The MGP W02 made its debut in Valencia today as Formula One’s pre-season testing programme kicked off at the Spanish circuit. The new Silver Arrow was unveiled by Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg in the pit lane this morning with Nico the first to get behind the wheel of the new car once the testing action got underway.

Nico completed nine laps before coming to a stop on track with a hydraulics problem. The team worked hard to fix the issue, enabling Michael to go out at the end of the day to complete his first exploratory laps with the car.

Nico will drive again tomorrow with Michael completing the programme on Thursday.

Nico Rosberg: “The good thing is that I felt completely at home and comfortable in the cockpit straight away this morning. 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.”

Michael Schumacher: “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. 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.”

Ross Brawn: “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. 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.”

TIMES (All timings are unofficial)

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:13.769 93
2. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:13.938 71
3. Gary Paffett McLaren 1:14.292 91
4. Paul Di Resta Force India 1:14.461 28
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:14.553 98
6. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:15.621 68
7. Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 1:16.003 71
8. Vitaly Petrov Lotus Renault 1:16.351 28
9. Michael Schumacher MERCEDES GP PETRONAS 1:16.450 15
10. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:17.214 20
11. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:17.335 78
12. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:18.020 45
13. Nico Rosberg MERCEDES GP PETRONAS 1:19.930 9

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