JANUARY 3, 2004
Teams ready to launch 2004 cars
As the holiday season has come and gone teams will now put their attention on their objectives for the 2004 season. Monday will mark the first team launch as Williams will unveil the new BMW powered FW26 at the Valencia circuit in Spain.
McLaren has already announced they will not be having a launch for the second year in a row. Although it seems they have learned from their mistakes as they have already gotten the new MP4-19 on the track. Heavy testing will be done on the car starting January 11 in Jerez with David Coulthard and championship contender Kimi Raikkonen at the wheel. Coulthard has reached a critical point in his career to prove himself, the British press is holding back no punches as an article ran on Wednesday's Sun Newpaper read, 'You'll be staring at the chop if you flop' over a picture of a cross eyed Coulthard.
"David will have to drive well all season to give us a chance of a top drive for 2005. He has no plans to retire because he wants to continue racing and winning," said his manager and television commentator Martin Brundle.
Next to follow will be Sauber which will launch the C26 on January 12 in Salzburg, Austria.
The next launches will be back to back on the January 17/18 weekend. Toyota will be revealing their TF104 on Saturday in Cologne as well as introducing their new team principal Tsutomo Tomita and their new technical director Mike Gascoyne. Jaguar will uncover their new car on Sunday in Barcelona alongside Red-Bull backed Austrian rookie Christian Klien.
The last scheduled launch is for Renault on January 29, when they will launch the new R24 in Palermo Sicily.
Ferrari have not named a date for their launch but Jean Todt has said they are aiming to make it happen in January as well - while BAR is hoping to launch at the beginning of February in Barcelona.
This leaves Minardi who usually launch closer to the start of the season and Jordan who have yet to sign any drivers and are not expected to do so until their sponsorship is sorted.
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