Ferrari have been giving a little back to their roots recently and have run four Italian motor-sportsmen in the past week at two test sessions. At their Mugello test track the 2008 constructors champions allowed MotoGP star Valentino Rossi another go in their Formula One machine, which of course resulted in a fair amount of press attention. And earlier this week the top-three finishers in the Italian F3 championship all got the chance to experience the F2008 for themselves thanks to a joint initiative between Ferrari and the Italian governing body CSAI .
Mirko Bortolotti, Edoardo Piscopo and Salvatore Cicatelli each had the chance to drive the Ferrari F2008 at Fiorano yesterday; a prize for doing so well in the Italian Formula 3 championship this year. Although the day was shared among the three young stars, F3 champion Bortolotti managed to beat the lap record and toured Fiorano in an impressive 59.111s after completing just 40 laps.
I was able to get comfortable very quickly because this car keeps giving you confidence.
I think I made a small mistake during my best lap at the hairpin, and lost a few tenths. But it’s fine anyway, it was a unique experience and an immense joy. Mirko Bortolotti.
Edoardo Piscopo managed a time of 60.336s while Salvatore Cicatelli lapped the circuit in 61.243s. Ferrari team manager Luca Baldisserri was impressed by the three young drivers.
We were really impressed by the speed of these guys. They are really good while the circumstances weren’t so good but they didn’t commit any error at all. They have great potential and that shows that Formula 3 is a great school for young drivers. Luca Baldisserri.
Valentino Rossi’s test also went well, driving the championship-winning car last week at Ferrari’s other circuit, Mugello. Rossi (pictured) lapped the track about four seconds shy of Rubens Barrichello’s record, although the Brazilian managed that feat with a different car a few years back. The nearest comparable time was set by Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer earlier in the season, and Rossi was just two seconds from that.
Analyzing the times I posted in Fiorano, here and in Valencia, we can say that with the right plan and a lot of dedication I could have become a good Formula One driver. Valentino Rossi.
Rossi’s test came after winning his sixth MotoGP title, and although the Italian has tested for Ferrari in the past, he no longer feels that Formula One would be viable.
It’s like the old days of Ferrari when every time a new driver gets in the car we get a press release saying that he broke the lap record. Clearly no-one told the press office these were only kids getting their first shot in F1 and not new race drivers.
Are they seriously saying that someone in his first run in an F1 car in November is faster than Massa and Raikkonen? Sign him up immediately because if that car was close to legal this a new Senna.
The thing about lap records is that they should naturally be broken. As the cars get quicker, the records fall. It’s only been since the FIA started to control speeds that the records aren’t getting broken as much. I still remember the day when Coulthard managed 221.5mph at the old Hockenheim in 1998. You don’t hear of those speeds anymore.
I do wonder if this is indicative that the learning process is quickening for single-seater drivers and that anything between F3 and F1 is redundant as far as learning how to drive fast laps goes. Maybe this, combined with GP2’s lack of special talents this year, will get team bosses looking more seriously at the different F3 formulae – especially since Italian F3 doesn’t have the same reputation as the F3 Euroseries or British F3 at the moment.