Founded: 1955, reformed 2010
Constructors’ titles: 0
Drivers’ titles: 2
2012 Championship position: 5th
Team principal: Ross Brawn
Technical director: Bob Bell
Drivers: Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg
If glitz and glamour is what you’re after from Formula One it might be worth your while keeping a close eye on the goings-on at Mercedes this year.
The German team made some eye-catching moves in the closed season, not least the extraordinary coup of signing F1 poster boy Lewis Hamilton to their stable, with an annual salary believed to be in the region of $25 million.
Hamilton brings so much more than his immense talent and popstar good looks to a team. His bold approach, forthright opinions and, of course, the presence of his Pussycat Doll girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger will ensure Mercedes attract the big headlines they crave.
And they crave them alright. Talking in the build-up to the season, new co-owner Christian Toto Wolff has insisted he wants the team to shed their “conservative” image and embrace a philosophy as “young and sporty” as their car. The move to get Hamilton was clearly about more than just his driving skills
Along with the Hamilton switch, there’s been a managerial shake-up more associated with a Tony Blair cabinet reshuffle. In come Wolff and Formula 1 legend Nikki Lauder, as xxx and non-executive chairman respectively, and out goes former boss Norbert Haug who has fallen on his sword as a result of poor performances last season.
How will this merry-go-round of talent effect what is a relatively new outfit (Mercedes decided to run their own team again in 2010 for the first time since 1955)?
Most people believe that, despite some significant extra speed in testing, this will be a year of consolidation and development. Lewis Hamilton has hinted at such with his continued insistence that he won’t be presenting a title challenge this season.
That grand old dame of F1 Bernie Ecclestone suggests that, with a supremely good engine and Hamilton’s talents, Mercedes will be dangerous outsiders, but their immediate target must surely be to improve on their number of race wins – just one last season, for Niko Rosberg in China – rather than mounting a realistic push for either championship
Whatever happens out on the track for Mercedes, the turbulence and chicanery off it should provide plenty of entertainment.
Did you know?
Rosberg and Hamilton are friends reunited this season – the pair have been mates ever since their time together as teenagers on the karting circuit.
Mercedes have a long and, at least somewhat, inauspicious past in Formula 1 dating back to the 1930s when they competed as the Silver Arrows, a team heavily funded by the Nazi party.