The Manor Racing Team’s new Mercedes powered MRT-05 made its track debut on Monday as winter testing got underway at the Barcelona Circuit Du Catalunya in Montmelo, Spain with their driver Pascal Wehrlein behind the wheel.

The German who will make his Grand Prix debut with the Banbury based outfit in Melbourne next month completed 54 laps posting the ninth fastest time with a 1m 28.292s ending the day just ahead of the Haas F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer.

Speaking following his first day as a Formula One race driver, a delighted Wehrlein commented by saying:

A really good first day with the car and for me, so I’m very happy. I have a great car that’s as good to drive as it is to look at and already we’ve started to make some progress. This morning we completed just five laps while we worked with Mercedes HPP to make sure everything was as it should be. This afternoon we started to get into the programme and I added another 49 laps, so 54 laps in total. It’s a really promising package so I can’t wait to drive again in the morning. Thanks to the team for making me so welcome. Manor Racing is already feeling a lot like home.

Manor Racing’s Technical Director John McQuilliam commented by saying:

260kms with a brand new package is a dream start to pre-season testing. It couldn’t have gone any better for us and every single team member deserves a round of applause for an impressive achievement. Pascal has slotted straight into the team and after a steady start to the day we really got into the swing of things in the afternoon session. He’s had a confident debut and provided plenty of good feedback, giving us a lot of data to work with this evening. We’ll pick things up with Pascal in the morning before switching over to Rio for his first taste of the MRT05. All in all, we’ve made a good first step.

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