Ranked: Every Mercedes car since the Silver Arrows returned to F1

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton drives the W11.

Mercedes have made some of the most dominant cars in F1 history.

While it may seem like a distant memory for some Mercedes fans, the Silver Arrows have produced some of the finest cars in F1’s history.

The German manufacturer returned to the sport in 2010 after a 55-year absence and four years later, they were back on the top of the tree once again.

So here is every Mercedes car of the modern era ranked:

14.) F1 W13 E Performance – 2022

1 win out of 22 races, 17 podiums
515 points, 3rd in Constructors’ Championship, 4th and 7th in Drivers’ Championship
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

The 2023 car may have currently won one race fewer than its predecessor but if the W14 at least gives Mercedes something to build on, the platform offered by the W13 was similar to a bowl of jelly in a bouncy castle.

The story of the W13 is one of the most interesting in Mercedes’ history. Having lost out to Max Verstappen and Red Bull for the 2021 Drivers’ title, the Silver Arrows were determined to get back on top of the tree and when the covers were taken off the W13 in pre-season testing, their competitors could have been concerned this was another Mercedes’ masterstroke.

The sidepod-less design was strikingly different from the other competitors but after the first few laps, it was evident not all was well.

Porpoising affected many teams in 2023 but it was Mercedes who seemed to suffer most and the W13 became the unsolvable puzzle for the team.

It is rare a win can be seen as a negative but their solitary victory in Sao Paulo convinced them to stick to their design and it was a move that had repercussions going into the 2023 season.

13.) MGP W02 – 2011

0 wins out of 19 races, 0% win percentage, 0 podiums
165 points, 4th in Constructors’ standings, 7th and 8th in Drivers’ standings
Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher

Statistically, the W02 is the worst car of this modern Mercedes era with zero wins and zero podiums but it was a team still finding its feet.

It was also a year where the team really struggled with reliability. Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher shared seven retirements between them but they did score points in all but two races.

The final result was P4 in the standings and provided lessons for what was needed for a sustained title push.

12.) F1 W14 E Performance – 2023

0 wins out of 22* races, 0% win percentage, 7 podiums
382 points, 2nd in Constructors’ standings, 3rd and 8th in Drivers’ standings
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

In the winless W14’s defence, it has looked better than its predecessor but the RB19 being streets ahead means even a good race is no guarantee of a victory.

Judging the W14 can almost be split into parts – pre-Monaco and post.

For whatever reason, the minds at Mercedes were convinced their troubled zeropod design could be rescued and as such, they rolled out a similar looking car for 2023 pre-season testing. The only thing that can be said in their defence is that at least they abandoned that idea quickly.

The B-spec car was first unveiled in Monaco but it was not until the following race in Barcelona where it showed what he could do.

But that resurrection has by no means lifted Mercedes to where they want to be. The W14 looks at best the third quickest car on the grid and it has some glaring weaknesses, most notably its inability to warm its tyres up quickly.

A new floor was introduced in the latter half of the season in the hope that it will provide lessons to go into building a 2024 car that will rank towards the top of this list and not at the bottom.

11.) MGP W01 – 2010

0 wins out of 19 races, 0% win percentage, 3 podiums
214 points, 4th in Constructors’ standings, 7th and 9th in Drivers’ standings
Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher

After a 55-year break, Mercedes returned to Formula 1 as a chassis constructor and did so in rather unusual circumstances.

They took over a team that had just completed the Cinderella story of winning the world title in its first year of competing and although Brawn’s competitors caught up by the end of the 2009 season, Ross Brawn’s decision to stay on as team principal provided some continuity as the Brackley outfit entered its next phase.

The brilliance of Brawn in the team was bettered only by the arrival of Schumacher, seeing him combine with his former Ferrari colleague and completing a lifelong dream of racing for Mercedes.

The car though did not match the talents of the people behind it.

Red Bull, with their own mastermind Adrian Newey, built a championship-calibre car and while the W1 was not a terrible car, earning double points in its first race, it fell short of the mark set by Brawn.

10.) F1 W03 – 2012

1 win out of 20 races, 5% win percentage, 3 podiums
142 points, 5th in Constructors’ standings, 9th and 13th in Drivers’ standings
Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher

After an unsatisfactory 2011, 2012 brought a renewed optimism with the team’s first win since Juan Manuel Fangio’s at the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.

