The major regulation changes being introduced for the forthcoming campaign have made year’s pre-season schedule the most anticipated for years, with uncertainty over how both the various cars will look and ultimately perform.
Mercedes’ W05 challenger and all-new V6 turbocharged engine are poised to come under particularly close scrutiny owing to the Brackley team’s long-time status as many pundits’ tips to steal a march on the field.
A spokesman for the team has duly confirmed that the plan is for them to roll out the car on the first day of Jerez testing on January 28. The Brackley-based team have in recent years eschewed a bespoke ‘launch’ event away from the circuit in favour of revealing their new car on the first morning of pre-season, although last year’s W04 and new signing Lewis Hamilton were unveiled at Jerez the day before testing began.
Although Mercedes have always been expected to be ready for Jerez, other teams’ participation has been less certain and rivals Lotus have confirmed their new challenger won’t run until the start of the back-to-back tests in Bahrain in mid-February.
The Enstone team’s Technical Director Nick Chester said that attending the first four-day test “isn’t ideal for our build and development programme”, but the decision means Lotus will have just eight days of track time with their E22 before flying out for the first race in Melbourne.
The launch and test plans for the grid’s remaining nine teams remain unconfirmed with less than three weeks to go before the cars are due to be on track in southern Spain.
2014 pre-season test schedule
28-31 January – Jerez, Spain
19-22 February – Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain
February-2 March – Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, starting in Jerez on Tuesday January 28, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News