Scuderia Ferrari have become the first team to give a launch date for its 2019 Formula 1 car, with the Italian constructor set to unveil its new challenger on 15 February.
Team principal Maurzio Arrivabene confirmed the news at Thursday’s Autosprint awards ceremony held at Garage Italia, Milan. The car is known internally at Maranello as Project 670.
The launch comes just three days before the start of winter testing in Barcelona, with Ferrari looking to end their wait for a sixteenth Constructors’ Championship and a fifteenth Drivers’ title, putting a stop to Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s hold on Formula 1.
Arrivabene was joined by Ferrari protégé and new signing Charles Leclerc and said that there are some parts of the car “already in production”.
“The group led by [Ferrari technical director] Mattia Binotto has been working on next year’s single-seater for months now,” Arrivabene said.
“The engines are already running on the test benches and there are parts of the car that are already in production. The parts more related to the performance will arrive at the last moment, even if the tension increases because the time is less and less.
“On 15 February we will present the car and everything must be ready for that day.”
Arrivabene gave no indication to the car’s performance on the simulator, believing that the real test comes on-track in testing and March’s season-opener in Australia.
“Of course it is early to give an overall picture of the car,” he continued. “Simulations are being done and we are working on the simulator, but the real test bench is only the track.
“That’s where you confront yourself, comparing the data you’ve collected during the winter period, and especially where you confront yourself with others.
“The technicians are working hard to complete the car by February 15.
“We have some information from the guys who work on the simulator, but it’s still too early to talk about performance.”
The news comes just days after Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted to Mercedes suffering a “setback” with its 2019 engine, unable to meet ambitious early targets.
Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel posed the greatest challenge to Mercedes throughout the first half of 2018 but faded after the summer break, with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton taking six victories in the last nine races to secure a fifth successive clean sweep of titles.