Force India finally rolled out its new car for the upcoming Formula One season, with only two more days remaining to get it up to speed.
Driver Nico Hulkenberg took the new car, the Mercedes-powered VJMO8, for its maiden drive during testing at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit.
While not as fast as the rest, the vehicle proved reliable as Hulkenberg broke it in with 77 laps in less than five hours. The German, however, did end up at the bottom of the timesheet over five seconds off Nico Rosberg's pace in his Mercedes.
"It was a very good day, at least in terms of the running we managed to do," said Hulkenberg on Friday. "We were able to run reliably straight out of the box, and that is very encouraging."
Force India missed the first preseason test in Jerez and was forced to use last year's car during the second test near Barcelona.
Hulkenberg is scheduled to get another shift on Saturday, before Sergio Perez takes over on the final day of testing. The season starts at the Australian Grand Prix on March 15. Force India finished sixth in the constructors' standings last season.