Mercedes have become the last of F1’s big hitters to launch their 2012 racer by taking the covers of their WO3 in Barcelona this morning.

Rated by many as the car that could return Michael Schumacher to winning ways, and help Nico Rosberg finally break his victory duck, the car features one of the most dramatic platypus noses seen on the 2012 cars, but otherwise bares plenty of resemblance to its predecessor.

Credit: AMG Mercedes GP

The team shook the car down last week, leaving Schumacher pleased with his new motor.

“Already last week, when we were driving the F1 W03 for the very first time, it instantly gave us good feedback and sensations,” the seven-time champ said during today’s launch, before adding that taking the wraps off a fresh machine had lost none of its thrill.

“I have done quite a few roll-outs and launches of new cars, but even after all these years, I must say it still feels special,” said Schumacher. “Days like this are precious moments, as they are always filled with hope and anticipation.”

Meanwhile team boss Ross Brawn has admitted that the team must make progress in 2012 following two successive fourth place finishes in the constructors’ standings.

“We have to go forward,” said the Englishman. “None of us are happy with a recurring fourth place. That is not why any of us are here. We have to go forward, but I am quietly confident with the strength we have got, the resources we have got and the team we are building that we can do that.”

The car hits the track for the first time this morning at the second of F1’s pre-season tests.
Credit: AMG Mercedes GP