Ferrari has sought to brush away speculation of tension between lead-driver Fernando Alonso and the Scuderia team, as it approaches the second pre-season test of 2013 in Barcelona this week.
The Spaniard, who missed the first test in Jerez, is described by the team as being “.. ready to slip into the cockpit of the F138 and benefit from all the work of Felipe and Pedro in Andalusia.”
Alonso’s 2012 season extended late into December, picking up again in early-January at Ferrari’s pre-season warm-up event in Madonna di Campiglio (‘Wrooom’) – meanwhile the 2012 World Champion, Sebastian Vettel, took a six-week holiday to recharge for the season ahead.
It is rumoured that Alonso’s absence from Jerez was a message from the former champion to his team that they cannot work him that hard again. The Scuderia has presented a more cheerful reasoning , “..Fernando has therefore maximized the time available and tackled the task with great dedication, performing a focused physical preparation worthy of the best Olympic athlete by alternating between gym sessions, running and biking.”
While the driving at Jerez was split between Felipe Massa and new test driver, Pedro de la Rosa, Massa will sit out this week’s four-day test at Barcelona. de la Rosa was quoted after the first test as saying “.. the Ferrari simulator needs a lot of work” comparing it with McLaren’s which he said was “.. a few years ahead ..” of other teams. It is thought that investing more time in de la Rosa during pre-season testing should pay dividends once he’s back in Maranello on the simulator.
Ferrari are expecting a busy week in Barcelona with the first on-track appearance in 2013 of Alonso. The Spanish fans are expected to flock to the circuit to see their hero in action, creating an unusually noisy buzz for testing.