The varied excitement of F1's launch season

The varied excitement of F1's launch season

From flashy launches to pitlane rollouts, the season of new Formula 1 car reveals is well under way - and that can mean plenty of trips to establish the big pre-season talking points

A 4am alarm call last Sunday meant only one thing. Time to head to the airport. As far as air miles are concerned, January is Formula 1's quietest month. The holidays are over, but testing has yet to commence. Occasionally, there is the odd new car launch that takes you overseas in January - but not always by plane.

One year Toyota delivered a brand new Lexus to my front door with instructions to follow the sat nav to the pre-programmed destination. The route went via the Channel Tunnel to the quiet French commune of Valenciennes, where the assembly line for the Toyota Yaris is based. We politely applauded when Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli removed a dust sheet to unveil a car that looked exactly like the car from the year before.

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