McLaren 'to launch new car on February 19'

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McLaren will unveil its 2017 Formula One contender on February 19, according to reports in the European media.

If that were to be confirmed, it would make McLaren currently the first team scheduled to show off their new car, with Renault having previously announced that it would launch its new model on February 21.

Force India has also set its launch for February 22, which will be followed by Mercedes' on February 23 and Ferrari's on February 24.

Renault sets launch date for 2017 contender

However Spanish sports daily AS says that McLaren will beat its rivals and stage an online launch two days earlier than anyone else.

"It has not been confirmed by the team," the newspaper's reporter acknowledged.

And when contacted by reporters, McLaren flatly denied the report and said that the date was not correct.

"No, that is not correct," the team said, insisting that neither February 19 nor 21 were dates that it was currently planning for its launch. "Both (are) wrong!"

"[We will launch] right before the Spain test, no specific date yet. But we've shown it to the shop floor and are very exited about our future," new McLaren executive director Zak Brown told the Autosport International Show.

"I've just signed off on the new car livery, so I think the fans are going to be excited about what the car looks like, both technically and visually," he added.

There is considerable interest in this year's new Formula One designs. While last year's launches were rather along the lines of 'business as normal', this year's new technical regulations will force teams to make major changes to their cars.

2017 will see one of the biggest regulation shake-ups since the introduction of hybrid turbo power units in 2014, with much of the focus on bodywork and tyre revisions.

Tyres are around 25 percent wider than in 2016, with rear width up from 325mm to 405, and front width raised from 245 to 305. Tyre diameter has also increased very slightly, though wheel rim size remains unchanged at 13 inches.

Front wing span will be increased from 1650mm to 1800mm while the height of the rear wing is reduced to a maximum of 800mm, down from 950 previously. The bodywork is to be wider, with maximum width up from 1400mm to 1600mm. diffuser height is up from 125mm to 175, and width from 1000mm to 1050. The diffuser will also be longer, extending ahead of the rear wheel axle line. Overall, maximum weight is increased from 702kg to 722kg plus tyres.

The overall aim of the new regulations is to boost downforce and grip, making the cars both faster by between three and five seconds per lap, and also physically harder to drive in order to make it a tougher challenge for the drivers.

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