A simple hashtag. That’s all it was. A hashtag. A hashtag that managed to overwhelm the website of one of the most professional Formula One teams in the business.
What Mercedes failed to consider last Saturday was the power of their fans when given the opportunity to see their favorite car two days early. When the official Mercedes F1 team website crashed for a number of hours, the fans went mental. The goal behind this infamous hashtag mentioned earlier was to get their fans excited about the possibility of an early reveal. The fans would tweet with the hashtag #F1Wo4Reveal and in turn, each tweet with the hashtag would slowly open a virtual garage door on their website with an image of their new car behind it.
With this scheme failing for the most part (the site was eventually back up but opening the door was a slow and painful process), Mercedes really needed to get their official launch down to a tee.
This morning, Mercedes unveiled their challenger in a manner most civilized. Well, if you consider Lewis Hamilton doing doughnuts in his Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series civilized, it was the most tame event in the history of mankind. In all seriousness though, the unveiling of the F1W04 was one of the most important of the whole field. Lewis Hamilton has arguably put his career on the line with a team which has failed to achieve most of their goals. The one race win in China was the highlight of a season riddled with the most extreme lows the team has experienced.
As Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton slowly drew back the cover of the car which everyone had already seen, I thought to myself, “Boy, I hope this car can be remotely decent”. If F1 is to live up to the excitement of 2012, this car needs to challenge. The F1 fans will not want to settle for only four top teams.
As you can see, Mercedes has a brand new sponsor in BlackBerry. Indeed, Lewis and Nico were sporting brand new smartphones with which they took many photos of the new car and themselves. What is immediately apparent is the vanity panel. The 2012 Mercedes sported the most revolting stepped nose of the whole field. Personally, I am thrilled with the new look. As with most of the launched cars, the front wing is very similar to that of last years’, though this will change tomorrow when testing commences.
The atmosphere, from what the live feed could give me, was one of positivity. Nico Rosberg has said that he doesn’t expect Mercedes to be one of the cars to beat at the beginning of the season, as it was last year, because the deficit the team had to the leaders at the end of 2012 will be too great to overcome so swiftly. He does however believe that Mercedes can be competitive this season. similarly, Lewis Hamilton is positive for what may be a career defining season. He has stated that he doesn’t expect to fight for the title this year, and right he should. I would question his sanity if he thought otherwise.
What is obvious, though, is that Mercedes have a very important year ahead of them. They no longer have any excuses. They have two fantastic drivers, the best technical and operational bosses (of questionable organization, though) and most importantly, motivation. This is a recipe for success. Whether it comes in 2013 or 2014 remains to be seen.