Pedro de la Rosa’s debut as a Ferrari test driver did not go as planned and the veteran will always remember the day as one packed with mixed emotions as the F138 caught fire early on during his first run, but eventually he managed to get out and do some serious lapping in the team’s 2013 challenger.
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.”
For De la Rosa, veteran of 105 starts with Arrows, Jaguar, McLaren, Sauber and HRT, it was his first stint at the wheel of a Ferrari F1 car, “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.”
He added, “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.