Williams upbeat over first test

The new Williams-BMW FW26 hit the track at Valencia in Spain on Monday afternoon and the team's two drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher, were positive about their first impressions of the radical-looking machine

Williams upbeat over first test

Montoya was first out in the car, completing 14 laps in all before handing over to Schumacher for a further three-lap shakedown. The team now heads to Jerez for the major test there during the remainder of the week.

"My first impression of the FW26 is very good," said Montoya. "The car doesn't feel a lot different from last year's, which is a very god start, and I think we have an excellent potential car. I felt comfortable straight away and could push the car from the outset, so thanks are due to the team for having built a very promising car.

"In spite of the restrictions imposed by the new rules, which give you less drag and make the car more difficult under braking, everything feels just right. The dusty track conditions were not 100 per cent ideal today, and we only completed six hard laps, so I don't want to sound too optimistic. But there isn't a single area that doesn't work. I am very, very pleased, I think this car has got a good future."

Schumacher was less outspoken about the car's potential, preferring instead to hedge his bets ahead of the 2004 season.

"It is always good if the first day runs according to plan, and I can say that the car feels good, perhaps similar to the FW25," he said. "I really have high expectations of the radical approach taken to this new car. Of course, the roll out on launch day does not tell us much about the true performance of a new car and I only completed three laps. Basically, it is all about installation laps and system checks, so it is far too early to make serious comments about the FW26."

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