Currently reading: F1 testing in Valencia: pics
See all the pics of the class of 2010 in action for the first time in Spain

Michael Schumacher has returned to Formula One action for the first time in more than three years on the first day of winter testing in Valencia.

After less than 20 laps, Schumacher was already faster than his Mercedes GP team mate Nico Rosberg and ended the day more than half a second quicker than Rosberg. Schumacher finished the day third out of eight runners and less than four tenths of a second slower than Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

Of the 13 teams on this year’s grid, seven took part today in Spain.

Updated with more than 50 pics: see 2010's F1 cars in action in Valencia - including Schumacher's returnAlan Henry blog: The F1 2010 season starts today

Teams have been banned from testing since last November’s race in Abu Dhabi and they have 41 days to prepare for the new season, which kicks off in Bahrain on 14 March.

Renault, Toro Rosso and Sauber all showed off their new cars in the past 24 hours and were at today’s test. Ferrari, Williams, Mercedes and McLaren, who revealed their cars last week, also ran.

Mercedes W01 F1 car revealedRenault F1 shows new coloursSauber's sponsorless F1 carToro Rosso F1 car unveiledMcLaren launches new F1 carFerrari launches 2010 F1 car

Force India and Red Bull have both opted out of this test and will instead run later this month in Jerez and Barcelona. New teams Campos, Lotus, US F1 and Virgin Racing are all expected to test by the end of this month.

Keep checking back to today to see latest pictures of the class of 2010 in action for the first time.

Unofficial times from today's running:

1. Massa Ferrari 1:12.574 2. de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:12.784 3. M.Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:12.947 4. Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:13.543 5. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.846 6. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:14.449 7. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:14.762 8. Kubica Renault 1:15.000

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TheWizardWeb 2 February 2010

Re: F1 testing in Valencia: pics

Surely with the shark fin, the cars are a pig to drive in a cross wind? High speed corners specifically, when you briefly angle into the wind like a wind surfer, doesn't it upset the car?

Wilkodesign 2 February 2010

Re: F1 testing in Valencia: pics

The long whhelbases necessitated by new fuel capacity requirement adds to the ugliness.

Trust the engineers have calculated the steering lock needed to avoid doing 3 point turns at Lowes hairpin.........

VirginPower 2 February 2010

Re: F1 testing in Valencia: pics

It turns out that Schumacher's third-fastest time was 1:12.947, after Massa's 1:12.574 and De la Rosa's 1:12.784.

FR3000 wrote:
It appears that everyone has gone back towards the late '90s early '00s high nose designs but with the drivers seat still low down.

I think the seemingly lower seating position may be a bit of an illusion, as some teams appear to have discovered a positive effect from flaring the nose vertically. You'll notice that the drivers' helmets in the McLarens and Renaults look more exposed, and although De La Rosa and Kubica are tall, the nose cones are also flatter on these cars.

Typically, it was Newey who first applied this contour now being adopted by others, and although it must work in terms of aerodynamics, visibility is becoming perilously limited.

Rosberg suffered due to his impression of having a seat set too low in the car, and one wonders if there will be an increase in wheel and wing collision during the races due to the drivers being unsighted. Perhaps this will lend a racing advantage to the taller drivers, bit their disadvantage will be a slightly less efficient car.

This exaggerated aero-element may be a solution to the effects of the longer chassis needed to accommodate the large fuel tanks, and it's these new dimensions that give the slightly more cab-forward appearance.