As the 2017 Formula 1 cars launch this week, several of them, so far, have what is being called the “shark fin”. Mercedes was not one of them, or at least their fin was nowhere near as prolonged as Force India, Sauber or Renault.
What Mercedes did try out was something being referred to as a T-Wing and the team aren’t completely convinced they will stick with it.
“We have seen many pictures of other cars, but from now until the first race we will have a continuous programme of evolution,” he said.
“As you have seen, the launch spec was without the little T-wing, and then we tested it – and then we will carry on in Barcelona day by day testing different configurations.
“We will have as well a longer tail configuration to be tested in combination with new rear wings for Melbourne.”
This created some discussion points among fans and pundits but it seems Mercedes has reserved the right to add a shark fin or even the T-Wing come the first grand prix in Australia.
Let the drivers tweet, Snapchat and Instagram!
If it was up to Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton, he’d like to tweet or post pictures of the progress Mercedes is making this season as he’s called for a lift of the video and picture ban F1 currently has on the drivers and teams. No one can take pictures or video inside the paddock without approval from the FIA/FOM to do so.
I’ve written about this before because then CEO, Bernie Ecclestone, knew this was the product, this was the asset of F1 and to let everyone video, snapchat and tweet pictures, in his mind, eroded the industry and revenue stream.
“If you look at football, social media is so much greater, they utilise social media a lot better in football, in the NBA, in the NFL,” Hamilton said during the Mercedes 2017 launch at Silverstone.
“In F1 every time, for example, I would have posted a picture or a video, I would have got a warning from the FIA, or notice telling you to take it down.
“This year I am hoping that they will change that rule, and allow social media for all of us, because social media is obviously an incredible medium for the world to communicate with.
“It is a super easy free tool to grow for the sport, for us to use, to share it, to engage with other people.
“There are people who are following me who have not been F1 fans for a long, long time, but one of their friends who happens to follow me or one of the other drivers has said to follow, and [they have] since started to watch the races.”
Lewis is a different driver, however, and he’s made maximum use of social media for building his brand and even Ecclestone, at the time, praised his work on promoting F1 but that had limits inside the paddock. What Lewis did in his personal life was applauded but not allowed in the paddock of F1.
Lewis is correct in that other sports use digital media to greater effect but there is also a flip side of that coin with some sports getting in hot water over some fo the things its players and pundits have posted online.
Lewis ascribes his brand as bringing fans into the sport and I have no reason to doubt that as I think he makes prolific use of the medium but that doesn’t always translate for every driver and every teammate. Then there is Liberty Media’s feelings on the matter as well. They may agree with Lewis and see this as a way to promote the sport without paying for it. Time will tell.