Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were happy after the first run of the new W02 in Valencia despite running of the car being limited by a hydraulic problem.
Rosberg was given the honour of running the first laps in the car, but was sidelined by the problem after managing just nine laps. It means he will now need to wait until Wednesday to get his first proper taste of the car but Rosberg said his initial impressions were that the car will be a step forward compared to the W01 it replaces.
“The good thing is that I felt completely at home and comfortable in the cockpit straight away this morning,” he said. “Initial impressions are very difficult to make as we've now changed to the Pirelli tyres but the feeling was very good. It just feels like a better car in general and it will be good to have a full day to really make progress tomorrow.”
After the hydraulic issue had been fixed, Schumacher managed 15 laps before running came to an end and wile he was only ninth quickest, the seven-time champion was happy to have had chance to sample the car for the first time.
“It has always been and is still very special to go out in a new car for the first time, and I very much enjoyed today even if it was just a few laps that we could do,” he said. “Maybe you could sum it up with: interesting but short! It was mainly about doing a few system checks today and I am looking forward to the laps to come. All in all, I am very happy after today's launch of our new baby, and I can't wait for the season to start.”
Despite being off the outright pace during the opening day of testing this year, team principal Ross Brawn wasn't concerned as the team focuses on reliability – albeit unsuccessfully on the first day for the car - and system checks before chasing outright performance.
“It felt good to see the MGP W02 finally take to the track after so much hard work from everyone at the factory to prepare the car for this first test,” he said. “Michael and Nico felt comfortable and had a good feeling from the car, although we were limited in the mileage that we achieved today. We had a hydraulic problem early on which limited Nico's running but were able to change the system to get Michael out for a few laps at the end.
“The first tests are about focusing on reliability, which admittedly was not great today, and getting the KERS system functioning well. Performance testing will develop over the next month as we get more running under our belts.”
To see times from testing, CLICK HERE