First day for McLaren at Jerez

By on

Team McLaren Mercedes returned to the test track today in Spain following a three and a half week break over Christmas and New Year. Pedro de la Rosa was joined at the Circuit de Jerez by reigning DTM Champion Gary Paffett, who was testing for the first time since being announced as an official Team McLaren Mercedes test driver on 21st December 2005.

Both drivers were running in interim MP4-20s, fitted with V10 engines. As scheduled the team is using the V10, because engine production is focused on the FO108S V8 for the MP4-21, which has different mountings from the one used in the MP4-20B. The V8 on track programme will be continued once the MP4-21 starts testing. By the end of the final test in December 2005, over 6,000kms had been covered by the V8 engine.

The programme for the day, which will continue over the remainder of the week until Saturday, focused on tyre development work with Michelin. Pedro de la Rosa had a minor software problem on his initial installation lap, which was resolved immediately and he continued with his programme. Both cars ran for the rest of the day with no further electronic or mechanical issues.

De la Rosa topped the timesheets, with Gary in 13th. The Team McLaren Mercedes drivers set times of 1m16.504 and 1m20.137 respectively, covering 167 laps and 740km in total today.

Testing will continue in Jerez tomorrow with Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett.