At a private booking for the team at the new Algarve circuit, located on the southern coast of Portugal, the car was taken through 18 laps in ideal weather following a delayed start.
Alongside other teams on Monday, de la Rosa will continue the program before handing over to Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday and Heikki Kovalainen on Thursday.
"Obviously, we have yet to really push the MP4-24 to its limits and we will start running more laps on Monday but this was a constructive start and has given us some confidence," de la Rosa said.
01/17/09 Fresh from Friday's launch at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, McLaren Mercedes test driver Pedro de la Rosa gave the brand new MP4-24 car its first track test today at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve test facility in Portugal.
After a delayed start to the day, the test team completed 18 laps in the MP4-24 during a private test held under very bright and sunny conditions, with de la Rosa setting a best time of 1m 28.719s on his 13th lap. In all, 84 kilometers were covered during this maiden run.
The Spaniard resumes the car's pre-season program at Portimao on Monday and Tuesday before handing over to Lewis Hamilton on Wednesday. Heikki Kovalainen will conclude the four-day test session on Thursday.
Pedro de la Rosa
"It's always an exciting moment when you get behind the wheel of a brand new car for the first time – and, given the extent of the rule changes we've addressed over the winter, today was more tense than usual. However, I'm happy to report that the car behaved just as we believed it would from our data and we carried out a number of runs, gaining in confidence as we ran through a number of systems checks."
"Obviously, we have yet to really push the MP4-24 to its limits and we will start running more laps on Monday but this was a constructive start and has given us some confidence. Given the limits on testing this year, it's now essential that we work productively in order to develop the car ahead of the first race of the season. We have a busy few weeks ahead of us but everyone within the team is really looking forward to the work ahead."