“The launch of a new car is an exciting moment for everybody involved,” said Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “To see the product of all that hard work turn a wheel for the first time is a great source of pride - and rightly so.
“However, there is a long road ahead before we reach the first race. We must build a fast, reliable racing car to be able to compete with rivals whose ability and competitiveness can never be underestimated. At this point, every team is on zero points.”
Mercedes, who won all bar three races last season, say an intensive design phase combining incremental gains and targeted innovation has produced the F1 W06 Hybrid, a car which delivers mechanical, structural, aerodynamic and weight saving developments over its predecessor.
“The key factor from our perspective is avoiding complacency,” said Mercedes’ executive director (technical), Paddy Lowe. “Expectations are now high and a lot of assumptions are being made about our potential this season. Internally, however, we are fully aware that you can never afford to stand still in any sport - particularly Formula One. We are up against competitors with a great history of success and, like us, they will not be content unless they are winning.
“Of course, like every other team on the grid, we have been pushing harder than ever to find areas for performance gains. But at the same time, we must ensure we are moving in the correct direction. One of the risks with car development is that attempting forward steps can easily turn into rearward steps. You have to take risks to progress - but those risks must be carefully managed in order to produce a car that is better than its predecessor. This has been an underlying theme for the team over the winter.
“Some changes will be more visually obvious, of course, but the devil is in the detail. Beneath the covers there have been a raft of developments from both a chassis and power unit perspective - all aimed at creating a car that is safer, more efficient, more reliable and ultimately faster. With the Hybrid era still very much in its infancy, there is plenty of scope for innovation.”
Rosberg will have the honour of driving the F1 W06 on Sunday at the start of the four-day Jerez session, the first of three such pre-season tests in Spain. The German will also be at the wheel on Tuesday, while reigning champion Hamilton will run on Monday and Wednesday.