Brazilian test driver Enrique Bernoldi managed the seventh (out of 11) best lap time, while McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen - Barcelona winner - continued to dominate the order.
Toyota, Renault, Jordan, Red Bull and Sauber also got going on a short, Monte Carlo-like layout - damp in the morning - at Le Castellet.
Rain is forecast later in the week.
Of note, part time Renault tester Heikki Kovalainen completed a mammoth day (750 km), while, interestingly, BAR - although banned from racing there - helped test tyres for Monte Carlo.
Elsewhere, Michael Schumacher joined Ferrari tester Luca Badoer at an artificially-drenched Fiorano, and Williams' Mark Webber joined Antonio Pizzonia - who practiced getting heat into the tyres on a GP warm-up lap - at Vallelunga.
Webber, though, spent a lot of time in the garage with technical trouble. -GMM