The 2010 season countdown is back. It is 50 days to the start of 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix. We are now only days from the first 2010 F1 car launches with Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber and Renault all set to unveil their cars before the end January. McLaren team has announced their launch will be streamed live on the team’s official website on 29th January at 11:00 local time. Ferrari’s new car will only be unveiled on January 28 but some pictures of what the 2010 Ferrari livery may look like have been leaked out already – see here.
We are also only a week or so away from the first official pre-season test (February 1-3, Valencia). Among the established teams Red Bull Racing and Force India have already announced they will skip the Valencia test. We will not see also any of the new teams. Virgin Racing is set to join the second test in Jerez (Feb 10-13), Lotus the third one (Feb 17-20). USF1 and Campos are yet to confirm their launch and testing plans although we already know that USF1 will run their car for the first time sometime in February at the Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
There has been some unofficial testing going on however. Michael Schumacher spent some time in the GP2 car, Valentino Rossi had another opportunity to circle around the track in F1 car (showing some impressive pace) before passing the 2008 Ferrari to Felipe Massa.
Two more drivers have been confirmed since the last countdown post and one more announcement is set for Monday. Earlier this week BMW Sauber announced Pedro de la Rosa as their second driver. Yesterday Toro Rosso finally confirmed that Jaime Alguersuari will stay on. It looks like USF1 is also ready to name their first driver – according to Reuters the teams has concluded the Argentine driver Jose Maria Lopez will be officially confirmed by USF1 on Monday.
This leaves only 3 vacancies to be filled – one each at Renault, USF1 and Campos Meta. Renault has four drivers on their short list but may not be ready to pick one of them before the testing kicks off. The biggest name yet to land a seat for 2010 F1 season is Nick Heidfeld.
Michael Schumacher took the number 3 from his team mate Nico Rosberg due to his preference for odd numbers.
Williams revealed their 2010 car will be “a clean-sheet design from front to back.”
Martin Whitmarsh has been confirmed as new FOTA chairman, Stefano Domenicali a vice chairman.
There has also been some 2011 season development – The Technical Working Group has officially agreed to ban double diffusers from the start of 2011 season.
The season countdown will return in 10 days.