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Opinion

How an F1 tech writer experiences launch season

OPINION: Formula 1 launch season is a busy time of year for all concerned in the specialist press. Our tech expert lifts the lid on what it's like to bring on-the-spot analysis of the latest - at least sometimes - grand prix machinery

Expensive events in far-flung locales just to pull the covers away from a barely different new livery. F1's official showcar, brazenly branded as a team's new car just to avoid revealing the real thing. Spy shots, fake bodywork, and copycats; late cars, ill-fitting components, and hacked apps. These are all just part of Formula 1's launch and test cycle, a carousel of 'anything goes' and wild vacillations between excess and minimal effort.

2024 is the sixth F1 launch season I've covered since joining Autosport, and each one has been surprisingly different as global conditions and trends have somewhat dictated how F1 teams have planned their launch events. Physical launches subsided for a good few years as the world was entwined in COVID's stranglehold, but the bluster has returned - although this hasn't stopped some teams from persisting with online-only launches. Others will wait until testing to shove the car out of the garage in front of a wall of snappers, and then get on with their day's run plan.

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