McLaren-Mercedes new boy Heikki Kovalainen made his on-track debut with the Woking-based team at Jerez on Wednesday and immediately declared that his first impressions of the all-new MP4-23 are 'good'.

Kovalainen began his programme this afternoon, taking to the track in southern Spain at 14.19 hours local time.

The Finn completed 128 kilometres in total, his best time a 1 minute 20.559 seconds, which was around nine tenths off Pedro de la Rosa, who was also on track in the new car, which was officially launched at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart on Monday.

"It was really great to get on track today with the MP4-23," reflected the ex-Renault man. "It was my first session as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver.

"I always really enjoy the first day a new car runs, there is always a very unique atmosphere, you know a little bit tense, a little bit excited. The first impressions of the new car are good. We have a comprehensive development schedule to work through over the next couple of months.

"The car's performance today is definitely an encouraging starting point.

"Today was also my first real opportunity to meet the test team, which was good because we will be spending a lot of time together over the next few weeks!"

Kovalainen will now continue testing on Thursday and Friday, when he will be joined by Lewis Hamilton, who takes over from de la Rosa.

 

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