Raikkonen makes Ferrari track debut

Kimi Raikkonen finally made his track debut with Ferrari on January 23rd, at the Vallelunga circuit near Rome. Although the Finn spent a day with his new squad during December testing at Jerez he was only an observer due to contractual ties with former team McLaren. Ferrari had originally planned to test at Mugello this week but switched due to bad weather forecasts.

Kimi Raikkonen.
Photo by Ferrari Media Center.

The conditions weren't much better at Vallelunga, with a windy day and occasional rain. Raikkonen was behind the wheel of the 2006 248 F1 and spent his time acclimatizing to the car and the Bridgestone tyres. He set a best time of 1:15.226, seven tenths off teammate Felipe Massa, and completed 39 laps.

Massa was in charge of the new F2007 and clocked 1:14.493 and accumulated 74 laps. His focus was development of the car and data collection. Raikkonen will reportedly have to wait until later in the week to try the F2007 for himself. Both drivers are scheduled to continue work at Vallelunga on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, McLaren is due to test at Valencia for three days from January 24th with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton on duty. Most other teams won't be back on the test track until next week, with Valencia once again likely to be the venue that sees the most action.

Also, it's a busy week for launches; on the 24th Renault will present its championship contender, the R27, in Amsterdam then Honda's RA107 will appear at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on the 24th/25th. Red Bull will round off the week on Friday 26th by launching the RB3, likewise at Barcelona.