pedro-in-jerez.jpgAfter launching their new car the MP4-23 yesterday in Stuttgart, the McLaren Mercedes team successfully completed their first full day of testing today at Jerez in Spain.

In the morning session test driver Pedro de la Rosa (or Pedro the Pink as we know him here) put the MP4-23 through its initial paces, before being joined on track in the afternoon by McLaren new boy Heikki ‘Happy’ Kovaleinen in the afternoon.

Pedro covered 177km in total with a best time of 1.19.655, and Heikki managed a respectable 128km with a best time of 1.20.559.

Both Pedro and Heikki were enthusiastically encouraged by the car’s initial outing. Heikki apparently commenting “It was really great to get on track today with the MP4-23,”

“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.”

Test driver Pedro de la Rosa was similarly pleased stating “We covered 69 laps in total today between Heikki and me, which is a good start,” de la Rosa said. “The car felt positive and it has been an encouraging day. This is the second time I have had the opportunity to make the track debut with our new car, it is also the eighth car I have driven for the team.”

new-boy-heikki.jpgSo all in all an encouraging start from the Woking boys, which is probably what they need after all the cafuffle they have had to endure in the last 12 months – and that’s just the flack they’ve had to take from us here at FFN.

Lewis Tax-Free Swiss-Cheese Hamilton will be taking over testing duties from the morrow, apparently. That’s if he can fit his entourage of celebrities and ego into the garage simultaneously, which is no mean feat.

Here at FFN, we have to admit to feeling the slightest ever so teensy bit of sympathy for Pedro the Pink. We know it is every little boy’s dream to get to drive an F1 car, but it must be thoroughly infuriating to do all the donkey work in testing and so forth, then for some flashy upstart from Renault to swan in and swipe the driver’s seat from under your nose at the last minute. The poor Spaniard must be wondering just what he has to do to get the McLaren drive these days, perhaps a move to Renault would be a good start!

McLaren’s other test driver Gary Paffett doesn’t appear to be faring much better in his F1 plans, as Prodrive have had to postpone their plans to enter F1 until the customer car issue has been resolved. Apparently Williams have contested the legality of Prodrive’s entry and until the issue is resolved they are unable to enter the sport. Which does seem a bit of a backwards way of doing things considering there are at least two teams we can think of running customer cars already in the sport.

Far be it for us to point out the inconsistencies of the FIA’s approach, lest we end up being dragged kicking and screaming into the Court of Appeal and subjected to a lengthy verbal torturing by a bunch of lawyers who have swallowed the English Dictionary for a hobby. Eating Flavio’s sweaty jock strap in retrospect would probably be preferable!

While we are on the subject of worrying about people, we are beginning to get mightily concerned for the whereabouts of Ferrari’s Official Spokesman Luca Colajanni. Usually he is popping up out of the ether like nobodies business issuing statements and denials left, right and centre on behalf of the Maranello boys – and baffling us all with his cryptic verses, before disappearing again from whence he came.

frostbite-alert.jpgWe are beginning to fear the worst. Has the suddenly verbose Kimi-bot Raikkonen gone on the rampage and stolen Luca’s public speaking handbook? Or has the poor Mr Colajanni been put out of employment, now that the Kimster is seemingly unable to shut up for more than a few seconds at a time?

So far this winter we have had Luca Di, Jean Todt, Stefano Domenicali, Aldo Costa, Mario Almondo and just about everyone else from Maranello bar the cleaning lady give us their thoughts on every topic under the sun…while the official spokesman hasn’t seemingly uttered a word.

Here at FFN we are really hoping Mr Colajanni is off in the Caribbean enjoying a nice relaxing holiday, and is planning on coming back soon to save us all. Preferably before the Kimster is struck down by a debilitating double case of laryngitis and face ache, to go along with the embarrassing case of frostbite he must have contracted on his rear-end at the Wroom Event staged held at Madonna di Campligio.