At ten past nine on Monday morning, Honda issued an emphatic statement of intent. Brendon Hartley headed to the end of the pitlane and the Toro Rosso-Honda became the first car to take to the track in 2018 pre-season Formula 1 testing.
There was no smoke, no failure, no embarrassment; the car simply worked as intended, and by the end of the day Hartley had notched up 93 laps. That's only 16 laps short of the combined total Honda has managed if you add up its total for each first day of testing from 2015-17. And since then, things have appeared to run smoothly for an alliance that has started promisingly.
"The perception is right," says Toro Rosso technical director James Key. "Going out first wasn't my idea because there are so many opportunities to mess that up and look a bit foolish rather than clever! But the fact we did get out first was positive, although I think the statement of intent will come out in the wash.