• Jerez Test, Day Four

De la Rosa impressed with Ferrari despite gearbox issue

ESPN Staff
February 8, 2013 « Sauber praises 'excellent' Gutierrez | Williams tyre results 'compromised' at Jerez »
Pedro de la Rosa's day nearly ended early with a fire after two laps © Getty Images

Pedro de la Rosa said his debut as a Ferrari test driver was full of mixed emotions after a fire threatened to end his day early.

De la Rosa suffered a gearbox failure in the morning which brought the car to a smoky halt after just two laps. There was fire damage to the bodywork and internals, but Ferrari managed to fix the car for the afternoon and de la Rosa completed 51 laps in total.

"When I stepped out of the car on the installation lap when the gearbox broke I was not feeling very happy," he said. "You wait for an opportunity like this for all your life and then suddenly after a few corners you have to step out of the car. It was not clear if we could continue or not because some parts had caught fire, so it was not looking that bright.

"I must say it was mixed emotions. I was very excited and then had a low, but the mechanics did a fantastic job to turn the car around and we had a sensible afternoon. That's critical because of how expensive one day of testing is now, you have to make use of it. Mixed emotions but very happy at the end when I could put in competitive laps in the conditions that we were running. It will help as well because there is a scientific approach behind these test, it is not like just throwing Pedro in the car. We have a programme behind it and this is the good thing about it."

De la Rosa said the F138 had all the traits of a fast car but warned against reading too much into the times after the first test.

"I know when it's a good or bad car, yes, but it doesn't really matter because the most important thing is how much it will develop until Australia," he said. "It doesn't really matter where you are here, it's irrelevant. People have been using soft tyres, medium tyres and hard tyres on low and high fuel, so it doesn't really matter. We have a good pace, that's all I can say. The car is sensitive to changes and has a good front-to-rear balance and we just have to work to improve it for Australia and also to understand the tyres, which is very difficult around here [at Jerez]."