Mercedes bid to win new hearts suffered a big hit this afternoon when a publicity stunt intended to unveil the new F1W04 went badly wrong.
The Brackley-based team had originally intended for fans to use the Twitter hashtag #F1W04Reveal to roll up the garage doors on a special animation on their website; the more #F1W04 was used by followers the more the doors would open to reveal (eventually) the new car to be driven by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in 2013.
However, within seconds of the launch going live at 16:00 GMT the team website had crashed, overwhelmed by the number of fans who had tuned in around the world to see the new machine. In an instant the Merc was trending on Twitter (ahead of both the Barclays Premier League and rugby 6 Nations tournament), while simultaneously servers were overloaded and rendered the website useless for almost three hours.
‘Show us the car!!!‘ tweeted one angry fan after a two hour wait, while others implored AMG to post a simple picture online after the time quickly stretched beyond 18:00.
‘A simple drawing will do now I’m beyond caring 😡‘ fumed another.
When the image did finally begin to appear it was too dark to make out anything of note, although the F1W04 appears to retain the silver livery of the past three seasons while abandoning the stepped nose concept of 2012.
Mercedes plan to continue to improve the picture of the car as the weekend progresses. However, many fans will be waiting for the real launch in the Jerez pitlane on Monday morning to get a proper idea of what it looks like.