We know, we know, the words Formula 1 are never normally followed by the phrase ‘everyday driving’. Lewis Hamiliton is not going to pop out for some sourdough and a pint of almond milk in his F1 car, is he? Well, thanks to those super clever guys at Mercedes, this is exactly what Lew could be doing in the very near future.
Because right now, in an underground (possibly) bunker befitting every James Bond movie ever made, Mercedes are putting the very finishing touches to ‘The One’, their £2.4million limited-edition hypercar, that’s a totally legal F1 car for the road. Yes, that’s right, an F1 car for the road. Mind blown.
Let’s start with the engine. It’s stolen. Direct from six-time world champion Hamilton’s very own F1 car. In total 275 models are set to be produced, and each of them will be equipped with the 1.6-litre turbocharged hybrid powertrains that have helped Mercedes win the constructor’s championship for the last six years in a row.
Four electric motors will combine with the six-cylinder petrol engine to produce around 1,000hp. And check this stat out - ‘The One’ does 0-124mph in less than six seconds. One, two, three, four, five, six. Boom. Most sports cars will only reach half that speed, in that time. To steal from the legendary Stone Roses, if we may be so bold - This Is The One..
And it’s not just the engine that’s lifted from their F1 car, the lithium-ion batteries and the system used to cool them are used too. The only difference being that ‘The One’ has more of them, in order to boost the zero-emissions driving range. Plus there’s a plug-in socket so you can replenish electricity from the mains. These guys have it all covered.
Mercedes say drivers (aka lucky sods) will be able to switch between a range of driving modes, including ‘highly dynamic’, that's similar to the setting used by Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas. Living the dream. It can also be driven in an all-electric mode, to potter through town and city centres in silence - similar to conventional hybrid cars. We’re going to go out on a limb here, but we can’t see too much pottering being done in this car.
Inside it’s a case of ‘Formula 1 for two’, Mercedes words, not ours. Lucky passengers will sit in carbon-fibre bucket seats, with the driver facing a rectangular steering wheel, surrounded by switches and dials similar to the complex, high-tech ones, used in F1. Two 10-inch display screens ride the dashboard, feeding information to the person controlling almost 1,000hp with their right foot. Just imagine that. A third screen is linked to a camera at the back of the car and acts as a rear-view mirror, you know, so you can get a firm view of those you’ve left in your wake.
The final production version is set to be released later this year but all 275 models have already been sold, that’s £660 million worth of car right there! This incredible venture marks Mercedes out as the first car-making F1 competitor to use a complete Formula 1 drive unit for a hypercar, with road approval. Pushing the boundaries, yet again.
It’s everyday driving, but not as we know it.