Work on the all-new Mercedes Formula One car started 16 months ago, when the team was still fighting for its fourth championship title. The development work was spearheaded by a small group of engineers, working on the general concept of the car. Over the course of the 2018 season and in the midst of an exciting and challenging championship fight, more and more engineers in both Brixworth and Brackley started working on the W10.
“Work on the W10 project began at the end of 2017,” said James Allison, Technical Director
“That’s when the first meetings happened about how the chassis was going to be laid out. How the Power Unit was going to change from the previous season. And what our rough objectives were for the project. That was when we set out the plans for our deployment of resources, developing and racing the car in 2018 and the right number of the right people to design, conceive and then create the new car for 2019.”
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) February 13, 2019
On the chassis side, more than half of the design engineers were working on the W10 by the 2018 summer break. In October, the F1 circus headed to the Americas. Both the team and Lewis claimed their fifth World Championship titles. By then, the factory was working flat out on the W10, designing and producing parts of the future contender. Overall, about 7000 drawings were released for manufacture.
Over the winter, many of the major components and sub systems underwent rigorous testing
Among them were the transmission, the suspension, the cooling system as well as the Power Unit
They were subjected to loads, temperatures and fatigue cycles similar to those they would experience in the F1 season. All the different components went through something close to half a million kilometres. And that is before the car left the garage for the first time.
“There are hours and hours that go into each piece, each assembly, each system, each full element and then the final Power Unit,” said Andy. “It is a huge moment when the Power Unit bursts into life and those countless hours are rewarded with fuel being converted into useful work. Yes, it is a machine, but it is part of people’s lives and it’s personal.”
The initial “Fire-Up” is another one of those special moments
It is the first time when all the core systems are assembled.
And the engine also runs for the first time in unison with the other systems.
“You’ve had a factory which had fallen silent for a few weeks, from the end of the last season to this moment, where an engine leaps into life in the factory again,” said James. “Even if you’re not down in the build shop, you can hear it. So it has a certain emotional impact on us because a motor is running and it is the living proof that all those components are not only assembled but they function. At the same time, you know that you’re only about halfway there through the about 90 planned test events.”
— Esteban Ocon (@OconEsteban) February 13, 2019