UP FOR TESTING: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg will have the first taste of the new Mercedes F1 car during northern winter testing in Spain during February. Image: AFP / Tom Gandolfini
LONDON, England - Nico Rosberg will be first and 2014 Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton second when it comes to testing the new Mercedes F1 car in southern Spain in February 2015.
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.
Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said: "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.
"We know that we went into the northern-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 in 2014, are again expected to be the pace to beat.
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