F1 fans have been afforded an early on-track glimpse of Mercedes’ 2018 car, the W09.
The world champions’ new car, driven by Valtteri Bottas, was taken on track at Silverstone ahead of its formal unveiling later today at 12.10pm.
However, it appeared that the W09 was hit by an early teething problem as it left the Mercedes garage, with a swarm of Silver Arrows mechanics then summoned to push the car back to base.
The car will be officially revealed at 12.10pm with the launch live on Sky Sports.
Mercedes wary of Red Bull and Ferrari threat
Lewis Hamilton is expected to drive the W09 this afternoon as part of the Mercedes shakedown. Under Formula 1’s Sporting Regulations, Mercedes are permitted to run up to 100km outside of official testing on designated filming days.
The new Mercedes has a lot to live up to – its 2017 predecessor won 12 races last year and was on pole position for 15 of the 20 races.
F1 in 2018: The new cars revealed
Ferrari and Red Bull are again expected to pose the biggest threat to Mercedes’ dominance of F1 but team boss Toto Wolff is also keeping an eye on the sport’s sleeping giants.
“If you would have asked us the question this time last year we would have sad Red Bull and it was Ferrari,” Wolff said at Mercedes’ Silverstone launch event.
“It’s very dangerous before the season has started to reduce the number of potential competitors.
“Ferrari is very strong, Red Bull is very strong.
“I’m very curious how McLaren is going to perform with the Renault engine. And the step up the works team has made. Williams has gone very radical.”
Pre-season testing begins at Barcelona on Monday with dawn-to-dusk commentary available on Sky Sports’ Digital platforms.
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