The BMW Sauber team shone on the first day of testing at Jerez on Tuesday, with Nick Heidfeld putting in the fastest lap of the day.
He was closely followed by Jenson Button for Honda, who came in a little more than a tenth of a second behind him. Only then did the McLaren of Pedro de la Rosa and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen start to pose a challenge.
Fifth was Nelson Piquet Jr, testing for Renault and three-tenths of a second down on the world champion followed by Sebastien Bourdais for Toro Rosso and the British driver Gary Paffett for McLaren.
And GP2 racer Mike Conway was back in the car for Honda after his successful outing at the Circuit de Catalunya earlier in the month, with James Rossiter’s long series of musical chairs taking him back to Super Aguri.
Giancarlo Fisichella and Franck Montagny both tried their hand with a Force India car while Timo Glock made his Toyota debut and Formula BMW and German A1GP driver Nico Hulkenberg tried out for Williams.
Estonian Marko Asmer and Spaniard Javier Villa drove alongside Nick Heidfeld in the second and third BMWs – but only in a metaphorical sense, as their times were actually some two-and-a-half to three seconds slower than their team-mate for the day.
For Honda Button was working on evaluation of the 2008 electronics and trying out the slick tyres while Conway continued his acclimatisation of the car.
For McLaren Mercedes de la Rosa and Paffett tested aerodynamic development and chassis components and the drivers swapped between chassis throughout the day.
For Super Aguri James Rossiter focused on the standard electronic control system for 2008 and slick tyres for a possible return to the compound in 2009.
Times on day one:
- Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber: 1:19:042 (78 laps)
- Jenson Button, Honda: 1:19.155 (70 laps)
- Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren Mercedes: 1:19.712 (48 laps)
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari: 1:20.063 (78 laps)
- Nelson Piquet, Renault: 1:20.366 (67 laps)
- Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso: 1:20.615 (101 laps)
- Gary Paffett, McLaren-Mercedes: 1:20.638 (50 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:20.682 (69 laps)
- Marc Gene, Ferrari: 1:20.832 (67 laps)
- Mike Conway, Honda: 1:20.927 (88 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso: 1:21.060 (46 laps)
- James Rossiter, Super Aguri: 1:21.246 (75 laps)
- Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India: 1:21.424 (53 laps)
- Nico Hulkenberg, Williams: 1:21.551 (28 laps)
- Kazuki Nakajima, Williams: 1:21.566 (33 laps)
- Franck Montagny, Force India: 1:21.559 (65 laps)
- Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:21.601 (69 laps)
- Marko Asmer, BMW Sauber: 1:21.962 (53 laps)
- Kamui Kobayashi, 1:22.196 (114 laps)
- Javier Villa, BMW Sauber: 1:23.503 (57 laps)