Mercedes gets early start in testing at Barcelona

By on Monday, February 20, 2012

The Mercedes F1 W03 in Silverstone

Mercedes got its Barcelona test off to an early start on Sunday.

At the same time, the rest of the F1 world was only setting up at the Circuit de Catalunya ahead of Tuesday's kick-off for the second of three pre-season testing sessions.

Mercedes, however, trod a different path recently by keeping its 2012 car under development at its Brackley factory while main rivals including Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren got their test campaigns up and running.

Again running Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg this year, Mercedes took its old car to Jerez and then sat out the last of the four days of testing.

Therefore they were allowed to make up the day in Barcelona on Sunday, and although details and laptimes are scant, it has emerged that both Schumacher and Rosberg ran the new stepped-nose W03 and completed more than a race distance.

Schumacher took the wheel of the new W03 in the morning before giving up his seat to Nico Rosberg in the afternoon. Mercedes completed over 300 kilometers on Sunday with their new car. Sunday's test was effectively a private test for Mercedes, without prying eyes, red flags or on-track traffic.

"Michael and Nico's first impressions are positive," Mercedes' Norbert Haug told Bild newspaper.

The Mercedes F1 W03 will be officially presented on Tuesday at 08:20 in the pit lane of the Barcelona circuit. It will then take the track for the start of the second winter testing session, which takes place from February 21 to 24.

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