Jerez de la Frontera, 8 February – A programme of two halves for Scuderia Ferrari on the last day of the Jerez test, the first session of the winter which saw the Maranello squad and the ten other teams working at the Andalusian track. Pedro de la Rosa’s debut at the wheel of the F138, in his role as test driver now that he has been brought in to join the Ferrari family, did not go quite as expected. There was a gearbox glitch which sidelined the car after it had done just two laps. After a long stop in the garage while the mechanics fixed the problem, the car was back on track to complete the afternoon programme, which was given over mainly to analysing various aerodynamic configurations and set-up tests, as well as the usual long runs.
“All in all it’s been a positive day for me, I finally got a feel for the car and that will be very important when it comes to comparing the data with the simulator as we develop the car,” said the Spaniard. “We are not yet where we want to be on our simulation and there will be a lot of work to do, but that’s why I’ve been taken on and in my own small way I hope to do my best to contribute to the progress of the Scuderia. I had a lot of mixed feelings today: I was very excited to drive the car but when I got out after the first two laps I was not exactly happy. All my life I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this and to see it end after just a few corners was definitely not nice, especially because I wasn’t sure that we would be able to continue with the programme. But then the team did an amazing job and it was vital to get back on track given how few days are available to us.”
De La Rosa eventually managed 51 laps on the final day, with a best time of 1.20.316. The quickest time was set by Kimi Raikkonen (1.18.148) in the Lotus, ahead of Jules Bianchi (1.18.175) in the Force India and Sebastian Vettel (1.18.656) in the Red Bull. Felipe Massa gets the prize for being quickest over the whole four days, his work at the wheel providing the Maranello crew with their first impressions of the new car and delivering valuable data for the coming session in Barcelona. The Brazilian’s best lap of 1.17.879 was set yesterday, on the last of his three days in the cockpit of the F138. His workload involved evaluating different exhaust configurations, endurance runs and a comparison of the various Pirelli tyres on offer.