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Williams to use interim car at first test – report

Five teams are likely to have not yet launched their 2011 cars by the time of the opening pre-season group test beginning 1 February.

That is the claim of Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, contradicting other reports that said Williams and Lotus will be ready with their new single seaters at Cheste’s Ricardo Tormo circuit near Valencia early next month.

The report said Williams will likely have an “interim car” at the test rather than the new FW33, with a 2011 launch not expected until mid-February.

Force India has already announced that its new car will not be seen until the second test at Jerez, but it had been expected that Team Lotus’ 2011 machine would be in Valencia.

However, Auto Motor und Sport said the Malaysian team, as well as fellow new-in-2010 outfits Virgin and HRT, are likely to be ready with their respective new cars even later than Williams and Force India.

The earliest launch will be the reveal and rollout of the 2011 Ferrari at Maranello/Fiorano on 28 January, a few days before it is taken to Valencia.

On the last day of this month, Sauber and Renault will present their cars at Valencia, and on the following morning the Mercedes and Toro Rosso cars will be photographed for the first time in the pitlane.

Red Bull is also scheduling a Valencia debut for the RB6, but an official announcement of the precise launch date is only expected within the next few days.

McLaren’s MP4-26 will be launched after the Valencia test, on 4 February in Berlin at sponsor Vodafone’s behest.