Mercedes-Benz has announced the F1 W03 ahead of a test session in Barcelona, where the team hopes to show it has the pace to rival Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.

The new car was spotted during a shakedown session at Silverstone circuit last week, but today the car was officially unveiled alongside the team's 2012 driver line-up of Nico Rosberg and the seven-times World Champion Michael Schumacher.

Mercedes W03
Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg stand with the W03 at the Catalunya circuit with Ross Brawn (Mercedes)

Team principal Ross Brawn said: "The F1 W03 is a car that I believe, and hope, our team can be proud of, and which will deliver the on-track results that everybody has worked so hard to achieve."

Speaking of the stepped nose design which every team apart from McLaren has opted for this year, Brawn said: "Notwithstanding the distinctive nose design, which is certainly an acquired taste, the F1 W03 is an elegant interpretation of the current regulations, and a clear step forward over its predecessor in terms of detail design and sophistication."

The Mercedes-Benz F1 team will hope for continued improvement through the 2012 season, after its German drivers Rosberg and Schumacher finished seventh and eighth respectively last year, in what was the team's second season.

The team was formally Brawn GP which, with Jenson Button, won the Drivers' and Constructors' World Championships in 2009, its one and only season in Formula One after taking over the defunct Honda team.

Seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher poses for photos with the new Mercedes. Credit: Reuters

Rosberg - who drove the new car in the Silverstone shakedown last week - said: "We have had a good start to our 2012 testing programme, and it was a great feeling to drive the first laps in the new F1 W03.

"The car looks good, and is very nicely packaged under the bodywork - all the parts are in harmony, which reflects how well the different departments of our team are working together."

Schumacher, who is beginning his third season since coming out of retirement in 2010, said in Barcelona on Tuesday: "I have done quite a few roll-outs and launches of new cars, but even after all these years, I must say it still feels special."

The former Ferrari driver added: "Days like this are precious moments, as they are always filled with hope and anticipation...For my part, I am eager to fight again, looking forward to the new season, and I can't wait for it to begin."

Credit: Reuters

Testing at Catalunya will run until 24 February and again from 1 March until 4 March.