Virgin Racing technical director Nick Wirth says the team should be ready to test alongside the established squads at Jerez from Feb. 10-13.
Although the new car will not be in action for the first winter test at Valencia at the start of next month, Wirth is anticipating a shakedown run in the UK around that time, in preparation for hitting the track in earnest at the second preseason test.
"Basically, the plan is to shake the car down in the UK," Wirth told AUTOSPORT. "The fire-up is planned to be for Friday the 29th [of January], although I think it will probably be earlier, and we'll shake the car down in the week of Feb. 1. That was always the plan.
"To be honest, we were also planning to miss the first Jerez test. But as we got into August and September we thought we had a chance to bring it forward and do as much testing as possible. So we plan to shake it down in the UK, possibly on the 3rd but more likely on the 4th and 5th [of February], and then ship the thing out and start running on Feb. 10 at Jerez."
Wirth added that the car build was fully on schedule at present. "We are getting the first fully assembled monocoque back from the painters this afternoon with all the crash structures, sidepods – all the bits that are bolted onto it," he said on Tuesday.
"It has been in to paint, and then that gets all the fuel tank put in, looms and everything like that, and gets built up, building up toward our firing up."