Even more of the most beautiful and successful Formula 1 race cars in history, presented in a way they have never been seen before. Formula 1: the pinnacle of motorsports. This is the world’s most popular form of racing, featuring the world’s greatest drivers competing in the most technologically advanced cars ever created, machines designed and built by some of history’s most brilliant engineering minds. For the original edition of Art of the Formula 1 Race Car, master automotive photographer James Mann brought a selection of these spectacular machines into the studio, portraying not just their engineering brilliance, but also their inherent beauty– the fascinating results of Formula 1’s mix of competition, creativity, and human ingenuity has made these vehicles into works of art. Now, in this new and updated edition, Mann has gone behind the lens once again to bring you even more of history’s most astounding racing vehicles, from the Alfa Romeo 158 that carried Giuseppe Farina to the first F1 world championship in 1950 all the way through to the present day, with models from Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Lotus, Ferrari, McLaren, and all of racing’s premier Formula 1 engineers. With historical and technological profiles by Formula 1 writer Stuart Codling and insightful commentary from designer Gordon Murray, creator of multiple championship-winning cars, the revised and updated Art of the Formula 1 Race Car continues its tradition as the ultimate homage to the ultimate breed of race car. Discover what Road & Track magazine called “the perfect blend of pictures, analysis and the racing history of these remarkable racing machines.”
The Art of the Formula 1 Race Car: Mercedes-Benz WO3
New rules for the 2012 F1 season had a significant impact on the look and function of all the cars on the grid. To improve safety in side impacts, the FIA mandated that the height of the chassis in front of the cockpit had to drop from a maximum of 625mm above the reference plane (level with the “tea tray” splitter plate behind the front wheels) to 550mm— within the space of 150mm. Since most teams ran a high chassis to open up more space below the driver’s legs for aerodynamic purposes, they obeyed the letter of the law, resulting in rather ugly “stepped” noses.
At the rear, the FIA tried to halt the recent tendency to use exhaust gases to accelerate airflow through the diffuser, mandating that the exhaust outlets had to be a specific size, shape, and angle and sited in a specific location. Here, once again, Mercedes was caught out, possibly because its design efforts were focused on clever innovations elsewhere. The W03 launched with exhausts that complied with the letter and spirit of the law, while rival teams appeared with cleverly shaped bodywork aft of the outlets. The goal was to harness the Coanda effect (the tendency of gases and fluids to “follow” a surface) to continue “blowing” the diffuser. Even so, there were howls of outrage from technical directors up and down the grid once they realized the W03 was equipped with a cunning Double DRS system that thoroughly circumvented the rules banning moveable aerodynamic devices. Based on the lessons of the 2010 F-duct and 2011 stalling front wing, the system also stalled the lower element of the rear wing. Since it was entirely passive and was triggered automatically by fluidic switches when the driver legally deployed the DRS , the system weathered the storm of protests that enveloped it during the early races. Had the W03 been hugely more competitive than the other frontrunners, perhaps the protests would have stuck. As it was, Mercedes once again struggled to turn a qualifying pace into results. Schumacher and Rosberg usually qualified in the top ten but then went backwards, a consequence of the complex DRS system causing some handling instability as well as the seemingly intractable issue of rapid tire degradation. Rosberg qualified on pole and won convincingly in China, the first of each such achievement for Mercedes in F1 since 1955. But other teams developed faster, and the W03’s relative competitiveness slumped in the second half of the season. The Mercedes board began to chafe, and while Brawn held on to his job— for another year—longtime Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug was edged into retirement. Michael Schumacher was also invited to retire once more against his will, but this time for good.
- First championship GP: Australia (Melbourne), 2012
- Last championship GP: Brazil (Interlagos), 2012
- Wins/championship races entered: 1/20
- Wins: China (Shanghai) 2012 Rosberg
- Engine: 2398cc Mercedes-Benz V-8, 765 horsepower (est.)