In 2011, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, the driver pairing from the previous year, lined up in the new MGP W02 for the team’s second Formula 1 season and the second year in the modern era of the Silver Arrow story.
The new Silver Arrow was unveiled on February 1st 2011 at winter testing in Valencia. The MGP W02 was the conclusion of around twelve months intensive design and development work that included the return of the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and the new Drag Reduction System (DRS / adjustable rear wing flap).
After a tough start to the season for the team in Australia, Michael secured the first points of the year at the home race of title sponsor PETRONAS in Malaysia. In the third race of the season at the Shanghai International Circuit in China, Nico and Michael achieved a double points finish to mark the conclusion of the overseas races that take place early in the season. Back on European soil, Michael and Nico placed sixth and seventh respectively at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix was to become a race that stuck in everyone’s memory, as it was interrupted by no less than seven safety car periods. After a strong showing, Michael placed fourth in an action-packed Canadian Grand Prix that was badly affected by adverse weather conditions, missing a podium by less than half a second at the finish line.
Nico and Michael secured 89 and 76 points respectively by the end of the year, resulting in a P7 and P8 in the drivers’ world championship. MERCEDES GP PETRONAS on 165 points finished fourth in the constructors’ standings.
The team prepared the ground for the future by appointing several new engineers, and Bob Bell commenced work as the new Technical Director at an early stage in the season on April 1st, 2011. His brief was mainly to lead the group responsible for chassis development at the team’s factory in Brackley. In September that year, MERCEDES GP PETRONAS also announced the appointment of Technology Director Geoffrey Willis and Engineering Director Aldo Costa, further strengthening the team’s technical expertise. Costa is responsible for design and development, whilst Willis runs the departments of aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, control systems and simulations.
In early November, the team and Nico agreed a long-term contract that included the 2013 season and beyond. It was therefore definite that Nico and Michael would line up for their third season together as driver pairing for the Silver Arrows works team in 2012 that would go by the name of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, starting with the 2012 season. For more than 40 years, AMG, the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, has epitomised performance, sportiness, driving enjoyment and success in motor racing throughout the world. The brand has been ever present in the world of Formula 1 since 1996 and supplies both the Formula 1 safety car and the Formula 1 medical car. Consequently, it was a logical step for the team to strengthen the ties between AMG and Mercedes-Benz in Formula 1.