THE 2019 F1 SEASON may have concluded but the Abu Dhabi GP didn’t mark the pre-Christmas wrapping up of Mercedes duties for six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton: last week the British driver cast his expert eye over Merc’s new hybrid hypercar, the Mercedes-AMG One.
While he didn’t get the chance to take the car for a spin, Hamilton watched on as the prototype made its way around a test track, under both pure-electric and hybrid power, which unleashes the Mercedes-AMG One’s near-1,000bhp maximum potential.
Mercedes says its hypercar uses the same 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 and electric motor technology that’s powered Hamilton to five of his six world championship titles, as well as 57 of his 88 pole positions and 62 of his 84 grand prix victories.
Mercedes is keeping under wraps exactly how much power the One produces, though it’s suggested the road car’s turbo-hybrid setup won’t be far off the F1 car, with a combined output “in excess of 992bhp” — enough to propel the Mercedes-AMG One beyond 217mph, it is claimed.
The Formula One-like powertrain and performance aren’t where the similarities end; Hamilton said the bark from the Mercedes-AMG One’s exhaust is “pretty much exactly the same as it is in the race car”.
This is despite Mercedes needing to make some big changes to the engine to make it usable on the public highway. Unlike the grand prix car, the Mercedes-AMG One’s engine runs on the same grade of 98 octane super unleaded fuel you can buy at petrol stations across the UK, and the rev limiter has been reduced from 15,000rpm to a still-lofty-by-road-car-standards 11,000rpm. It even comes with a stop/ start fuel saving system.
Even though Mercedes has now shown the Mercedes-AMG One running under its own power for the first time, it’s unclear how much work needs to be done before the car is ready to hit the road. The last official update on the Mercedes-AMG’s development dates back to September 27, 2018, when the car maker confirmed the vehicle’s active aerodynamics features were being scrutinised in wind tunnel tests.
Regardless of how far away from production it is, Lewis Hamilton seems intent on adding one to his car collection. On a post to Instagram, the F1 star declared the One to be his “new dream” car, and went as far to ask his followers to help him pick the colour for his hybrid hypercar.
Considering the F1 ace is a petrolhead who isn’t exactly short on spare change (according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2019, he has a net worth of around £187m), Lewis Hamilton could afford to collect some keys to other upcoming hybrid hypercars — namely the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Toyota GR Super Sport that will take to the track at the fabled Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race in 2021. Not that we’d hear about it while he drives for the Silver Arrows, of course.