That victory would be secured by Nico Rosberg at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix, marking the first race since the 2009 Italian Grand Prix not won by Red Bull, McLaren or Ferrari.

They would end the year on 142 points, actually down on their 2011 tally, but that victory was a milestone in the story of Mercedes.

9.) F1 W04 – 2013

3 wins out of 19 races, 16% win percentage, 9 podiums
360 points, 2nd in Constructors’ standings, 4th and 6th in Drivers’ standings
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton

2013 was the year Mercedes began to emerge as a top team in the sport. The Red Bull remained out of reach but the Silver Arrows recorded three wins and nine podiums on their way to their first ever P2 in the Constructors’ Championship.

Organisationally, it was a monumental year too for the team with Toto Wolff coming in as executive director and Mercedes pulling off the coup of the decade by tempting Lewis Hamilton away from McLaren.

The W4 was a better car than what had come before but it was merely a sign of what was to come.

8.) F1 W09 EQ Power+ – 2018

11 wins out of 21 races, 52% win percentage, 25 podiums
655 points, 1st in Constructors’ standings, 1st and 5th in Drivers’ standings
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas

Such is the high bar set by Mercedes that the W9’s record of 11 victories out of 21 races somehow seems like a missed opportunity.

It was the first year after F1 had introduced regulations which appeared designed to stop Mercedes in their tracks. The rule changes did not achieve that effect but they did allow the others to close the gap somewhat.

It would take Mercedes four races to win and Hamilton’s fifth title was by no means a given.

By the end of the British Grand Prix and round 10, it was Sebastian Vettel who was top of the standings but it was in the second half of the season that Hamilton and Mercedes wrestled back control.

Victories in all but three of the final 11 races showed Mercedes’ talent of developing well and secure yet another two trophies for their collection.

7.) F1 W12 E Performance – 2021

9 wins out of 22 races, 41% win percentage, 28 podiums
613.5 points, 1st in Constructors’ standings, 2nd and 3rd in Drivers’ standings
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas

2021 was a freak season in Formula 1. Two different constructors with two world class drivers battling it out until the very last moment for glory.

The truth is, it took a herculean effort by Red Bull to topple their long-time rivals. A driver who was ascending into the list of F1 greats, a car designed by one of the sport’s best minds and perhaps Mercedes’ eye moving towards the new regulations in 2022.

The W12 was an exceptional car but unlike many of its predecessors, for the first time it had a match in the RB16B.

For the first half of the season the Red Bull car was better, allowing Verstappen to build a healthy lead, but the “rocket” engine installed late on in the year swung supremacy in Mercedes’ favour.

Helmut Marko said he had never seen an engine like it, so much so that there were veiled hints at foul play but the result was to be a last-lap shootout in the very final race.

The W12 will go down as one of the finest cars never to win the Drivers’ title.

6.) F1 W08 EQ Power+ – 2017

12 wins out of 20 races, 60% win percentage, 26 podiums
668 points, 1st in Constructors’ standings, 1st and 3rd in Drivers’ standings
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas

After the nuclear fallout of the 2016 season, Mercedes needed an era of calm and the W8 brought them just that.

With Valtteri Bottas quickly getting up to speed, the team won 12 out of 20 races and ended on 668 points but it was at the Spanish Grand Prix where a narrower nose proved key to improving the car.

The W8 was not without its troubles though, earning the nickname “diva” by both Hamilton and Wolff.

5.) F1 W10 EQ Power+ – 2019

15 wins out of 21 races, 71% win percentage, 32 podiums
739 points, 1st in Constructors’ standings, 1st and 2nd in Drivers’ standings
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas

Heading into the 2019 season, there was the impression that Ferrari was actually the quicker of the two title contenders. That proved to be incorrect.

The W10 was particularly effective in low and mid-speed corners, helping it to win the first eight races and give Hamilton a 36-point lead over Bottas.

The W10 did struggle with some cooling issues although they would be ironed out as Mercedes scored 739 points, the second most in their history.

