Dario Franchitti completed his first running in Honda's development Dallara DW12 at Sebring this week. But the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion admitted that his thoughts are still very much on the loss of his friend and former teammate Dan Wheldon, who died in an accident at Las Vegas earlier this month.
"Right now, I would rather have another couple of weeks [off]," 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, 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."