Seeing the Mercedes-AMG Project One in person evokes a mix of emotions that sway between the excitement of seeing a supercar and the thrill of stumbling across some crazy experiment — like someone took an F1 car and threw a body on it. Never has a manufacturer so directly taken Formula 1 tech and managed to make it road legal. Since it’s a Mercedes, why not have its top driver, three-time drivers’ world champion Lewis Hamilton, help with the introduction in Frankfurt?
Hamilton himself drove the car onto the stage and then spent a few minutes with Mercedes CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche to talk about it. As you can imagine, he’s impressed. “What Mercedes has created here — this is history. No one has really done this the right way before. To be a part of this, I helped develop this car, this engine. So to finally see it come to life, it’s magical,” Hamilton said.
During the interview, Zetsche asked Hamilton the most thrilling moment of his job as a Grand Prix driver: “Obviously driving the car,” Hamilton said, “starting the car, when I get to the track, in the garage, put on my suit on, my helmet, ear plugs in, I sit in the car and the guy ahead of me gives the go-ahead to the guy behind me to start the engine. The engine starts, the vibrations. You know you’re about to drive at the craziest speeds. And I can’t help but have a grin on my face.”
Hamilton added, “And as I said just back there, that’s the first time I’ve sat in the car (Project One), and with the engine start and I had the same grin as I have in the garage.”
The Project One from the front and overhead. It’s low enough to the ground that it’s hard not to be overhead with this thing.
Of course Hamilton likes the car, but it was interesting to hear he helped develop it. Aryton Senna played a role in the original Acura NSX, and Senna is Hamilton’s idol — maybe this is a milestone that means more to him than we might have thought.
Truth is, none of it matters until we get a chance to drive it.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche and Lewis Hamilton pose in front of the Project One.