In terms of numbers, it is up there with the very best F1 cars. 10 poles, nine fastest laps, seven front-row lockouts and nine 1-2 finishes. It was a record breaker too, winning Mercedes their sixth consecutive Constructors’ title and matching the feat of Ferrari in the early 2000s.

4.) F1 W06 Hybrid – 2015

16 wins out of 19 races, 84% win percentage, 32 podiums
703 points, 1st in Constructors’ standings, 1st and 2nd in Drivers’ standings
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton

Having established themselves as the leading constructor in 2014, Mercedes proved it was no fluke the next year with the W6 securing 16 wins in a 19-race season.

Their opponents may have taken a step closer after a year under the new regulations but Mercedes were still able to keep them at arm’s reach.

Hamilton won the opening race in Australia before Ferrari’s Vettel took victory in Malaysia but after that, it was the Silver Arrows show.

15 wins out of the next 17 races, a consecutive streak broken up by only a pair of Vettel victories in Hungary and Singapore.

The season would end with Hamilton and Rosberg securing a one-two but perhaps the biggest indicator of the Mercedes engine power was McLaren’s P9 finish in their first year of working with Honda.

3.) F1 W05 Hybrid – 2014

16 wins out of 19 races, 84% win percentage, 31 podiums
701 points, 1st in Constructors’ standings, 1st and 2nd in Drivers’ standings
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton

If this list was formed by the most influential cars in Mercedes’ modern history, the W05 would be top of the pile.

The 2014 season was a game changer for Mercedes. They had spent plenty of years developing their engine within their Brixworth base and it was this season where they moved from a top team to the best of them all.

Rosberg won the opening race before Hamilton won four in a row. Such was their dominance that Daniel Ricciardo was the only non-Mercedes diver to win a race that year.

They would end the year on 701 points, securing their first Constructors’ title and as a sign of how good the engine was, every Mercedes customer team finished within the top six.

2.) F1 W07 Hybrid – 2016

19 wins out of 21 races, 90% win percentage, 33 podiums
765 points, 1st in Constructors’ standings, 1st and 2nd in Drivers’ standings
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton

When asked to look back on his time at Mercedes, Wolff may not pick the 2016 season as his favourite but it was by far the most dominant.

With two world class drivers in the cars, the Silver Arrows pair combined to win 19 out of 21 races and had it not been for the pair of them taking each over out in Barcelona, that number would surely have been one more.

While reliability problems were an uncharismatic issue at times, the car was strong enough to secure 765 points for Mercedes, a figure that was only recently bettered by Red Bull.

That year would prove to be the last before regulation changes in 2017 allowed the field to move closer and would be one of the final truly dominant Mercedes F1 cars.

1.) F1 W11 EQ Performance – 2020

13 wins out of 17 races, 76% win percentage, 25 podiums
573 points, 1st in Constructors’ standings, 1st and 2nd in Drivers’ standings
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas (George Russell drove in the Sakhir Grand Prix)

Mercedes' W11

Statistically speaking, the W07 may surpass the W11 but with context, there could only ever be one winner in this list.

In 2020, Mercedes were facing their most credible threat to their dominance. Regulation changes in 2017 had allowed both Ferrari and Red Bull to gradually close the gap and it seemed almost inevitable that the Silver Arrows would soon be dethroned.

Then the W11 came. While Ferrari collapsed in on themselves, Mercedes moved forward. Any suggestion they were resting on their laurels after victory in 2019 was soon put to bed and while others struggled to cope with the enforced COVID break, Mercedes used it to their advantage.

The delayed season allowed the team more time to work on a design that had been in development since 2019 and any problems found in testing were sorted by the time of the first grand prix in Austria in July.

Bottas’ victory was the first of four wins in a row and by the end of the year, the team had recorded 13 victories out of the 17 races.

Such was the dominance of Mercedes that year, Hamilton was able to miss a round due to COVID and still finish 133 points ahead of P3 Max Verstappen.

Mercedes stopped developing the car after the Belgian Grand Prix, seven races into the year, and it was only until the season finale in Abu Dhabi that Red Bull had caught up with its pace.

The W11 also goes down as the fastest F1 car ever with Hamilton recording a 164.3mph record pole lap in Monza.

It was with this car that Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher’s tally of seven world titles and there was no more fitting vehicle for him to do so in.

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