Grand Prix and was competitive early in the season before the team struggled with development and finished the year poorly. With the W04 having been launched in Jerez on Monday, Brawn said that a lot of work behind the scenes at Mercedes has started to pay off with the new car.

"2013 marks the start of a second era for our Silver Arrows works team," Brawn said. "The restructuring we undertook at the team over the past 18 months are now growing in maturity and this is reflected in the F1 W04, which is a clear step forward in design and detail sophistication over its predecessor."

Brawn also said that the aim was to deliver "a step change in performance" with the new car compared to the W03.

"Many thousands of hours of work have been invested by our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth to ensure that the new car delivers a step change in performance compared to last season. We are also hugely proud to welcome Lewis [Hamilton] to the team as a works Mercedes-Benz driver. With Lewis and Nico [Rosberg], we have what I believe to be the strongest driver line-up in Formula One and I know that a healthy level of competition between them both will help drive the team forward."

He explained that improving the aerodynamics had been the main focus over the close season, but that he is confident Mercedes' other problem areas in 2012 would also be eased.

"Simple aerodynamic performance is always very significant," he said. "If you can improve the downforce and improve the efficiency then the management of tyres and other factors become easier.

"Understanding the exhaust has been a key factor over the winter and we have a much better understanding now. And we've wanted to take the car forward in the basic principles such as centre of gravity, stiffness and the dynamics of the suspension; all of those are things that have been worked on hard really since the car started to be conceived, which was early last year.

"But aerodynamic performance has been core and that's been helped by the 60% model in the wind tunnel and the restructuring of the aero group under Mike Elliot, which I'm very optimistic about."