Lewis Hamilton on hand to unveil 2013 Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with the new Mercedes at Jerez
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with the new Mercedes at Jerez

Lewis Hamilton and his new Mercedes team have unveiled their 2013 challenger at the Jerez circuit in Spain.

The new F1 W04 is one of two Formula One cars constructed entirely in Northamptonshire, with the team based in Brackley and the engine built in Brixworth.

Hamilton, aged 28, is set to compete in his first F1 season away from McLaren, a team he was with from the age of 13. He will be partnered by German Nico Rosberg, his former team-mate in karts, who took his maiden F1 win at the Chinese Grand Prix last year.

Speaking to the official Formula One website, Hamilton said: “I’ve been at the factory getting to know the guys, meeting my mechanics and engineers, learning myself into the team and I have never seen a group of people that is hungrier for success than this one.

“They have been flat out this winter trying to pack more performance into the new car and I can’t wait to drive it and see where I can make a difference to help push the team forward with Nico.”

Team principal Ross Brawn said: “We are hugely proud to welcome Lewis to the team as a works Mercedes-Benz driver. With Lewis and Nico, we have what I believe to be the strongest driver line-up in Formula One and I know that a healthy level of competition between them both will help drive the team forward.

“The restructuring we undertook at the team over the past 18 months are now growing in maturity and this is reflected in the F1 W04, which is a clear step forward in design and detail sophistication over its predecessor.

“Many thousands of hours of work have been invested by our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth to ensure that the new car delivers a step change in performance compared to last season.”

The new F1 W04 is an evolution of last year’s car, which started the season strongly, but suffered a significant drop-off in performance in the second half of the year.

Mercedes are the latest outfit to scrap the ugly stepped nose design featured on most 2012 cars, in favour of a so-called ‘vanity panel’.

The new car will now complete 12 days of pre-season testing prior to the Australian Grand Prix on March 17.