Mercedes must’ve been “drunk” to approve Project One hypercar

HomeCar NewsMercedes must've been "drunk"...

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CEO says troublesome mega-hybrid will arrive imminently, ahead of an “honest” documentary about its development.

The Mercedes-Benz board must have been “drunk” when they agreed to the delayed and troublesome Mercedes-AMG One, CEO Ola Källenius joked to investors yesterday.

The company will reveal news about the Formula 1-engined hypercar “in a couple of weeks”, Källenius said, indicating that Mercedes is finally ready to reveal a car that has given it almost as many headaches as the similarly themed Aston Martin Valkyrie has given its creator.

Mercedes AMG Project One Lewis Hamilton 2

“The team at AMG and the [AMG] High Performance Powertrain Formula 1 arm came to us about four years ago and said ‘we’ve got a great idea, let’s put a Formula 1 engine into a road car’. I will have to go back to check the meeting minutes, but I’m sure we were drunk when we said yes,” Källenius said in Monaco in answer to a question about when the One would appear in its final form.

The original Project One concept was revealed in 2017, and the car’s development has since been beset by delays due to the complexities of adapting the F1 powertrain for the street.

The 750kW-plus four-wheel-drive model, which uses a hybridised 1.6-litre V6 adapted from that of Mercedes-AMG’s championship-winning 2017 F1 car, was originally due in early 2019.

The company has previously claimed a 351km/h top speed and 0-200km/h in 6.0sec.

Engineering struggles reportedly included getting the complex powertrain to comply with WLTP emissions standards using a petrol particulate filter without compromising performance.

Mercedes last year said that production of the 275 examples would start in 2022 and that each had already been sold for a price of €2.27 million (AUD$3.4m).

Källenius said the car will neatly link the company’s F1 activities with its road cars. “It demonstrates that our engagement with F1 has direct effect on the AMG brand,” he said.

Mercedes will also post a “very honest documentary” about its progress on the project, said Bettina Fetzer, its head of marketing, at the same event.

“Very honest” suggests Mercedes has realised that its struggles to get an incredibly difficult project off the ground could show the company in a good light as it worked around the problems, perhaps taking inspiration from F1’s warts-and-all Drive to Survive documentary series by Netflix.

Nick Gibbs

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