Mercedes has taken its 2016 car, the W07, on track for the first time during a shakedown event at Silverstone.
Nico Rosberg took to the circuit in the morning as Mercedes conducted one of the 100km filming days permitted to each team under the regulations. Before his stint in the car Rosberg tweeted a selfie from the cockpit. The picture seemed to reveal a larger air box behind the driver than the car's predecessor, the W06.
Rosberg later told Sky Sports: "It's been a special day and it's always a great experience. We know so much about this car but it's all just numbers, aerodynamic values and what everybody has been telling me, but now to see it all come together last night in the factory and how impressed everybody was with all the details, including the mechanics who got their first look at it, and then to take it round in anger was very enjoyable. Just to be out there on my own and experience and feel this new machine, it was a good day.
"It was a good feeling to start with. I could push as if I raced Abu Dhabi yesterday, so it's a good beginning and of course I look forward to Barcelona testing now."
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton took the wheel in the afternoon, prompting another Tweet from the team. ]
Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe says he is happy with the early indications from the car, including the fact there were no mechanical gremlins early on.
"It's gone very well actually," Lowe told Sky Sports. "We were out at 10.15 -- the circuit only opened at 10. Everything has gone very well, we haven't even taken the engine off yet in the whole morning session which is a really good sign of the reliability we've achieved at this point. Today is all about filming and making sure the car will be able to hit the ground testing on Monday and see whether there are any issues we have overlooked but so far so good."
In the Sky Sports footage of Rosberg's early laps, and in the video Mercedes released of the fire up of its 2016 engine, there have been suggestions of a louder sound from the V6 engines. After the launch of Williams' car on Friday morning Pat Symonds predicted a 12% improvement in noise due to the new exhaust systems.
Asked if there was an aerodynamic gain to be found in the new exhaust designs, Lowe replied: "No, it's really just about noise. The intention is to create a cleaner main exit on the exhaust pipe, so we'll see. It does sound a bit louder but we'll have to tell when we've got more cars [together] and see what the response is but so far so good on that."
The W07 will be tasked with claiming Mercedes' third straight championship but may well face its sternest challenge in the V6 era yet from Ferrari, which unveiled its 2016 car on Friday afternoon. Ferrari hopes to build on its impressive 2015 campaign with the SF16-H and overhaul Mercedes at the top of the pecking order this year.