Thumbs up and hitch-free came the declarations Tuesday at the Circuito de la Comunidad Valenciana Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, after Robert Kubica put the first laps on BMW Sauber's 2008 Formula One car, the F1.08.
Kubica's teammate, Nick Heidfeld, who demonstrated the car at its Monday launch at BMW World in Munich, is scheduled to put the car through its paces Thursday.
"All systems were functioning from the word go, and Robert has gained a positive first impression of the new car's handling," team principal Mario Theissen said. "It means the most suspenseful moment for the engineers and technicians has resulted in a positive outcome. In the next few days we will be testing the technology in detail before tackling the job of further honing the BMW Sauber F1.08 for performance."
Kubica said even a few laps in the car were encouraging.
"The car feels more stable than its predecessor, and it builds up more grip," the Pole said. "I'm looking forward to the test days to come."
Heidfeld drove an F1.07 Tuesday.
"I really enjoyed driving the old car as well," said the German, who then enthused about the new one. "The F1.08 is the most beautiful vehicle I have seen in my F1 career. It has a lot of interesting details. I'm really excited about getting inside it on Thursday."
Team technical director Willy Rampf said the day had been anticipated with "feverish excitement" throughout the team.
"We are all accordingly delighted to have encountered no problems whatsoever on the first outing with this completely new vehicle," he said. "Now all the car's systems and entire sensor technology will be checked in detail before the start of the further test program."
BMW Sauber will test through Thursday at the Valencia track. The first race of the Formula One season is scheduled for March 16 in Melbourne, Australia.