F1 News of the Day: Launch Dates, Rules Changes, Schumacher Tests for GP2


What Happens When It Looks Like Launch Announcement Day

12:02am EST —

McLaren, Ferrari, Renault, and LotusF1 Announce Launch Dates:
In a move that was either highly coordinated or a piece of public relations misfortune, four teams announced their launch dates within 24 hours.  The launches themselves (except for LotusF1, who will miss the first test) will occur within four days.  Ferrari’s launch will occur first at Maranello on January 28, McLaren will launch at a currently undisclosed location in the UK the next day, January 29, while Renault will launch January 31 in the garage at the first test session in Valencia, as will Sauber.  LotusF1 sent out a press release detailing their February 12 launch after team boss Tony Fernandes announced it on his Twitter page.  According to F1Fanatic, Williams will not have a launch at all, but will simply begin testing.  Previously leaked through Bild, MercedesGP will launch in Stuttgart on January 25.

Expect Possible Rule Changes Before the Season Begins in Bahrain:
Bernie Ecclestone and FOTA will meet at the first winter test session in Valencia to discuss changes to the points system, tire usage, and pitstops, according to Stefano Dominecali, Ferrari team principal.  For the future, “as far as the KERS is concerned all the teams decided that it won’t be used in 2010, but we’re working on an energy recovery system with decisively lower costs than those we had last year for the year 2011.”  With Mr Ecclestone’s suggestion yesterday that drivers be given five shortcuts to use per race, the various changes could be both entertaining and fruitless.

Michael Schumacher Completes GP2 Testing:
After three days of variable weather at Jerez, Schumacher finished his commitment to test for the GP2 series.  At once a publicity opportunity, medical check, and testing exercise, Schumacher completed 260 laps of the circuit, though dry and windy conditions cut short testing Tuesday and Wednesday.  The official series press releases can be found on the official site, with information available for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  His fastest lap was a 1:24.621, .359 second slower than the fastest lap posted by Kamui Kobayashi in a GP2 car in 2008 (1:24.262).

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