Ferrari Barcelona test, day 4 report

Montmelò testing ends. Massa sets the fastest time of the session.

Montmelò testing ends. Massa sets the fastest time of the session.

Circuit: Circuit de Catalunya -- 4.655 km Driver: Felipe Massa Car: Ferrari F150th Italia Weather: air temperature 6/17o.C, track temperature 7/22 o.C. Sunny in the morning, overcast in the afternoon.

The third test session in preparation for the World Championship, for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and the other Formula 1 teams, came to an end today at the Catalunya Circuit, on the outskirts of Barcelona.

Felipe Massa was on track at the wheel of the Ferrari F150th Italia for the second consecutive day. The Brazilian worked mainly on a comparison of the various types of tyre Pirelli brought here, running with different fuel loads and with different car set-ups. Felipe covered a total of 121 laps, the quickest in a time of 1.22.625.

With the Bahrain test having been cancelled, along with the first round of the championship, both of these events scheduled to take place at the Sakhir circuit, the pre-season test programme will now be modified.

Massa on top at Montmelò: "Positive outcome"

If this had been a football match rather than a Formula 1 test, one could talk of a last gasp goal. In fact, Felipe Massa set the fastest time of the entire four days of testing when there was only less than half an hour to go to the chequered flag on this the final day. With a lap in 1.22.625, Felipe was the only one of all the various drivers who took their turn on the track these past few days to drop under the 1m 23s barrier.

"The outcome of testing up to the end of today has been positive," said Felipe. "We really did a lot of kilometres and I think our team actually completed more than anyone else. Both myself and Fernando did a real and genuine race simulation and we tried all the types of Pirelli tyre with different fuel levels. Where are we compared to the others? I don't know and until we are all doing the same things at the same time, in other words at the first race, then we won't know for certain. The Red Bull is definitely very quick and that's a fact. Today, we did a good lap time and I think we are not off the pace: however, yesterday Rosberg was quick for example and you definitely cannot rule out McLaren and some other teams."

Felipe's meeting with the media took place just moments after the official news came through that the test session and the first race at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain had both been cancelled, which means the championship will get underway in Australia on 27 March. Obviously, this was one of the most keenly discussed topics during the press meeting. "The programme involved going to Bahrain for the race as well as the test, but I think this is the right decision because the situation there is very serious. If there is just the slightest risk, it is better not to go, but the most important thing is that the situation in Bahrain calms down to what it was before and that everything is peaceful again," commented Felipe. You can have a Grand Prix for the fans to bring them a bit of light relief, but I don't think this is the right moment for the people of Bahrain to host a Formula 1 race. It's a shame we cannot start the championship there, because I have always felt really good in this country: the people are very welcoming and pleasant and apart from that, I have always gone very well at the Sakhir circuit. Let's hope we can go back there soon."

The other main topic, as it has been throughout all the eleven days of testing, is the behaviour of the Pirelli tyres. As things stand now, this is the Ferrari man's assessment. "It's easy to predict there will be more pit stops compared to recent years. Degradation is higher and it's definitely not easy to look after the tyres. It's true they give good grip, especially on the softer tyres, while the medium and hard are not so good in this respect, although their degradation is similar to the others. From what we have seen so far, it means the race strategies could be very different to previous seasons."

The fourth and final test session has been rescheduled for the 8 to 11 March, again at the Catalunya Circuit: it falls to Felipe to drive the Ferrari F150th Italia for the first two days, before Fernando Alonso takes over to round off the test.

-source: ferrari

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Felipe Massa
Teams Ferrari , McLaren
Tags barcelona, ferrari