McLaren confirm January launch date

McLaren-Mercedes will unveil their 2009 challenger, the MP4-24, on 16 January at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, the team confirmed today.

McLaren engineers are busy developing the new car at the team’s factories in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart, while the test team has prepared two cars for December outings to Jerez, Spain, and the new Autodromo Internacional do Algarve circuit in Portugal.

Newly crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton, who begins his preparations for the new season with a five-day training camp in Finland this month, is looking forward to getting his hands on the new car.

“Brazil already seems a long time ago and I m now focusing 100 per cent on 2009,” he said. “I had my seat-fitting at MTC earlier this month and while the plan at the moment is to start testing in January, I m really keen to get going.

“Before Christmas, I plan to take a holiday and return fresh and positive to kickstart our winter test programme with the MP4-24.”

“I ve already had a close look at the new car and the engineers have explained the philosophy behind it and just how different things will be next year.”

Formula One welcomes in something of a new era next year as sweeping new regulations including mould-breaking aerodynamic changes and the use of energy recovery systems and slick tyres are introduced as a package for the first time.

“I ve been watching testing with a lot of interest, I think the new cars will make next year s championship wide open and I m really looking forward to tackling the new regulations,” confirmed Hamilton.