It’s the car that every other team in the F1 paddock will be measuring themselves against throughout winter testing – and it’s been announced that Mercedes’ 2019 challenger, the W10, will be unveiled for the first time on February 13.
The car – the Mercedes-AMG F1 W10 EQ Power+ to give it its full name – will have its first shakedown test on that date, before hitting the track in anger in the hands of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas the following week when official pre-season testing begins in Spain at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 17.
The first sighting of the W10 will follow a similar Mercedes pattern from the last few years, with the car taking its first laps around Silverstone – although this time the team have decided to make the shakedown a ‘closed doors’ event rather than allowing the media to watch. The Silverstone running will count as one of Mercedes’ two permitted ‘promotional events’ for the year, meaning the W10 can do a maximum of 100km on the day and must wear demonstration-spec tyres.
If there’s one car in the field with a weight of expectation on its shoulders this season, it’s this one, with Mercedes gunning for a sixth consecutive constructors’ title in 2019, to match Ferrari’s record-breaking run from the beginning of the millennium.
And while Bottas will be hoping the 2019 Mercedes can carry him to his first victory since the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton will be aiming to steer his own W10 to a sixth drivers' championship this year, to put himself one title short of the great Michael Schumacher’s record.