It will fall to Felipe Massa to give the car that Ferrari will use in this year’s Formula 1 World Championship its track debut, while Fernando Alonso will miss the first test at Jerez and only get into the cockpit two weeks later in Barcelona.
The Brazilian will begin work on development of the new car, starting on 5 February at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, which hosts the first of three test sessions of four days duration each, to be held in the run-up to the start of the season.
Massa will stay on track until 7 February before handing over to Pedro De La Rosa, who will thus make his debut at the wheel of a Ferrari.
In the meantime and throughout all the first part of February, Fernando Alonso will intensify his physical training, in preparation for a first part of the season which, as usual will be very demanding, both because of the long distances involved between the various grands prix and because of the variety of weather conditions encountered from Melbourne to Sakhir, with Sepang and Shanghai in between.
Fernando will get behind the wheel of the fourth car of his Ferrari career for the first time on 19 February at Montmelo’s Catalunya circuit. The Spaniard will drive for three days before handing over to team-mate Massa.
The final test session, also at Montmelo from 28 February to 3 March will see Felipe and Fernando take turns on track: Thursday and Saturday for the Brazilian, Friday and Sunday for the Spaniard. This means the breakdown of test days for the Ferrari men is as follows: Massa six days, Alonso five and De La Rosa one.
De la Rosa was in Maranello on Wednesday for a seat fitting to fine tune his position in the cockpit of the new car. He has had a series of meetings with the Scuderia engineers to define his programme on the simulator, which will constitute the major part of his role as test driver.
This means that his day on track on 8 February will be very important, as it will allow both the team and the driver to work specifically on looking at the correlation between the virtual and the real experience. The work of assembling the new car goes on: yesterday the engine was fired up for the first time. (Ferrari)