Countdown to launches gets underway 03 Jan 2008
Although 2008 may be less than a week old, the Formula One teams are already looking forward to the coming season and many have plans in place to launch their new challengers this month.
Ferrari are expected to kick off proceedings at their Fiorano test track this weekend with their F1 2008. The Italian squads latest design, the successor to the championship-winning F2007, is due to be unveiled in Italy on Sunday, ahead of a shakedown run the following day.
McLaren will follow Ferraris lead a day later in Germany. Despite previously announcing they had no plans for an official launch, the British team have now revealed that the MP4-23 will make its debut at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart on Monday.
Elsewhere in Germany, Toyota plan to reveal their 2008 car, the TF108, at the Japanese teams technical centre in Cologne on January 10. The squads drivers, including new-signing Timo Glock, will be in attendance, alongside members of the teams management.
The BMW Sauber F1.08 will also be unveiled in Germany. The German-Swiss squad will take the wraps of their new car at BMW Welt, a new BMW vehicle delivery centre in Munich on January 14. The 2008 challenger will then make its test debut in Valencia, Spain, a day later.
Red Bull are next in line, with the Austrian squad launching their new car, the RB4, during testing at Jerez in Spain on January 16. Meanwhile, Honda will reveal the RA108 at their UK headquarters in Brackley on January 29, with CEO Nick Fry, new team principal Ross Brawn and race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello all present.
As they did in 2007, Renault have again planned a two-pronged launch for their new challenger. The R28 will be officially unveiled at the French teams corporate communications headquarters in Paris, France, on January 31. However, the media will get its first sighting of the new machine a week earlier, as the car is expected to be in action during testing in Valencia.
Williams are yet to announce their plans, although it is understood that the British team may choose to eschew an official launch in favour of a low-key test debut for their new Toyota-powered challenger. There has also been no official word yet from Super Aguri or Force India. Rival team Toro Rosso are expected to start the new season with an updated version of 2007's STR02, before debuting their new car later in the year.
The launch line-up:
January 6 - Ferrari F1 2008, Fiorano, Italy
January 7 - McLaren MP4-23, Stuttgart, Germany
January 10 - Toyota TF108, Cologne, Germany
January 14 - BMW Sauber F1.08, Munich, Germany
January 16 - Red Bull RB4, Jerez, Spain
January 29 - Honda RA108, Brackley, UK
January 31 - Renault R28, Paris, France
Make sure to stay in touch with Formula1.com over the coming weeks for the latest news and pictures of all the 2008 cars.