According to the team, the elaborately named Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ is an evolution of the car that won 12 races and took 15 pole positions in 2017, taking Lewis Hamilton to his fourth drivers’ crown as the Mercedes simultaneously secured a fourth straight constructors’ title.
"Last year the car was fantastic, but there were so many things we could still improve on," said Hamilton. "What we’ve done is taken a lot of the DNA from last year’s car – this is the sister car, an evolution of that.
"This is better than last year’s car in every aspect. It looks quite similar but inside, underneath the shell, and even the bodywork, it’s all refined to perform even better than it did last year.
"I’m really excited because there were some races – like Silverstone – that were very successful for us, but then there were some races where we struggled. Understanding where our weaknesses were and then working on them has been at the forefront of our goals and minds.
"The engineers have done a phenomenal job – I’m really proud and grateful for all the hard work that’s gone in. I’m fit and ready to take [the new car] where it needs to go."
The W09 was presented to the world’s media following an earlier shakedown run on Silverstone’s International Circuit, with Valtteri Bottas giving the car its maiden outing ahead of a similar familiarisation stint for Hamilton in the afternoon.
Running on demonstration tyres on a damp track, the Finn said it was hard to glean too much but that the new car "felt good".
"The conditions are what they normally are at Silverstone at this time of the year, but everything was working well," he said. "The car felt good and the engine was running well, so it's a start."
"All the hard work, all the long hours over the winter have brought the car to life," added team chief Toto Wolff. "Doing the first laps and seeing the car is working ok is a very exciting moment.
"We won the championship last year but it was difficult at times, some really strong opposition. We needed to find the right balance between developing our car without losing its raw speed. Last year’s car was the fastest car on track – it won the most races and had the most pole positions. We needed to preserve that."
Mercedes will get a first chance to assess the true pace of the W09 when pre-season testing gets underway in Barcelona next week.