For the second consecutive season, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS will be the only front-running team on the grid to field an unchanged driver line-up. After a titanic battle between the pair throughout the 2014 season, both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have been hard at work in preparation for the season ahead and are relishing the challenge of 2015:
“The winter break was a good chance to relax. I was working right up until mid-December and had been in the factory earlier that day but then had a couple of weeks away skiing before getting straight back into training after Christmas”, says Lewis. “It’s never great to get back into that routine but it has to be done and my motivation was not lacking in any way, which is a really positive sign.
“You hear about people who achieve a lot but then lose their focus and you wonder; at what point does it fade off? I’m grateful that the fire is still there in me. I think subconsciously the taste of success spurs me on – I like that feeling and I want to feel it again and again. I’m not going to sit here and say I don’t feel like I’ve won two World Championships – but I’m a racer. I’m glad me and Nico had the battle we did last year. I love winning races but it just feels so much better when you have to fight for it. I just want to get back out there, race hard, be the best I can be and hopefully win some more.
“But just because you’ve had success before, it’s never easy to just carry it on. We’ve probably made it harder for ourselves with the way things went last year – it isn’t easy to improve on something that was already so strong when the rules haven’t really changed. But we know there are areas we can improve and I know everyone wants to come back even stronger. I’ve seen the guys at the factory pushing like crazy to put everything together, so it just goes to show that you can’t ever really be comfortable. Hopefully we’re on the right path. It’s not until the end of the last test that you start to get a feel for where the car might be – and even then you don’t know for sure. You can never rule anybody out and we’ll be keeping an eye on the others as always. Unfortunately for them we have an amazing team and it will be tough to match the work these guys do – but not impossible. We have to take things one step at a time and hope that at the end of those 20 big steps in the season we’re ahead.”
“It’s been a great winter, although it has actually seemed very long to me”, says Nico. “The lucky thing about this sport as a driver is that you get a lot of down time between each season to rest, recharge, spend time with the family and really hit the training hard. But now I am eager to get back to work and go maximum attack for another season. I know the feeling of winning and of fighting for a Championship after last year – but I also know the feeling of not winning in the end and I don’t want to repeat that. It’s an extra boost and it gives me so much motivation for the year ahead.
“I’m so proud to be in this moment with the team – coming off the back of a fantastic year, putting the Silver Arrows right back at the front where they belong. It will be massively tough to repeat what we achieved in 2014 but we all want to keep that momentum going and to dominate the sport for many years to come. We know the opposition will be right there, so we have to keep pushing flat out to have any chance of doing that. Nothing is for certain but, whatever happens, I know it will be another great battle with Lewis. This year is the rematch for me and I’m massively motivated for it.
“It’s always a really exciting time around the launch – getting to drive the car for the first time, having our first insight into what’s new, how it feels, how hard we can push straight away. Then getting into what the set-up parameters are doing, making a few changes, getting a feel for how it behaves. I know so much about the new car from my time at the factory – but only on paper. Getting out there and driving it properly in testing will be an awesome feeling. This is where we build our experience and knowledge for the first race and it’s so important to get that baseline right. Melbourne is a long way off but I’m feeling good in myself and confident in this team because, to put it simply, they’re just an awesome group of people to work with.”