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  Mercedes-Benz W12 E Performance
 

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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:2021
Predecessor:Mercedes-Benz W11 EQ Performance
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 29, 2021
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Click here to download printer friendly versionSince the introduction of the full hybrid regulations in 2014, Mercedes-Benz have managed to maintain their advantage. During this period, the rules changed only subtly, which helped the German owned team to keep an edge. This looked set to continue in the 2021 season, which saw the development limited to two 'tokens' following the Covid-19 pandemic affected 2020 season. In addition to the two component changes allowed, there were also a change in the aerodynamic regulations. Working within these parameters, Mercedes-Benz produced an evolution of the 2020 World Championship winning W11, dubbed the W12 E Performance.

Carried over from the 2020 car was the monocoque chassis and the gearbox. Changes were made to the engine, which included a new plenum and revised turbocharger to cure some of the reliability issues that affected the power unit during the 2020 season. A new aluminium alloy was also used for the engine block for the same reason. The regulation changes focused on the floor and the bargeboards. Both areas are made simpler to reduce the level of downforce produced. Further changes included a bulge on the bodywork to clear the new plenum.

Despite the limited changes to the regulations, the Mercedes-Benz team seemed to have lossed its edge at the official three-day, pre-season test. The regulation changes clearly affected the areas where the Mercedes-Benz was particularly strong. The rivalling Red Bull team also benefited from a much improved Honda power unit, which truly seemed to have levelled the playing field. The Mercedes-Benz engineers spent the short few weeks before the first race to get back on par.

In practice and qualifying, Red Bull Racing still had an edge with Max Verstappen clinching pole position. In a particular close race, and with the help of a bold strategy, Mercedes-Benz driver Lewis Hamilton managed to snatch the victory, restoring the order for at least one more race.

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  Article Image gallery (25) Specifications