Despite having to pose along with teammate Stoffel Vandoorne like models from a 1970s mail order catalogue as the McLaren PR and marketing machine's work continued, Fernando Alonso had a broad grin on his face for much of the day.
"Good times are coming, that's the message," he said.
"We struggled, we kept the motivation very high and the team is stronger now than three years ago," he continued. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and the last few years makes a very united team, a very strong team and we will see the first results this year."
"It's always a special moment when you drive the car the first time," he beamed. "Everything feels good. I'm looking forward to doing a proper lap at full speed.
"So far, it's good. We run behind some other cars, some cameras, some pickups with filming equipment and things like that so it's not full speed but it's still good for the sponsors.
"For us, it's the first feel with the seat, the pedals, the comfort side of it," he added. "For the guys, they can check temperatures, maybe there are some bodywork adjustments we need to do.
"The good thing about these days is the emotional part," he admitted. "After very intense work in the factory the last few months, I'm very proud of the team. Finally the day arrives, the engine is running, the car is running, we're all happy."