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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report

Ferrari first to show off new F1 car

January 05, 2008 06:15 IST

Formula One champions Ferrari [Images] are out in front already in the race to take the wraps off their 2008 cars.

Ferrari, winners of both titles last year after McLaren were fined $100 million and stripped of all their constructors' points for a spying controversy, reveal their new model in a low-key presentation at a wintery Maranello on Sunday.

Finland's Kimi Raikkonen [Images], who has the number one on his car for the first time after beating McLaren's Lewis Hamilton [Images] to the title by a single point last season, will be on hand to give the car its first outing at the nearby Fiorano test track on Monday.

The no-frills launch will also mark the passing of an era, with Jean Todt replaced as team boss by former sporting director Stefano Domenicali.

Bitter rivals McLaren, who staged a major extravaganza in Valencia last year when Spaniard Fernando Alonso [Images] was still their knight in shining armour, are next in the spotlight with what promises to be a more straight-laced event at the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart on Monday.

Alonso is now history, the double world champion returning to first love Renault after a season from hell alongside 22-year-old Hamilton with Finland's Heikki Kovalainen moving in the opposite direction.

Hamilton will be recast in the role of McLaren team leader after the most successful rookie season in the 58 year history of the sport.

TOYOTA APOLOGY

While McLaren can look forward to getting back to the business of winning races now that a line has been drawn under the spying saga, the same cannot be said of Toyota who present their new challenger in Cologne on Thursday.

The Japanese team felt the need to apologise to their worldwide fans last January after failing to secure their first win and little has changed for the sport's big under-achievers one year on.

Toyota scored just 13 points from 17 races in 2007 and did not get close to spraying any champagne on the victory podium.

Tsutomu Tomita has been replaced as team boss by Tadashi Yamashina while Germany's [Images] Ralf Schumacher -- facing a future outside Formula One -- has been discarded in favour of compatriot Timo Glock in the driver line-up.

Yamashina will do his best to sound positive but the clock is ticking against him.

"I have been given two more years," he said in Toyota's annual motorsport report. "So, we will work and fight to make sure we prove ourselves in the 2008 season."

The third in a trio of German launches follows on January 14 when BMW-Sauber show off the car that they hope will bring a first win this year for a team that finished last year as overall runners-up thanks to McLaren's elimination.

BMW [Images] are sticking with their line-up of Poland's Robert Kubica and Germany's Nick Heidfeld, and there are no changes at Red Bull either with that team launching their car at Jerez in southern Spain on January 16.

Honda follow at their Brackley factory on January 29 before Renault present their car in Paris on the 31st with Alonso and Brazilian rookie Nelson Piquet junior.

The season starts in Australia on March 16.

© Copyright 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
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