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News Round-up: Launch Dates Set For Ferrari, Honda & Red Bull

News Round-up: Launch Dates Set For Ferrari, Honda & Red Bull

James Rossiter - Testing in 2007The final news round-up post of 2007 and a further three teams have announced when their 2008 challengers will be given the green light. Red Bull Racing, Honda and Ferrari have all confirmed dates and booked venues. Also in the news this week, Ferrari offer an unusual invitation to a photocopy shop employee and two pilots of the past are trying to remain with the sport they love.

Ferrari Launch

In 2007, Ferrari chose a very low-key launch for their F2007. With a new driver line-up and quite a substantial change in team personnel, the squad simply invited a few journalists to their factory in Maranello and passed around a few photos of the car which they had previously taken. And it now looks as though the F2008 will receive a similar ceremony, being launched at a private test at Fiorano on January 6th. The Italian marque’s CEO, Jean Todt, will be in Malaysia at the time holidaying with his wife Michelle Yeoh. Therefore Todt will not be present in Italy, and the Frenchman also stated that he will not be attending every race during the season.

I won’t attend the launch on January 6th, as I’m coming back from a vacation in Malaysia on the following day. As for the races, I will go once in a while. Jean Todt.

Honda Launch

After a dismal 2007 campaign which saw very few points for the Japanese team, you would also expect Honda to partake in a low-key launch for their RA108 car. In previous years the team have been known to overly hype up their chances of success, but last year they learned their lesson and chose not to seal their fate so early in the year. They would do well to continue this tactic.

Honda intend to launch at their Brackley Headquarters in Northamptonshire on January 29th, where CEO Nick Fry will be joined by both Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. New team boss Ross Brawn will also be present.

Red Bull Launch

The RBR4, Red Bull’s 2008 challenger, will debut at the first official test in Jerez on January 14th. The team have stated that following a woefully unreliable RBR3 which suffered serious gearbox issues, the new car will be a significant improvement. Designed by Adrian Newey, the RBR3 did have a good race pace, but the drivers were constantly let down when they couldn’t change gear, or lost one or all of them. With Geoff Willis employed to bolster Newey’s design department, it is hoped the problems have now been solved.

In 2007 we gave away approximately 24 points as a result of poor reliability, without which we would have been much closer to Renault and ahead of Williams.

This is therefore one of our key focuses for 2008. With the same engine as the factory Renault team they, more than any other team, are our barometer. 2008 is certainly set to be another very close season. Christian Horner.

Snitch Gets Invite To Maranello

One of the slightly humorous aspects of the whole Stepneygate saga was how Ferrari came to know that McLaren had their data. It was rumoured back in the summer that Mike Coughlan’s wife had taken the 780 page document to a local copying shop in Woking to make a duplicate. Apparently, an employee of the shop realised what he was handling and informed the Scuderia.

To me, this sounds a little too implausible, but I cannot completely rule it out as a ridiculous rumour. After all, it could have really happened.

Anyway, according to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, they have invited the employee to Italy to see their test track and factory.

If it had not been for that photocopy man we would not have known anything about this story. That’s why we have invited him to the Mugello race track and will invite him to our factory. Luca di Montezemolo.

Wurz & Karthikeyan Still Want In On Formula One

Alex Wurz chose to retire last season, hanging his oddly coloured boots up at the Chinese Grand Prix and letting new-boy Kazuki Nakajima take over in the Williams. Therefore, the chance of Wurz actually returning to competitive F1 racing is highly unlikely. However, the Austrian has stated recently that he doesn’t intend to completely walk away from the sport.

According to sportnet.at, Wurz hinted at a new role within the sport, saying “I am working on some things, but at the moment this is not for the media.”

And former Jordan racer Narain Karthikeyan has spoken recently about his itch to return to competitive racing again. The Indian recently won his first A1GP China driving for the Indian team, and buoyed by this success he clearly wants to return to the F1 grid. In 2005, Narain became India’s first Formula One driver, although his tenure at the Jordan squad proved unsuccessful. But with an Indian Grand Prix on the horizon, penned in for 2010, and Indian businessman Vijay Mallya buying Spyker (now renamed Force India), Narain can see himself coming back.

Definitely, there is an unfinished business in F1. There is still time, it will happen sooner rather than later. A1GP for me is not a step back, only a step to the side. I race as hard as possible and try and achieve the best. Narain Karthikeyan.

However, the 30-year-old has competition from young Indian GP2 driver Karun Chandhok. Karun is enjoying good performances in the F1-feeder series and recently tested with Red Bull alongside some of the sports biggest names. While India looks to play a major role in motor sport in the coming years, I’m not so sure the plans include Narain. But we shall see. If not the pace, Narain certainly has the enthusiasm.

Oliver White

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