Mercedes and McLaren have become the latest teams to confirm the launch date of their 2018 Formula 1 cars.
Defending champions Mercedes will follow a similar schedule to last season and unveil the W09 at Silverstone on February 22, with the new car completing 100km (62 miles) as part of a shakedown test on the same day. The date is the same as Ferrari’s launch in Maranello, with the two teams working to avoid a clash in terms of timing.
McLaren’s new car – which will be called the MCL33 – will be revealed a day later; three days before the start of pre-season testing, which gets underway on February 26 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The four-day test runs until March 1, with the second test then taking place from March 6-9 at the same venue.
McLaren physically unveiled its 2017 car at its factory last year, but so far the team has not confirmed any other details regarding the launch other than the date. Executive director Zak Brown recently said the car will have “a new look and feel” about it this season, with a number of new sponsorship deals set to be announced this month.
After five seasons without a victory, McLaren is hopeful of challenging at the front again this coming year, having switched power unit supplier from Honda to Renault.
While Ferrari is currently scheduled to be the first team to launch its 2018 car – which will feature the Halo cockpit protection device – last year Williams released images ten days before the start of pre-season testing.
Toro Rosso is also planning on following its usual schedule of unveiling its new car in the pit lane in Barcelona on the evening before the start of pre-season testing, but has yet to finalize its program.