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Alonso to skip first test

ESPN Staff
January 24, 2013 « Important for Mercedes to have a strong leader - Hamilton | 'No problems' for Kubica at DTM test »
Felipe Massa will test the new Ferrari before Fernando Alonso © Press Association
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Fernando Alonso will not take part in the first week of winter testing at Jerez in early February, leaving the initial work on the 2013 Ferrari to Felipe Massa and test driver Pedro de la Rosa.

The new car will be unveiled on February 1 before heading to Jerez for four days of testing from February 5-7. Massa will drive the car for the first three days of the test before handing over to de la Rosa for the final day in order to give him a taste of the car on track to compare to the simulator.

Ferrari said de la Rosa's day in the car will be "very important" as it "will allow both the team and the driver to work specifically on looking at the correlation between the virtual and the real experience".

Meanwhile, Alonso will continue his winter training regime before returning to the track for the first three days of the second test in Barcelona. Massa will drive the final day of the second test before the pair split the final test by driving alternate days.

Overall, Massa will spend six days in the car before the first race, Alonso five days and de la Rosa one. The team has also confirmed that the engine was fired up for the first time on Wednesday.