58 SEPTEMBER 2017
THE NEXT GREAT CARS
It takes time for a contemporary racecar
to pass into the collective consciousness
and become a classic. Perhaps the most
recent Formula 1 car to do so was Ferrari’s
F2004, a machine so dominant that it
held a majority of track records until some
of those were finally broken last year and
the remainder smashed by the extra
mechanical grip and downforce of 2017,
some 13 seasons later. But there’s one car
from the intervening years that deserves
to go down as a classic – the Mercedes
F1 W05 Hybrid that dominated in ’ 14.
The checklist for a great car is
straightforward. Firstly, it needs to be
successful. The Mercedes won 16 out
of 19 races, was unbeatable in a straight
fight on pace, and only lost out in Canada
to ERS/brake problems, in Hungary to
safety car-induced strategic misfortune,
and in Belgium to Nico Rosberg and
Lewis Hamilton clashing. So, check.
Secondly, it needs to be genre defining.
Well, with its aerodynamic and engine
concepts, the W05 wrote the script for the
2014-’ 16 period. Even though its
successor, the W06, was heavily revised,
thanks to new, compact versions of power
unit components and heavily revised
cooling, W05 was a trendsetter. Check.
Thirdly, the car should meet some
great challenge. The 2014 regulation
changes were arguably the biggest ever
seen in F1, with the switch to 1.6-liter,
turbocharged engines with heavyweight
ERS packages, plus often-overlooked but
substantial aero changes. And check.
Straight out of the box, the car ran better
and quicker than those of its rivals.
Inevitably, it was the power unit package that
attracted the most attention. Mercedes AMG
High Performance Powertrains started work
on its engine far earlier than the rest, and
reaped the rewards. But this was not easy –
nobody in the F1 engine group had prior
experience of turbocharger development for
a grand prix car, yet they produced the
fastest, most reliable power unit package.
The unique approach to packaging the
FORMULA 1 / 2014 MERCEDES F1 W05 HYBRID
key turbo components – the compressor at
The Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid and its PU106A Hybrid
power unit were designed from the start as an
integrated unit, with Aldo Costa, Geoff Willis and Paddy
Lowe heading the Brackley, Northants.-based car
design team, and Andy Cowell leading the F1 engine
group just 27 miles down the road in Brixworth.