McLaren has formally announced that it will unveil this year's F1 challenger with an an exclusive online launch on Friday, January 24 just days before the first pre-season testing session.

The MP4-29 will make its digital d?but at midday (UK time) with the Woking squad promising videos and editorial material available to view on their website and through all their usual social media channels.

McLaren made the announcement with on Twitter, also adding the hashtag #McLaren2014.

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The timing means that the team will be unveiling their new car just days before the start of the first pre-season test session, scheduled to start on Tuesday January 28 at the Jerez circuit in Spain and to last for four days in total.

McLaren are under pressure to get this year's car right, after last year's model flopped badly in the championship after the team opted for a more adventurous chassis design than its rivals, all of whom proved to have gone for a safer and more 'evolutionary' approach to their entries.

Also under the spotlight this season is Mercedes, which finished 2013 in runners-up position in the constructors championship and is expected to maintain that momentum in 2014 and make it an even closer flight with Red Bull for the title.

Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesman for Mercedes told the German Press Agency DPA that the Brackley-based team was planning on a low-key launch for its own 2014 challenger, names the W05.

In line with recent years, the team is once again going without a dedicated press launch. The spokesman for the team said that instead, the launch would take place in Jerez on the morning of the 28th just before the pre-season testing gets underway.

That also confirms Mercedes intends to participate in the first pre-season test, in contrast to Lotus F1 which announced on Monday that it did not intend to be present in Jerez, saying that the timing ""isn't ideal for our build and development programme." (See separate story.)