Mercedes adopts black for 2023 Formula One season

Mercedes has reverted to a black livery for the new Formula One season in an attempt to reclaim the top spot in Grand Prix racing in 2023.

Lewis Hamilton and fellow driver George Russell unveiled the new car at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, central England, on Wednesday.

Multiple world champion Hamilton, 38, finished sixth last year, his lowest finish at the end of a Formula One championship, as Mercedes struggled to adapt to the sport's new regulations.

However, they are hoping that a return to black – the colors that carried British racer Lewis Hamilton to a record-equaling seventh title in 2020 – will signal a change in fortunes.

Hamilton, one of motorsport's few black drivers, encouraged Mercedes to paint their cars black for the 2020 and 2021 seasons as part of an anti-racism campaign.

Mercedes' traditional racing color has been silver, hence the nickname "Silver Arrows" for the German-founded marque.

And team principal Toto Wolff explained that this year's color change was motivated by performance.

"We were overweight last year," Wolff admitted. "This year, we tried to figure out where we could squeeze out every last gram. As a result, history is repeating itself.

"The car has some raw carbon bits as well as some painted matte black.

"Of course when we changed the livery in 2020, the main driving factor was to support the diversity and equality causes which are always close to our heart.

"At that point, the color black became part of our DNA, so we are delighted to return to it."

- 'I've been here a long time.'

Hamilton's streak of winning at least one race in every season of his career, dating back to his debut season for McLaren in 2007, came to an end last year when he finished 214 points behind champion Max Verstappen and even behind Mercedes teammate Russell, who finished fourth.

Hamilton, who is in the final year of his current £40 million-a-year contract, will be hoping that Mercedes has now provided him with a machine to challenge rival Verstappen and Red Bull.

"I've been here a long time," Hamilton said ahead of his 11th season with Mercedes and 17th in Formula One overall.

"I continue to love racing and that is never ever going to change. It's in my blood, and I always believe I can improve.

"I love the challenge of the mental and the physical elements, of having to deep dive, and see how I can extract more performance from me, the people around me, and the car that is constantly evolving.

"There is always a new logbook and new tools to get used to, and I enjoy that, so I plan to stay a little longer."

Hamilton and Russell, who won his first race and Mercedes' only race of 2022 in Brazil, will get their first taste of this year's car during three days of testing in Bahrain next week before the season opener, also in the Gulf Kingdom, on March 5.

Russell, 25, stated that he was aware of what was expected of him as he prepared for his second season with Mercedes.

"We're all here to win," he declared. "It's really that simple.

"We need to go out there and see what challenges we face, but the team has worked so hard on this car."

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