New car schedules

BENETTON may have been the first team to have had a 1998 car running, but Ferrari was not far behind. The new Ferrari F310C appeared on the Ferrari test track at Fiorano on December 23, running in carbonfiber black, without the normal Ferrari red paint. The test lasted just two laps before the rear wheels seized up and Michael Schumacher was forced to stop the work. The team was, however, delighted to have produced the car before Christmas which Jean Todt reckoned was a welcome psychological boost for the Italian operation.

The team was the only one to test between Christmas and the New Year with Nicola Larini having his last runs as Ferrari test driver, doing engine-testing with a modified 1997 car. The F310C will be officially launched this week at Maranello, with the team expected to unveil its new half-scale windtunnel as well.

Although the new Benetton is already finished and will begin testing soon, the official launch of the car is not scheduled to take place until January 15, two days after Stewart Grand Prix is due to unveil the SF2 chassis.

Jordan is planning to launch the Mugen Honda-engined 198 on Monday, January 19 with Prost Grand Prix expected to unveil the AP1 in Barcelona the following day. The new Tyrrell is scheduled to be unveiled on January 21 in London while Sauber is hosting a grand event at the Schonbrun Palace in Vienna on Sunday, January 25. As yet the other teams have not given details of launch dates but all the cars are expected to be running by the first or second week of February.

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