Ferrari test driver, Luca Badoer, took part in the media meet at Madonna di Campiglio, as part of the International Ski Meeting 2004. Badoer is now in his seventh year as a Ferrari test driver and the Venetian was asked to sum up his ...
Ferrari test driver, Luca Badoer, took part in the media meet at Madonna di Campiglio, as part of the International Ski Meeting 2004. Badoer is now in his seventh year as a Ferrari test driver and the Venetian was asked to sum up his experience.Ferrari," revealed Badoer. "We have achieved some great results and I can only be proud to have been part of it all. I don't want to claim any particular merit though as at Ferrari we work as a team and so everyone, without exception, deserves credit. The best moment was, without a doubt, the first world title. I have been through some trying times: at Barcelona in 2000 I broke three vertebrae in an accident and only found out 15 days later. It took months to recover."
The role of a Formula 1 test driver is particularly important at this time of the year because tests are carried out on the new car. The F1 championships will begin again on 7 March and Badoer has been assigned the task of shaking down the 2004 car.
"During the winter tests we always try new things, from aerodynamics to the engine and other things. The parts are all derived from last year's car but, obviously, are not all the same. Naturally, we are working a lot on the engine as this year's regulations allow us to use only one engine for the whole three days of the Grand Prix weekend. We are also working on the tyres because there is a lot of competition out there."
Test drivers have had a very busy time since the new regulations came into force. "Sometimes we work from nine in the morning to six in the evening, without a break. When we are on our home circuits we work even longer because we stop for meetings and technical briefings. We always have to concentrate and it is hard to always be alert. At times our job is more intense than a driver's during a Grand Prix but we test drivers don't have to deal with the stress of competition. The greatest satisfaction is seeing the data that, after an intense week of testing, shows improvements in lap times and for each sector."
Williams-BMW seemed very fast during the session held over the past few days at Jerez de la Frontera. What did Badoer make of this given his experience? "The new season will be as demanding as it was in 2003. The era of absolute domination is over; with the new rules everything has changed. I think I prefer things like this, at least it is more interesting for the fans."
With Maserati's return to competition, there has been talk of Badoer making the switch to become a House of the Trident driver. "I worked in helping to develop the Maserati Trofeo and also the new 'light' version. It's all hearsay so at the moment I am focusing on the Formula 1 championship because it's my job. I don't think about anything else."
And what will Luca Badoer do when he no longer pulls on the test driver's overalls? "I have a great relationship with Ferrari, from a technical and a personal point of view," responded the Italian driver. "Working for Ferrari is the ultimate for me. I like driving Formula 1 cars and now I can be at the wheel of the best F1 in the world. I prefer being a test driver for Ferrari than drive for another team. I will go on doing this job for as long as I can."