Mercedes could pull even further clear of the field in Shanghai, after readying for its debut arguably the most expensive new front nose in F1 history.
Actually, the dominant Brackley squad wanted its ultra-short nose to be fitted to the silver W05 in Melbourne, but it had failed the mandatory FIA crash test. It then failed the test two more times. But Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports from Shanghai that, on the fourth attempt, the constantly tweaked new design finally made the grade. The successful test was held on Wednesday — yesterday. “Experts had doubted that Mercedes could ever meet the crash test standards with such a short nose,” correspondent Michael Schmidt said in China.
Schmidt added that the nose, so short that the tip is actually behind the main element of the wing, will now be raced this weekend. “The car will be easier to balance with this solution,” said designer Aldo Costa. Team boss Toto Wolff explains: “The car was designed for the short nose. What we have had until now has been only a stopgap.”
If Mercedes takes another step forward in performance, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are likely to be left out the front of the field, possibly fighting wheel-to-wheel for victory as in Bahrain. German Rosberg, second two weeks ago, hinted on Thursday that he was not entirely happy with some of Hamilton’s aggressive tactics in Bahrain. “The majority was tough but respectable, so let’s go with that, rather than pick out one small example,” he said.