Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo have put the first laps on the McLaren MCL36 in a filming day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The brand new McLaren car for the 2022 season was launched on the evening of Friday February 11 and unlike some of their rivals, the Woking-based team were not eager to test everything was working on track at the earliest opportunity.
They were happy enough to save that until just before the ‘pre-season track session’ in Barcelona, which is where all 10 teams are converging for three days of running before official testing takes place in Bahrain from March 10-12.
Sporting its striking papaya, light blue and black livery, the MCL36 was eligible to complete up to 100 kilometres on a day with clear skies that matched the colour of its rear wing.
“It’s exciting, it really was,” said Ricciardo. “It’s probably the most excited I’ve been for a pre-season, to drive, in a while.
“I think just with so many changes coming out for this year, the anticipation has been pretty real.”
Norris was driving an F1 car on track for the first time since signing a new four-year contract with McLaren.
“It was lovely to be back,” said the 22-year-old Briton. “It’s been a long day, waiting for it.
“A long off-season. But just nice to be back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car to get that feeling again, the vibrations, the noise, everything.
“We are not pushing quite just yet, but just good to be behind it and nice to see it all come together and see what we’ve put together.
“It’s very important to make sure you try to iron out as many of those small things as you can, the small problems here and there.
“I think the team have done generally a good job with trying to do that as much as possible, but there are always little niggles which you won’t be able to find until you go out running properly. Hopefully we’ve covered a few of them off already.”
The drivers will not have to wait long for their next taste of the MCL36, only a matter of hours in fact, because the car can be fired up again in the Barcelona garage on Wednesday morning to join its nine rivals on the circuit that stages the Spanish Grand Prix.
McLaren have been among the cagier teams in regard to announcing who would take part in each session at Barcelona, with some opting to give each driver one full day apiece in the car and halving the remaining day.
Others have chosen to equally divide all three days so neither driver spends a full day on the sidelines.
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