Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance - 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix
Mercedes’ contender for the 2020 season, the F1 W11 EQ Performance was conceived to make history: to lead the team to an unparalleled seventh consecutive FIA Formula One Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship double. After a delayed start to an unusual season, which was never going to be normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the W11 remained a rare constant, dominating both Championships with 13 wins (a win percentage of 76.5%) and 12 front row lockouts from only 17 races. The W11 was driven by Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Williams F1’s George Russell, who deputised for Hamilton in his absence at the Sakhir Grand Prix after he tested positive for coronavirus. Hamilton dominated the season, equalling Michael Schumacher’s fifteen-year record when he secured his seventh Drivers’ Championship at the Turkish Grand Prix in Round 14. He would in fact finish 124 points ahead of his teammate Bottas despite not competing in Sakir, a gap that on its own would have placed Hamilton fifth in the Drivers’ Championship.
Hamilton and the W11 now hold the record for the fastest pole position lap in history, clinching the achievement in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton averaged 164.3 mph (264.4 km/h) across his 1m18.887 lap of Monza. The W11 is quite possibly the fastest F1 car the world will ever see, at least for the foreseeable future, with the incoming rule changes for 2021 decreasing the downforce levels of the cars. For perspective, the W11 is widely considered to be around seven seconds a lap faster than Ayrton Senna’s commanding 1989 McLaren MP4/4 and five seconds a lap quicker than Michael Schumacher’s dominating Ferrari F2004. In the words of Hamilton himself, the W11 was “the best car we have ever built. And possibly the best car we will ever have”. The Mercedes team set new lap records during Grands Prix at eight different tracks in 2020, with five falling to Hamilton, two to Bottas, and one to Russell, crushing records held since the V10 era. Rather fittingly, the W11 attained a seventh consecutive International Racing Car of the Year Award for the team at the 2020 Autosport Awards, as voted for by the public.
Unveiled initially on Valentine’s Day in its usual silver livery with new Official Principal Partners INEOS, the W11‘s colour was switched to an all-black livery in a public pledge to improve the diversity of the team, following the global movement against racism. It is considered one of the most striking liveries in recent years and made a strong statement about the intentions of the team known historically as the Silver Arrows.
Three years in the making, the W11 was the culmination of efforts started in 2017 to improve Mercedes’ traditional struggles in slow corners. The dominant W10 of 2019 was very balanced in all types of corner on the racetrack, and the W11 was an evolution of the knowledge gained in that title winning season. One of the more innovative solutions developed by the engineers was the Dual Axis Steering (DAS) system, which allowed the driver to adjust the toe of the front wheels to optimise mechanical grip by pulling or pushing on the steering wheel. More structural complexity was introduced around the front uprights and wheel rims in a compromise to provide higher performance overall, whilst Mercedes followed the pitlane trend by moving the upper side impact tube to the lower position and banking the aerodynamic gain that comes with this layout. At the rear of the car, the design of the suspension was changed in order to free up aerodynamic development opportunities and reduce understeer.
Overall, the W11 earned 13 wins, 12 further podiums, 15 pole positions and 9 fastest laps from just 17 races, scoring 573 points and giving the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship titles for a record seventh consecutive time.
This intricately hand-crafted 1:18 scale model of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance has been replicated as it was raced by George Russell at the Formula 1 Rolex Sakhir Grand Prix on the 6 December 2020. Ahead of the race weekend, the ever-present Lewis Hamilton tested positive for Covid-19 and, in accordance with Bahrain and FIA protocols, he was declared unfit to participate, missing a race for the first time since his debut thirteen years prior. This opened the door for Mercedes junior driver Russell to step up from the Mercedes-powered Williams Racing team and partner Vatteri Bottas.
Saturday saw a fantastic qualifying session, where Bottas set the shortest pole position lap in Formula 1 history with a time of 53.377 seconds. Russell clocked a debut Q3 time just 0.026 seconds short of Bottas’ pole to lock out the front row for the team. After the race on Sunday though, the team were left to rue what might have been. Russell started quickly and seized Bottas’ lead into the first corner. The duo remained in their positions through an early safety car before the end of lap 1, the first round of pit stops and a virtual safety car on lap 54. On lap 61, a second virtual safety car was called as Russell’s race replacement at Williams Jack Aitken spun and knocked off his front wing at the final corner. Two laps later, this was upgraded to a full safety car and Mercedes elected to call both of their drivers in for fresh tyres. However, a radio communication issue led to confusion over which tyre crew was to prepare first. As a result, Russell was sent out illegally with Bottas’ front tyres. By the time the team realised the error, Bottas had remained in the pits for nearly half a minute and was already returning to the track on the same set of tyres on which he entered the pit lane. Russell was forced to make an additional pit-stop to correct the issue, before being released back into fifth position. Within four laps of the safety car restart, Russell had fought back to second and began chasing down new race leader Sergio Pérez. However, on lap 78, of an 87-lap race, fate struck a cruel blow, as Russell suffered a rear left tyre puncture, forcing him to pit for a fourth time for a new set of tyres. Emerging in fourteenth, Russell again battled back and managed to claim ninth position to gain his first ever points in Formula 1. He finished three seconds behind Bottas, who had struggled for the rest of the race on his used set of tyres. Russell also claimed the fastest lap of the race, and his time of 55.404 seconds was the first sub-60 second fastest race lap in the sports' 70 year history.
This model was created by the Amalgam Collection, in collaboration with the Memento Group. These exquisite models have been developed in the workshops of Amalgam with the assistance of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team regarding CAD data, original finishes, materials and original drawings. Part of the Memento Group’s official Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team collection, the Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance has been crafted under licence from Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited.
The Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance is limited to just 500 pieces at 1:18 scale.
This model is a part of the 2020 Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance Collection.
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