For the final winter test of the season, the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has chosen to run across two separate two-day sessions (Tuesday and Friday with Jenson; Wednesday and Saturday with Lewis). This provides the team with a changeover day on Thursday, when there will be no track running, and also extends the arrival of new components over the course of the test’s full five days.

With Jenson behind the wheel, the team spent the morning evaluating a number of new parts, including a new-for-2011 front-wing, and conducting pitstop practices and studies with the full race-crew. The afternoon’s focus was on longer runs and tyre analysis.

The day’s running was also notable for the appearance of a distinctive piece of porpoise-shaped measuring equipment which was fitted to the nosecone of Jenson’s car. The equipment was for testing purposes only and will not be raced.

Speaking at the end of the day, Jenson said: “The last couple of tests haven’t been perfect for us, and I think that’s partly due to us lacking set-up work. But today I think we made some positive progress with MP4-26’s balance.

“This morning, I did a number of short runs and, in the afternoon, we did some long runs, looked at set-up and balance, and spent the rest of the day looking at tyre consistency.

“I know there’s not much testing left – I only have one more day in the car – but, after today, I feel we can make further positive progress over the next few days. Given the limited amount of set-up work we’ve completed this winter, I feel we now have a good base upon which we can build. And that’s nice to see.”