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Testing: An interesting development from Ferrari. They have announced today Alonso will not take part in the first pre-season testing in Jerez. Massa will get the first 3 days, and De La Rosa will drive on the Friday. The explanation from Ferrari for giving De la Rosa some track time is, “it will allow both the team and the driver to work specifically on looking at the correlation between the virtual and the real experience. The work of assembling the new car goes on: yesterday the engine was fired up for the first time.”
Then in the first test at Montmelo, Fernando will drive the car for the first 3 days and Massa on the last. The final test will be shared. This means Massa will get 6 days, Alonso 5 and De La Rosa just the one.
Before those cynics amongst suggest Fernando is having an extended holiday, Ferrari explain “throughout all the first part of February, Fernando Alonso will intensify his physical training, in preparation for a first part of the season which, as usual will be very demanding, both because of the long distances involved between the various Grands Prix and because of the variety of weather conditions encountered from Melbourne to Sakhir, with Sepang and Shanghai in between.” Phew.
I’m not sure our friend Bisignani has learned what a full stop is for in English yet.
I’m not aware that this kind of arrangement has been used in modern times since testing has been restricted. The car does develop a lot between day 1 and the 12th and final day. It could be this gives Massa the opportunity to provide some unique feedback of significant changes to the feel of the car over the 15 days between his final drive in Jerez and first drive at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Valencia: Just a few months ago, it was widely reported that Barcelona would be sharing the Spanish GP with Valencia on an alternating annual basis. Germany and Hockenheim have done this for some time successfully, though discussions taking place over where the German GP will be held this year are a mess.
The arrangement was no surprise, as the Circuit de Catalunya - al la Melbourne – has engaged in an annual ‘woe are we’ – hand wringing and turning out of the pockets – media campaign over the hosting fee they pay to FOM.
TJ13 reported that Barcelona appeared to take a unilateral decision to cancel this arrangement to the surprise of their southern neighbours. (TJ13 articles ‘Barca shafts Valencia‘ and ‘Valencia surprised..‘) I’m not sure the full story of this reversal has come out and it may be the shadowy hands of FOM were pulling some strings.
Spanish newspaper La Marca reports today that parts of the track are derelict and falling into ruin. “Light boxes completely ransacked, manholes covers stolen from sewers and street lamps with the cabling missing.” Les than a year ago, we saw some of the finest driving from a Spanish driver, ever in F1 around this track.
Alonso went on to take the win, following Vettel’s retirement with alternator problems. He was unusually emotional following his victory and said, “The emotions are unique because for Spain it is a difficult time with economic problems. People made sacrifices to come here, and yesterday we felt sad because we did not give them what they wanted.”
The win was the 29th of Fernando’s career and at the time moved him into the championship lead, 20 points ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber.
Yet now the glamour has now gone, the local residents complain that there is no security and that thieves have taken everything that was worth anything. The access tunnel through which all the teams equipment travelled through to reach the paddock is completely flooded. And a bridge that cost 2m euro’s is now only used by homeless to spend the night.
Here’s a 4 minute edit of Fernando’s drive…apologies for the sub-title of the producer…his frustration is also misplaced.