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Confident Mercedes set ambitious targets for MGP W02 01 Feb 2011

(L to R): Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP with Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes GP Team Principal and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Valencia, Spain, Tuesday 1 February 2011. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP unveil the Mercedes GP MGP W02. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Valencia, Spain, Tuesday 1 February 2011. Mercedes GP MGP W02 nose and front wing detail. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Valencia, Spain, Tuesday 1 February 2011. Mercedes MGP W02 first look. Mercedes MGP W02, England, 31 January 2011. Mercedes GP MGP W02 rear wing detail. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Valencia, Spain, Tuesday 1 February 2011.

A confident-looking Mercedes GP launched their 2011 car in the Valencia pit lane on Tuesday. After their championship-winning success as Brawn in 2009, the team endured a hit and miss 2010 season and are now targeting a return to their winning ways with the new MGP W02, which will once again be driven by Nico Rosberg and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

Despite their stellar line-up, Mercedes finished fourth in the 2010 standings, with less than half the points’ tally of champions Red Bull. After 12 months of intense design and development work, however, the team are hopeful their new challenger could see them back in front-running form.

“It is always a thrill to see a new car ready to take the track for the first time and this year is no exception,” said team principal Ross Brawn. “After our first year as the Mercedes-Benz works team, we are now seeing the benefits of our chassis group and our engine group working well together.

"With a good technical structure and a strengthened race engineering organisation, both at the factory and the race track, I am confident that we have done and will continue to do a better job this year in all key areas.

"The concept development for the MGP W02 started early and we have set challenging targets for the design, combined with a robust plan to ensure that the pace of development can continue throughout the long 2011 season. We want to be setting the standard right from the start but if we are not, we will respond very strongly to get ourselves into the game. Everyone is excitedly waiting to see what the new season will reveal.”

As well as Pirelli tyres, an adjustable rear wing, KERS and a striking, high-gloss airbrush effect livery, the MGP W02 features a raft of technical innovations and changes. And the aggressive approach taken by Mercedes’ engineers means the new car is almost unrecognisable from its 2010 forerunner.

“The new Silver Arrow for the 2011 season has little in common with its immediate predecessor,” explained Norbert Haug, vice-president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “Our chassis engineers have taken a fairly ruthless approach and were determined to shave off every superfluous gram and millimetre.

“What emerged from this process is a compact and exquisitely shaped vehicle that introduces a host of sophisticated solutions and truly reflects the enormous dedication of its constructors. We have given it a brand new coat of paint, and we aim to see a smile on the faces of our hard-working drivers and team members that is as bright as our new silver livery.”

Of the team’s two drivers, it was Schumacher who struggled the most with their 2010 car, scoring just 72 of the team’s 214 points. The German, however, is optimistic about his targets for the season ahead.

“Finally the waiting is over and things get started,” he said. "Even if I have been involved and updated all winter on the developments, and even if I know the improvements are significant, it is still different to see the new car literally for the first time in front of you.

"You automatically build up this nice pre-start tension. I very much look forward to the new season. We have said it several times already but again, we are really to building up something big together. I am very confident that this season we will be standing on the podium much more regularly; ideally in the middle!”

Although his team mate Rosberg did manage to clinch three podiums during the course of 2010, the younger German wants much more from his second season with Mercedes.

“I am very much looking forward to having a much stronger season than last year and as always, our targets are aggressive,” he said. “We want to be competing at the front and challenging for race wins. Everyone at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth has worked extremely hard on the new Silver Arrow and we are all looking forward to seeing how it performs.”

The MGP W02 makes its on-track debut at the Spanish circuit on Tuesday, with both Rosberg and Schumacher expected to get a turn at the wheel.

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