• INSIGHT: The Road to Melbourne

The team's 2018 pre-season journey has been one of the most intense to date. And here's how it's played out...

15 January: Sea freight leaves for Melbourne

Heavier items are sent in the sea freight, alongside those that are cheaper to buy in bulk than send by air. There are a number of different sets of sea freight, to allow teams to send them off at the same time.

Naturally, sea freight travels at a much slower pace, so the three containers for Melbourne departed mid-way through January and arrived on the Friday before race week, where they were offloaded and transported to the track.

End of January: Crash tests passed

Formula One cars are required to go through and pass a series of strict FIA crash tests, in order for them to be deemed safe for use in the season ahead.

These include dynamic (moving) crash tests, static load tests and rollover tests. The team achieved this major milestone at the end of January, enabling it to then move onto the next step in the plan.

31 January: First fire-up

The fire-up of a new F1 car is always a special moment and an important milestone for any team. It signals our latest creation coming to life for the very first time and puts the result of all that hard work, effort and dedication through its first big test.

The W09 fired up for the first time at the end of January. It was a success, watched on by a large crowd of team members, excited to hear the car roar into life for the first of many times in 2018.

6 February: First chassis spray

At this stage of the process, everything is starting to come together and the first chassis can be sprayed up in the paint shop. It's a lengthy process which is spread across two days, and this year took place at the beginning of February.

22 February: Launch and shakedown

Launching a new car is one of the biggest and most hotly-anticipated moments of the season. A massive amount of graft goes into getting the car ready to be unveiled to the world - and not just be the engineers and mechanics, but the marketing team too.

Our launch not only signalled the first reveal of the W09 but also featured the first ever run of the car. Both the shakedown and car reveal took place on 22 February at Silverstone, with global media, partners and VIPs in attendance.

26 February: First day of winter testing:

Putting the new car through its paces in anger for the very first time lays down an important foundation for the rest of the season.

The W09 hit the Circuit de Barcelona-Cataluya in Spain on the 26 February, kick-starting winter testing. Valtteri was behind the wheel in the morning, with Lewis taking over in the afternoon. 83 laps were completed in total on day one of testing.

16 March: Air freight departs for Melbourne

Because the Australian Grand Prix is the longest journey of the season (close to 24 hours), the air freight leaves a little earlier than usual.

It's not only made up of equipment, but also the two cars and all of their parts. It departs from the airport on the Friday before the race week and arrives on Sunday.

17 March: Race team departs for Melbourne

Stepping onto the plane to Australia is when the season properly begins for the race team. It's the longest journey of the year, taking almost 24 hours and including a stopover in either Singapore or Abu Dhabi. But, it's worth it to get to the colourful city of Melbourne and get the next F1 campaign underway.

For the set-up crew and mechanics, their first of many Grand Prix treks begins on 17 March, with the engineers setting off on 19 March.

And this is just the start...

So there you have it. Just a few of the milestone moments that lead to the first leg of a season spanning 21 locations across five continents, some thousands of miles apart.

It's a crazy ride. But we wouldn't have it any other way... see you in Melbourne!