Five days before the W03 is publicly revealed, Mercedes remains highly secretive about its 2012 car. The German squad went a different path than all of its main F1 rivals by opting to keep its new machine at the Brackley factory rather than debut and test it last week at Jerez.
Michael Schumacher will do the first laps in the silver car next Tuesday, as the first of eight days of Barcelona testing kicks off ahead of next month’s season opener in Australia.
Mercedes leaked out some ‘teaser’ images of the W03 this week, but all carefully masking the detail of the single seater, including the ‘step’ nose solution.
“I assume that they want to hide something from the competition,” surmised Red Bull designer Adrian Newey, according to Germany’s Sport Bild. “It must be something that can be copied quite quickly, otherwise they wouldn’t try so hard to keep it secret.”
Agreed Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko: “They seem to have something special at the front of the car.”
Ferrari is reportedly likening the situation to when the team – then called Brawn GP – arrived late with the famous ‘double diffuser’ and duly went on to win the title. The Corriere dello Sport website cited a Ferrari official in recalling Brawn was “like Cinderella” in sweeping in at the last moment and keeping her trick secret.
“It’s a calculated risk,” team boss Ross Brawn, quoted in Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, insisted when contemplating the 2012 car’s late reveal.