Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will unveil the car it hopes will challenge for this year's Formula One world championship at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart later today [Monday], just 24 hours after bitter rival Ferrari revealed its F2008.

With the need to satisfy FIA inspectors that there is no element of the 2007 Ferrari incorporated in its new design now gone, the Woking-based team will takes the covers off its MP4-23 in a much lower key launch than last year's Valencia spectacular, which saw Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton parade through the streets of the Spanish city.

Hamilton and new team-mate Heikki Kovalainen will both be present in Germany to unveil the machine with which they will aim to take the fight to Ferrari - and other expected rivals such as BMW Sauber - over the coming months, before testing begins in earnest, back in Spain, later this week.

Hamilton won four races in his debut F1 season, coming close to taking the world title before being pipped by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen at the final round in Brazil. With Alonso now departed to Renault after a tempestuous season, the Briton will assume the mantle of team leader alongside Kovalainen, who arrives from Renault looking to open his F1 victory tally.

Stay tuned for news as it happens from Stuttgart.....



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