LONDON (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg will be first and world champion Lewis Hamilton second when it comes to testing the new Mercedes Formula One car in southern Spain next month.
Mercedes said on Monday that Rosberg, the German beaten to the title last year by his British team mate, would be first to drive the F1 W06 hybrid car after it is unveiled on the opening day of pre-season testing in Jerez on Feb. 1.
Hamilton, chasing a third title this year after winning 11 races in 2014 to Rosberg’s five, will drive it on the second and third days.
Mercedes said the schedule was simply the reverse of the 2014 testing allocation, when Hamilton was first out in the new V6 turbo-powered car that replaced the old V8s.
“The workload this winter has been as great as ever. Where last year we were preparing for an all-new formula of racing, we are now faced with the big challenge of making the next step in our development,” said Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff.
“We know that we went into the winter with a target on our backs for the other teams and we are certain that our rivals will be competitive from the opening race in Melbourne,” he added.
“So we have to focus on every detail if we want to build any advantage this year and that is what we have done.”
The season starts in Australia on March 15. Mercedes, dominant last year, are again expected to be the pace
Editing by Tony Jimenez