Mercedes’s return to Formula 1 in 2010 certainly did not live up to expectations. The team, in fact, inherits the material deriving from the Brawn GP, and has the performance of a thick driver like Michael Schumacher.
The Stuttgart-based manufacturer spends the first three years in the world-famous Circus building cars of questionable competitiveness; the situation improves in 2013, thanks to the arrival of Lewis Hamilton, but no one expects that the German army is building, for the following season, a car and an engine equipped with disarming competitiveness, capable of making the Stuttgart company sign. eighteen pole positions, twelve fastest laps, and sixteen victories out of nineteen Grand Prix races, consequently winning the constructors' title and giving the drivers title to Lewis Hamilton.
PU106A Hyrid, a very refined beating heart
In fact, 2014 is the year in which, for the first time in Formula 1, true hybrid engines are introduced, a natural evolution preceded by the introduction of the KERS system (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), introduced in the 2009 season.
The engine plays a key role in the success of the silver arrows, proving to be the most performing unit, and above all the most reliable, from pre-season tests.
Called PU106A Hybid, the engine is equipped with a 1.6 liter turbo-compressed six-cylinder crankcase, with banks inclined by 90 degrees, combined with the electric unit called ERS, which includes the MGU-K unit (Motor Generator Unit-Kinetic), which actually incorporates the KERS system, which can no longer be operated directly by the pilot, and the MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit-Heat) unit, which is connected to a shaft of the turbo group. -compressed, it exploits the kinetic energy and the enthalpy of the exhaust gases, which would be expelled by the Waste-Gate valve positioned downstream of the turbine.
The Stuttgart car manufacturer is the best interpreter of this new technology, and since the start of the season, in Melbourne, the gap seems unbridgeable for Renault and Ferrari.
Weight distribution is the W05's real secret weapon
But it is not only the engine that is the reason for this technical superiority: in fact, the W05 Hybrid is also a healthy car from a chassis-aerodynamic point of view. A single-seater, the one designed by Aldo Costa, very simple, rational, and linear, but well studied and balanced, the only one, together with Ferrari, to have a nose without a deformable structure.
Under the bodywork, each component is positioned in a very orderly and functional way, to the advantage of the reliability and cooling of all the main mechanical parts, from the turbocharger to the complex MGU-K and MGU-H systems, and the weight distribution, which they also make it easier to set up on race weekends.
The only singular feature of the car is given by the fork-shaped front suspension: the lower triangles, in fact, have been replaced by a single arm, which splits into two attachments at the body. A solution that can pay something in terms of stiffness, but that goes well with the pressing aerodynamic needs.
A season dominated by the two standard bearers of the Silver Arrows
The car was presented on January 28, 2014, on the occasion of the first day of pre-season testing, at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Spain. The WO5 Hybrid clearly proves to be the most competitive from the very first races, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg able to monopolize the top positions both in qualifying and in the race, with the exception of the Australian Grand Prix, an occasion in which the British driver is forced to retire after only three laps, due to a problem with a spark plug.
The English driver will make up for it by winning the next four races, closely followed by his teammate Nico Rosberg. The two, given the lack of rivals for the victory, will give a show on the track. In Bahrain, for example, the two Mercedes standard bearers will give life to a merciless duel, in which Lewis Hamilton will be the winner.
In Monte Carlo, Nico Rosberg will reverse the trend, taking victory after starting from pole position; in Canada, on the other hand, both cars will be slowed down by problems with the electric motor: Hamilton will therefore be forced to retire due to overheating of the braking system, while Rosberg will still come second, behind Daniel Ricciardo, who wins his first victory in career in Formula 1.
In Austria, Nico Rosberg hits his third win of the season ahead of Hamilton, who started only ninth, while in Great Britain, Lewis will return to the top step of the podium, after starting sixth, while Rosberg will retire, despite being in command of the race. due to gearbox problems.
In Germany it is Rosberg who wins again, after starting from pole, while Hamilton, who started twentieth due to a brake problem during qualifying, is the author of an extraordinary comeback, culminating in third place, obtained behind his teammate. team and Williams driver Valterri Bottas.
The daring Hungarian Grand Prix will see Daniel Ricciardo repeat the Canadian success, while the two Mercedes drivers will cross the finish line in third and fourth position, with Hamilton who, after having recovered from the back of the group, will precede his teammate.
In Belgium, on the Spa-Franchorchamps circuit, the silver arrows dominate qualifying, with Rosberg and Hamilton in the front row two seconds ahead of third place. In the race, however, the two come into contact: Hamilton suffers a puncture in a rear tire, seeing his race compromised, while Rosberg recovers up to second place after replacing the nose. At Monza Mercedes returns to score a double, the seventh of the season; on this occasion Hamilton, who started from pole position, precedes Rosberg also at the finish.
In the subsequent Grand Prix raced in Russia, Hamilton and Rosberg won another double, allowing the team to win the constructors' title with three races to spare, while in Singapore Rosberg was forced to retire due to a problem behind the wheel.
The second part of the season also continues with the alternation of the victory of the two drivers of the Stuttgart car manufacturer, who compete for the world title until the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi, which in this circumstance sees the score doubled. Mercedes dominated for the umpteenth time in qualifying, but in the race Nico Rosberg was slowed down by a problem with the ERS unit, ending up lapped by team mate Lewis Hamilton, who won his second World Title.
The season that has just ended will be only the first chapter of the winning series, which will see the Stuttgart car manufacturer the undisputed protagonist in the years to come.