Ferrari, Mercedes, STR confirm launch dates
17 January 2013
Ferrari, Mercedes and Toro Rosso have become the latest teams to confirm times and dates for the unveiling of their respective 2013 F1 challengers, leaving just a handful unknown with a couple of weeks to the opening pre-season test.
Although an early February date was rumoured for the Ferrari launch – no surprise given that the Jerez test kicks off on Tuesday 5 February – it wasn't until team principal Stefano Domenicali met with the press on the opening day of the Wroom media event that anyone could officially pencil the first day of the month into their diaries.
The unveiling will take place, as is traditional, at the Scuderia headquarters in Maranello, with a shakedown expected at the facility before the car is shipped to southern Spain to begin its preparation in earnest.
Mercedes and Toro Rosso, meanwhile, join the raft of teams not bothering with a lavish ceremony, having both opted for low-key launches at Jerez itself.
Both teams will also take the wraps of their new machines – the W04 and STR8 respectively – on Monday 4 February.
Mercedes has slotted an early afternoon unveiling, which will take place on the start-finish straight at 1330hrs local time. The main focus of attention, however, is likely to be Lewis Hamilton, who transfers to the team after six years with McLaren. The Briton, who reunites with former karting team-mate Nico Rosberg, replaces seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher as the Ross Brawn-led team attempts to mount a concerted championship challenge for the first time under the Mercedes umbrella.
Toro Rosso, meanwhile, will wait until early evening to show off its latest contender, with the STR8 not scheduled to be revealed until 1730hrs. The launch will take place in the Jerez pit-lane, with second year drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne joining team principal Franz Tost and new technical director James Key to pull back the covers.
The teams are the fifth, sixth and seventh to set launch dates for their new cars, following on from McLaren, Force India, Sauber and Red Bull. Ferrari will uncover its latest design on the same day as Force India, while Mercedes and STR slot in at the end of a growing list. With only eleven teams expected on the grid this season, Lotus, Williams, Caterham and Marussia remain to confirm their launch schedules.
F1 2013 Launch Dates:
McLaren 31 January TBC
Ferrari 1 February Maranello
Force India 1 February Silverstone, UK
Sauber 2 February Hinwil, Switzerland
Red Bull Racing 3 February Milton Keynes, UK
Mercedes 4 February Jerez
Toro Rosso 4 February Jerez
F1 2013 Winter tests:
Jerez test 5-8 February
Barcelona test 1 19-22 February
Barcelona test 2 28 February-3 March