Team Principal Tony Fernandes today confirmed that the Lotus F1 Racing car will be officially launched on 12th February 2010.

The location of the launch will be revealed soon, but for the time being F1 fans around the world will be pencilling in 12th February as the first time they will see the team’s 2010 challenger, the first Lotus F1 car unveiled since 1994.

Last week Mike Gascoyne, Lotus F1 Racing Chief Technical Officer, confirmed this week that the team was a week ahead of schedule on its build process and making excellent progress in all key areas in its efforts to be ready for the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix in March.

Italy’s Jarno Trulli, Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen and Malaysia’s Fairuz Faury together with Team Principal Tony Fernandes

Asked for an update, Mike said “We had been looking at firing up our engine for the first time on 12th February, but with the efforts everyone’s been putting in we have now been able to bring that forward to 5th February. This is obviously a great boost for everyone involved in the team, and shows how much hard work has already gone in since we had our entry confirmed on September 12th.

“With the engine fire up date now in the diary, we are also in a position to confirm that we will be on track for the first time at the third official test at Jerez from 17th February, and then at Barcelona from 25th February. We are also aiming to run chassis two for the last two days of that Barcelona test.”

Mike also looked ahead to the forthcoming season and announced that the development programme will see a major update at the Spanish Grand Prix in May. “We have said we are aiming to be ahead of the new teams when we all reach Bahrain, but we would also like to be pretty close to the midfield teams after the first few races of the season. The update we have planned for Spain will see a boost in performance when we reach Barcelona which will give us the chance to start fighting with the slowest of the established teams which, given progress so far, has to be the next goal for us.”