Ferrari to launch 2012 car before first pre-season test


LONDON — Ferrari will launch their 2012 Formula One car in time for the first pre-season test in February, a team spokesman said on Thursday. No date was fixed but the first test is scheduled for Spain’s Jerez circuit on Feb. 7-9.

Rivals Mercedes have already said they will not have their new car on track until the second test in Barcelona on Feb. 21 to give themselves as much time as possible for design and development. Under new rules this year, cars can take part in testing only once they have passed mandatory FIA (International Automobile Federation) crash tests.

That means teams have to decide between maximizing development in the factory and missing out on track time, or getting in more testing but signing off earlier on the design process. Ferrari won only one race this year, with Fernando Alonso in Britain, and finished third overall.