Merc's new F1 car to debut on Valentine's Day
LONDON - Reigning Formula One world champion Mercedes has scheduled a Valentine's Day debut for the car Lewis Hamilton hopes will take him to a seventh title this season.
The team said in a statement on Friday that an initial shakedown run is set to take place in private at the Silverstone circuit in England on February 14.
The first of two official pre-season tests will kick off in Barcelona on February 19 with the opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 15.
Ferrari will be the first F1 team to reveal its 2020 car, with its debut scheduled for February 11.
Mercedes has won both the driver's and constructor's championships for the past six years but the team could face a tougher challenge from Ferrari and Red Bull in a season without any major changes.
The British-based team is tackling the 2020 season with the same line-up, with Finland's Valtteri Bottas once again partnering Hamilton, who won 11 races last year.
The Briton can equal Michael Schumacher's record seven championships and is poised to overtake the great Ferrari driver on career wins, with 84 to date. Schumacher retired with an unprecedented 91 wins.
The 35-year-old said on Instagram that he planned to come back better than ever and was going to be "a machine this year, on another level than ever before".
Hamilton will be out of contract at the end of 2020, however, and it has been widely reported that he is considering a move to Ferrari. The Italian team confirmed last month that the Briton had met their chairman John Elkann at a couple of social events. Team bosses said they were flattered by the Briton's interest in a possible move.Reuters