Alonso tops rain disrupted opening day of F1 testing at Mugello
1 May, 2012
May.1 (Apex & GMM) Fernando Alonso ended the first day of testing at the Ferrari owned Mugello circuit in the Tuscan hills fastest of all, but rain severely disrupted proceedings.
Tuesday was a new experience for many F1 regulars; a rare in-season test on an unfamiliar track. Some teams wanted the three-day session to take place at Barcelona, saving money ahead of the Spanish grand prix at the same venue, but Ferrari pushed hard – reportedly even waiving the circuit rental fees – for its circuit in Tuscany to get the nod.
The day did not start well weather-wise, but there were plenty of spectators – reportedly 15,000 F1 fans ventured out in the rain.
On duty for Red Bull was Mark Webber, who had been to the venue before, “I once did a sports car race here. It’s a bit too fast [for F1].”
Webber ended the day second quickest on a circuit which, of all the current grand prix circuits, is slower only than Monza.
Nico Rosberg, in the Mercedes, gave Mugello a big thumbs up. “1 to 10, I’d give it 8.5,” said Chinese GP winner who completed more laps than any other driver on the day.
It is an important test for Ferrari, but Alonso told La Gazzetta dello Sport that Mugello and then Barcelona next weekend will not make or break their championship bid.
“We need to catch up race after race,” said the Spaniard. “If we do poorly in Barcelona, it doesn’t mean our season is over.”
Alonso was fastest at the end of the morning session and, with rain bucketing down in the afternoon, he remained tops for the rest of the day and only ventured out late in the day much to the delight of the tifosi who braved the conditions..
Michael Schumacher was one of the big losers, in terms of track time, as he took over the cockpit of the Mercedes AMG W03 from Rosberg for the afternoon session but only managed five timed laps in the heavy rain. An afternoon wasted for the seven time world champion.
Suffering a similar fate was McLaren reserve Gary Paffett who took over cockpit duty from Oliver Turvey in the afternoon. He only managed four timed laps.
McLaren is the only team whose regular drivers – Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, will not be not present at the test. Their reserve drivers have been tasked with testing duties in Italy.
Other reserves getting F1 seat time were Jerome D’Ambrosio (Lotus), Oliver Turvey (McLaren), Jules Bianchi (Force India), Rodolfo Gonzalez (Caterham) and Valtteri Bottas (Williams).
Subbed by AJN.
Day 1 Mugello Testing – Best lap times
|2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:23.648||+1.204||24|
|3||Jean Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:23.891||+1.447||32|
|8||Jules Bianchi||Force India||1:25.475||+3.031||19|