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Mercedes' new car ready - but who's the driver?

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London - Mercedes, Formula One's dominant team which has yet to announce a replacement for retired world champion Nico Rosberg, will present its 2017 car at Silverstone on 23 February.

The Mercedes website www.mercedesamgf1.com said on Wednesday the reigning champion would "unveil the beast to the world" at the British Grand Prix circuit down the road from its Brackley factory.

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This is not a sneak preview of the 2017 Mercedes W08 - it's a 2015 W06 during Pirelli tyre testing at Le Castellet, showing just how much wider the 2017 rubber will be. Picture: Mercedes-AMG F1

Fans who register for a prize draw on Facebook will have the chance to win VIP access to witness the first laps of the W08 challenger.

Mercedes won 19 of 21 races in 2016 and started all but one from pole position. It will start the season in Australia in March as favourite for a fourth consecutive title, with Britain's triple world champion Lewis Hamilton leading the campaign in the absence of former rival Rosberg.

The German driver stunned Formula One by announcing his retirement five days after winning a first title in Abu Dhabi in late November, saying he had reached the peak and achieved his ambition.

Tough team-mate

His decision left Mercedes in a difficult position, with other leading drivers all under contract with rivals at such a late point in the year.

It was also an admission of just how tough a team-mate Hamilton, who won 10 Grands Prix to Rosberg's nine, had been to beat over the course of a season.

Rosberg's replacement is expected to be announced imminently, with testing due to start at the end of February in Spain.

Finland's Valtteri Bottas is seen as a safe bet, as well as a safe pair of hands, to land the seat. The motorsport.com website has reported that the Williams driver visited the Mercedes factory over the Christmas break.

The 2017 season will see wider tyres, faster cars and revised aerodynamics with Mercedes likely to face a tougher test from rival Red Bull - which has Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Dutch teenager Max Verstappen - and Ferrari.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said in a New Year's message: "I hope we can be as successful as we've been in 2016. It was not always an easy ride and I don't expect it to be any easier in 2017 but certainly one thing, it's going to be good fun again."

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