Behold Mercedes-AMG F1's Most Inefficient Part

This metal three-pointed star was used on the 2012 Mercedes F1 W03, the last Formula One car driven by Michael Schumacher.

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Máté Petrány

You know how the most hardcore road-going Porsches have a sticker on their noses instead of ? That's for the same reason why the McLaren MP4-12C's metal dashboard support beam came with a recessed McLaren logo instead of an embossed one. Both measures were taken to save a few grams while granting owners some bar-talk material as well. Then, there's the F1 approach.

Formula One is the automotive industry's most expensive hobby, with its cars representing the pinnacle of lightweight engineering and aerodynamic efficiency. Yet seven years ago, the most successful team of this era left the most visible metal part surprisingly standard: the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz.

When you have all of Mercedes-AMG F1's race cars side by side, there are a lot of details to process. Yet the most visible difference between the 2010 car and all that followed is the flat grey paint of the Mercedes MGP W01 compared to its shiny silver successors. Apparently, Niki Lauda was so outraged by the grey cars being referred to as "Silver Arrows" that the team had no choice but to find a way of creating a metallic silver finish without the weight penalty of a normal spray-on. Today, that base color is known as "Sterling Silver".

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Michael Schumacher driving a grey car instead of a silver one in 2010.
nhayashidaFlickr

It takes 150 hours to paint a Mercedes-AMG F1 car, and with for an aerodynamic part being 0.3mm, eighty percent of the sponsor logos are airbrushed onto the paint. Since 2013, the same has been true about the Mercedes logo on the nose, yet in 2012, the team still used a normal, three-dimensional metal piece. Mercedes-AMG F1 finished fifth in the championship that year, after which point, the metal three-pointed star turned into paint on the Mercedes F1 W04 for "weight and drag reasons." That car ended the 2013 season in second place.

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In 2012 in Barcelona...
Mark ThompsonGetty Images
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...and Mercedes F1 W03 today.
Máté Petrány

Following Ferrari and Red Bull Racing in the line of consecutive champions, Mercedes-AMG's F1 cars are the only ones that kept winning after a major rule change. Five Constructors' Championship, with two scored on the wider tires that came into play in 2017.

That three-pointed star will stay flat.

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Máté Petrány
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