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Ready to launch? New cars wait in the wings for 2010 25 Jan 2010

The new Ferrari F2008. January 6, 2008. © Ferrari S.p.A. Jenson Button at the McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, UK, 8 January 2010 © McLaren Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes GP Petronas Team Principal and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes Announce Michael Scumacher (GER) for the 2010 F1 Season, Brackley, England, 23 December 2009. © Mercedes The new Force India F1 VJM02. Force India F1 VJM02 Launch Studio Shoot, Silverstone, England, 24 February 2009.

With March’s season-opener drawing ever closer and the first official test of the year set to kick off in just a week's time, the teams are currently closeted in their factories, busily preparing for their 2010 campaigns. From this week, however, they will start to break cover and unveil their new cars to an expectant public.

After months of waiting, it’s always an exciting time, and with four brand new squads also joining the fray, you can guarantee there’ll be some surprises in store…

First up are Ferrari, who will take the wraps off their as-yet unnamed 2010 challenger at their Maranello factory this Thursday. Although they’ve already provided a sneak peak of an updated livery, complete with new sponsors Santander, their new car will be unveiled on January 28, with drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa both in attendance.

McLaren’s Mercedes-engined MP4-25, which will be driven by reigning world champion Jenson Button and 2008 titleholder Lewis Hamilton, will be revealed on Friday (January 29) at the UK headquarters of team sponsor Vodafone in Newbury.

Next up are BMW Sauber and Renault, who will unveil their 2010 cars at Spain’s Valencia track on January 31, the day before the first official test of the year kicks off. Although both have chosen to forgo the traditional glitz and glamour of a factory launch, team management and drivers will all be present.

Next in line are Mercedes. The former Brawn squad plan to showcase their rebranded ‘team’, livery and all-new driver pairing of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, on Monday January 25 at Mercedes’ Stuttgart museum, before unveiling their new car at Valencia when testing gets underway on February 1. Williams and Toro Rosso are also planning to debut their new cars at the same test.

Red Bull will reveal their new challenger at the start of the second official test of the year, at the Spanish circuit of Jerez on February 10. Force India will launch the VJM03 online on February 9 before joining the Jerez test the next day.

As one of four new teams joining the 2010 grid, it’s understandable that Lotus are to wait until the second week of February to unveil their car. Technical officer Mike Gascoyne has revealed they plan to fire up their car’s engine for the first time on February 5, before launching it on February 12 at London's Royal Horticultural Hall. It will then make its track debut at Jerez a few days later.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the new US team, have decided to break with convention and are planning to give their car it’s first run on home soil in the United States. The machine will make a low-key test debut at the Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama at some point in early February.

Fellow newcomers Virgin will launch their car online on February 3, while Campos have yet to announce any plans.

Current launch line-up at a glance:
January 28 - Ferrari, Maranello, Italy
January 29 - McLaren, Newbury, UK
January 31 - BMW Sauber/Renault, Valencia, Spain
February 1 - Mercedes GP/Williams/Toro Rosso, Valencia, Spain
February 3 - Virgin, online
February 9 - Force India, online
February 10 - Red Bull, Jerez, Spain
Early February - US, Barber Motorsport Park, Alabama, USA
February 12 - Lotus, London, UK

Make sure to stay in touch with Formula1.com over the coming weeks for the latest news and pictures of all the 2010 cars.