Ferrari’s Felipe Massa has ended the first day of F1’s second pre-season test fastest, beating Sauber’s rookie Mexican Sergio Perez by 0.77 seconds at Spanish circuit Jerez.
Massa spent much of the day at the top of timesheets to continue Ferrari’s strong testing form. 2010 title contender Mark Webber ended the day third fastest for Red Bull, just a few hundredths slower than the impressive Perez.
Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a successful first run in McLaren’s new MP4-26. The 2008 champ completed 58 laps in the car, ending the day a 1.2 seconds shy of pacesetter Massa in fifth. Toro Rosso reserve Daniel Ricciardo was fourth whilst the team’s regular runner Jaime Alguersuari was sixth.
As well as Hamilton’s McLaren two other cars ran for the first time today, with Adrian Sutil completing 28 laps in the new Force India and Timo Glock running 42 laps for Virgin. They ended the seventh and 11th respectively. Williams Pastor Maldonado ended the day at the bottom of the timesheets following rear-wing issues that prevented the Venezuelan from running.
In other news Renault boss Eric Boullier has stated that former Williams and BMW Sauber racer Nick Heidfeld can guarantee himself the job of Robert Kubica’s replacement at the team should he impress over the weekend. The German will run for Renault on either Saturday or Sunday, with Boullier stating that “Nick is here to be evaluated. Once we have finished our assessment of him, if we are happy with Nick, then we keep Nick.” Should the team decide Heidfeld is unsuitable for the role Tonio Liuzzi and Pedro de la Rosa are also likely to get tests, though reserve driver Bruno Senna has not yet been ruled out of contention.
Sticking with Kubica, all of the teams ran today with get well wishes for the injured Pole, with ‘Szybkiego powrotu do zdrowia Robert’ – Polish for Get well soon Robert – printed on each machine. A nice touch.
And finally, Ferrari have been forced to change the name of it’s 2011 car after American motor giants Ford threatened to sue the Scuderia over the use of the F150 moniker. The team chose the name to celebrate 150 years of Italian unity, but Ford, who build an F-150 branded truck that enjoys particular popularity in the United States, believed Ferrari were breaking trademark rules by using the name.
The Italian squad have thus changed the car’s designation to ‘F150th Italia’ and, in a letter sent to Ford, Ferrari reassured the manufacturer that they needed have worried as “there will definitely not be a production run of single-seaters.”
Testing continues tomorrow.