Dario Franchitti completed his first running in Honda's development Dallara DW12 at Sebring this week.
But the reigning IndyCar Series champion admitted that his thoughts are still very much on the loss of his friend and former team-mate Dan Wheldon, who died in an accident at Las Vegas earlier this month.
"Right now, I would rather have another couple of weeks," said Franchitti. "But our job is to do this so here I am.
"It's tough for everybody on the team; it's tough for everybody in the IndyCar community right now. The timing is not good right now, but if we want to show up next year in the best position possible we have to be doing it. I definitely want to do my part."
The Scot, along with Ryan Hunter-Reay (the Andretti Autosport driver using a Chevrolet-powered DW12), completed a day's testing with the new package as the two engine manufacturers continued to evaluate the new six-cylinder turbocharged format that comes into effect for 2012.
"We're at the beginning of a long development process," said Franchitti. "It will be a busy couple of months.
"I'm really appreciative of Dallara naming the car after Dan; he did put a lot of work into it and he did a really good job of not telling us anything.
"He was very secretive about what went on so he didn't give anyone an advantage, and a few of us tried to tap him for information."
The test came as Gian Paolo Dallara admitted this week that his company has yet to have the opportunity to properly analyse the accident that took Wheldon's life as the Sam Schmidt-owned chassis he was driving when he crashed remains impounded.
"We don't yet have proper data because Wheldon's car is still confiscated," Dallara told Italian magazine Autosprint. "We know, like everyone saw on TV, that the multiple collision was started by a car that slowed down at turn entry.
"It was not a major slow down, in fact it was not very considerable: at most it was by 10 or 20% per cent.
"But at that speed of about 350 km/h, when you travel two or three abreast on the banking, even such a small speed reduction is enough to generate a multiple collision. And when wheels touch, the cars are thrown up in the air. It's fatal.
"The phenomenon of cars lifting off in wheel-to-wheel contact represents the most serious risk in single-seater races, unfortunately."
Dallara added that he did not believe the high speed of Wheldon's initial collision with another car necessarily directly contributed to the outcome - cars were averaging 220mph-plus prior to the accident, and he suggested that the outcome would have been similar below 200 mph.
"No, it wouldn't have changed a thing, unfortunately," Dallara said. "If at that time the cars had travelled even 70 or 80 km/h slower, well under 300 km/h, it wouldn't have made any difference in the dynamics.
"If two wheels that rotate in the same direction touch even at just 50 km/h, the car behind shoots up in the air. There's nothing you can do. We see that in European racing too, when there's a contact at slower speeds."
He also insisted that the new design will significantly contribute to the reduction in airborne accidents in the future.
"The entire project of the new 2012 car had already been conceived with the aim of lowering the risks of lifting off from wheel-to-wheel contact," said Dallara. "We have operated in two directions: a rear protection and a lateral one.
"At the rear we have placed two bits of bumper-like bodywork behind the driving wheels in order to stop front-wheel-to-rear-wheel-contact. But risk can come from lateral contact too, when the wheels of two single-seaters interlock with each other. This is why the bodywork of the new chassis is very different: it's wider and it extends laterally to the outer edge of the rear wheel.
"This way the wheels can't interlock anymore by the sidepods, and the lift-off effect should be prevented."