MERC dominated the 2017 Formula One season and indications are that things might be similar in 2018.

The new season comprises 21 races making it the joint, longest season in F1 history.

It starts with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 25, with two additions compared to last year – the German GP at Hockenheim and the French GP at Paul Ricard.

But the Malaysian GP has been dropped.

Mercedes has meanwhile taken the wraps off its new car, which it describes as ‘the most advanced machine ever conceived by Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’.

The sleek silver racer basks in a mouthful of a name: Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+.

The “EQ Power+” bit stands for the brand’s future performance hybrid models.

The car shares some of the DNA of its predecessor, with the introduction of Halo cockpit protection and the ban of both monkey seat and high T-wings being the biggest changes.

The design is a tad more elegant.

The teams all have to increase the durability of their engines, with the new rules.

“That’s a 40 per cent increase in the distance that the hardware needs to do,” spokesman Toto Wolff said.

“We focused on trying to increase the life of the hardware without losing performance.”

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport will use the same driver line-up as in 2017 in Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

“It has just been a dream experience, working with the greatest team and extending my relationship with Mercedes who I first signed with when I was 13,” Hamilton said.

“The foundation is very strong and now they’re putting the right building bricks in place for the years ahead.”

Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.