ROSSI IMPRESSES IN FORMULA ONE DEBUT Jerez, Spain - December 2, 2009 - Joining the BMW Sauber F1 Team at the Jerez Circuit in Spain yesterday, Alexander completed his first Formula 1 test with a fast lap of 1:20.227, set on lap 32 of 82 laps for...
ROSSI IMPRESSES IN FORMULA ONE DEBUT
Jerez, Spain - December 2, 2009 - Joining the BMW Sauber F1 Team at the Jerez Circuit in Spain yesterday, Alexander completed his first Formula 1 test with a fast lap of 1:20.227, set on lap 32 of 82 laps for the day, logging 365 kilometers.
"Driving in Formula 1 has been my goal since I started racing," says Alexander. "Today I took a significant step forward by gaining the experience of driving the F1 car and working with the BMW Sauber team in gathering test data and development. The raw performance of the car is amazing. I was very pleased with my transition from the International Formula Master car and GP2 testing and felt I was well prepared both mentally and physically."
Rossi, 7th overall on the day, having earned the BMW Sauber test, by winning the Formula BMW World Finals in Mexico City this past December. Alexander worked through a planned team testing program, driving the BMW F1.09-07 on a modest size fuel load each session. This was the same chassis that Nick Heidfeld drove to fifth place in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
"When I drove out of the pits for the first time, it was a special moment," Alexander added. "I immediately felt comfortable in the car and my quickest times were faster than Heidfeld posted when he tested in Jerez last March."
Throughout much of the afternoon, Alexander worked with the team on extensive aerodynamic testing, which meant running the car in a controlled mode to provide speed consistency. After gathering the required data for the engineers, the team then shifted their focus towards the car set-up to increase Alexander's performance on track. With only an hour remaining in the afternoon session, Alexander did not have the opportunity to drive the F1.09 with a light fuel load and as more rubber was laid down the car developed an increasing amount of understeer.
"The team and I were a little caught off guard by how much grip the track had gained," commented Rossi. "Every time out on new tires the understeer became worse with the rear dominating the front and we did not have enough time to sort it out. Being competitive I am a bit disapointed finishing 7th today as I always want to be at the top. However it was great to be able to help the team with their aero testing program and believe I delivered a good performance of myself today on and off track, making no mistakes and lapping consistently. I look forward to getting back into an F1 car and anxious to see what the future holds."
BMW SAUBER QUOTES
Beat Zehnder BMW Sauber Team Manager
"Alexander did a good job today. He made no mistakes and got straight down to business. I spent most of the day driving around the outside of the circuit watching him and he showed a lot of confidence in the car."
Thomas Hunsicker, BMW Sauber Test Engineer
"We were very impressed with Alexander today. He got down to a competitive lap time very quickly and his feedback was good. He didn't make a mistake and by the afternoon it felt like a normal test day and he did not give us the impression as a rookie. He was able to help us with some aerodynamic work as well, so it was a useful day for the team."