Sunshine, warmth and a lot of tyres were the main items on the menu during the first two days of testing here at Jerez de la Frontera, all in the capable hands of our “chef” Felipe Massa. Last year’s Jerez test was affected by rain but this year, February in Andalusia is positively spring-like, with a nice tepid sun getting temperatures up to around the 20 degree C mark.
The Brazilian driver made the most of these conditions, putting in over the two days around nine hundred kilometres which pushed the F150th Italia over the two thousand kilometre total since it first took to the track. “On both days, I was always able to complete the programme we had planned,” said Felipe when he spoke to the media. “Today, we tried all four types of tyre that Pirelli brought here and were able to acquire a lot of data. There is a lot of work to do before understanding the behaviour of the tyres and then to find the right set-up on the car. The times? It is always better to perform well, even if it does not mean much. From here to the first race, a lot will change, on our car and on those of the others. After just a few days of testing it really is impossible to say where we are compared to the others. We are trying to concentrate on our own job, without worrying about what our rivals are up to. The important thing is to understand in which direction we must go and how to solve our problems. The first race in Bahrain is still a very long way off. Michael fastest today? Well…it’s not exactly a novelty for him to be in that position, given everything he has won in his career.”
There is a great deal of interest in all the new items introduced this year, such as the moveable rear wing and the KERS, the latter not actually something new for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro drivers. “We have to try and understand the handling of the car as well as possible, but clearly, when it comes to the rear wing, we still don’t know how it will work in an overtaking situation,” said Felipe. “So, it is important to have a reliable car to make the most of the time available.”
Felipe left Jerez this evening and he will be back on Sunday as he is involved in a day of promotional activity at this very same track on Monday. Keeping him company will be Fernando Alonso, who replaces him at the wheel of the F150th Italia for the next two days.