Ferrari claim that there was a crowd of over 15,000 people at the Mugello Circuit today to watch Fernando Alonso top the timesheets on the first day of this three-day test.
However, wet weather was the dominant feature of the day, and no driver completed more than 50 laps.
Alonso set his best lap, a 1:22.444, just before lunch, when the track was drying from the morning rain. The Spaniard completed just 46 laps, with an afternoon deluge preventing the teams from doing any meaningful testing mileage.
Mark Webber, was second fastest for Red Bull, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso. Jerome D’Ambrosio was fourth for Lotus, who announced this evening that Kimi Raikkonen will not appear at this test.
Both Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were due to test for Mercedes today. Rosberg took advantage of the less wet conditions in the morning to complete 49 laps – the most of any driver today. He finished fifth on the timesheets whilst Schumacher, compromised by the heavy rain, did not set a time in the afternoon. Nevertheless, the seven-time world champion did enjoy the reception he received from the watching Tifosi.
Kamui Kobayashi did well to complete 48 laps for Sauber, finishing the day sixth. Oliver Turvey got the best of the running at McLaren, comfortably completing more laps than fellow test driver Gary Paffett and finishing seventh.
Jules Bianchi, the Force India test driver, was eighth, ahead of Rodolfo Gonzalez, who was in the Caterham for today. Charles Pic completed 45 laps for Marussia, and managed to complete a faster lap than Williams test driver Valterri Bottas.
HRT are the only team not testing in Mugello this week.
The full results from Day One in Mugello can be found here.
Mugello Test Day One: Selected Driver and Team Quotes
Fernando Alonso: “It's a shame about the rain, which complicated the running of this first day of testing and a shame for the spectators who deserved to see more of a show. We had a pretty busy work programme, but we only managed to get through a part of it. Therefore, it's impossible to give a serious evaluation, especially as we did so little dry running. I can only say that, for me, it was a pleasure to be driving at this track again: the first and only other time was back in 2001, when I was testing for Minardi. It's a spectacular track and it would be nice to be able to race on it!”
Felipe Massa takes over testing duties at Ferrari for day two of this three day test.
Mark Webber: “Obviously, the weather wasn't great today, so we didn't get to do much running in the dry. Really, we only got one decent run on the slicks. Then it rained after lunch and with limited sets of wets available, you can't do that much. We're hoping for better over the next couple of days.
“It's an important test. We have a lot of information to gather and, while today didn't quite work out as expected, I'm optimistic that over the course of the next few days we'll get the information we need.
“I have to say this is a fantastic track. It's very challenging for the driver and very quick. I don't know if we'll ever race here in the future, you never know, but to see the crowd here today was very special. A lot of people came to watch and that's great.”
Jean-Eric Vergne: “This is my first ever visit to Mugello and I have to say, despite the weather, I enjoyed my time on the circuit as it is a really fantastic track to drive. The car felt fine for the few dry laps I completed, but from a technical point of view, there is not much to say, because although we have a full programme to work through, the rain meant we will have to wait until tomorrow to start assessing some of the new elements we have brought here. At one point this morning, I went off the track; I was pushing a bit too hard, spun and got stuck, as the rear wheels were in the gravel. But there was no damage to the car.”
Vergne will be back in the car tomorrow morning, before handing it over to Daniel Ricciardo after lunch.
JÃ©rÃ´me D'Ambrosio: “It was great to finally get my hands on the E20 and I'd like to thank the team again for giving me this opportunity. It's a fantastic car and I felt confident with it straight away, especially in the dry.
“It's a real shame we've been limited by the weather today in terms of what we could achieve, but we had known for a few days that rain was forecast so it's not a big shock. We managed to complete 20 laps in both wet and dry conditions which gives me a good knowledge of the car and will help me be a better asset to the team with this experience.”
Alan Permane (Trackside Operations Director):
“It was not the most ideal day, but in spite of the weather we managed to get some useful laps on the board. Of course, it was the first taste of the E20 for JÃ©rÃ´me who was very happy with the car including his seating position and all the controls. This is important, as it means he will be much better prepared if called upon again further into the season.
“The mixed conditions, running intermediates to start and then switching to the medium compound slicks, also gives us a good base line for Romain over the next two days. We've opted for one driver for the next two days so we can make better use of the time after losing this afternoon's running.”
James Allison (Technical Director):
“We had a busy programme lined up for JÃ©rÃ´me including a fair amount of aerodynamic work, sensor measurement work and of course preparing foundations for Romain over the next two days. We've been able to do some of that work in the limited dry running that was available, but there is now a lot more we need to fit in to Wednesday and Thursday.
“The important thing is we now have base line to build on, so the next two days should be much more productive.”
Romain Grosjean will be in the Lotus for the final two days of this Mugello test. After today’s rain, the team have decided that Kimi Raikkonen will not test in Italy this week.
Nico Rosberg: “It was a good session for me this morning and a positive start to our testing programme. It’s nice to see that we have some new parts for the car and that the ongoing process of in-season developments is working well. We were able to learn some things in the wet conditions this morning which is always useful, and we picked up a few lessons.
“Mugello is an impressive track which is very fast and good fun to drive. It’s also good preparation for the next race in Barcelona with the high-speed corners. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car again on Thursday and continuing our programme.”
Michael Schumacher: “Unfortunately we were not able to achieve much productive work on the track this afternoon as the weather made it nearly impossible to drive. Therefore it’s good that we collected some data this morning so that we can prepare the car in the best possible way for tomorrow.
“This afternoon, I was literally able just go out to check if it made sense to run – which it did not – and at least I could show the spectators who were waiting in the rain a running car for some short moments. Still, it was nice being back in Mugello after so many years, and I must say it was also nice being welcomed back by the tifosi so warmly.”
Schumacher will be back in the Mercedes tomorrow, before Rosberg returns for the final day of the test on Thursday.
Jules Bianchi: “This morning we had to wait a long time for the track to dry. We did some runs on the intermediates just to check the car's systems and when the conditions improved I went back out on the dry tyres [medium] to get confident with the car and to feel the track conditions. There was a chance to do some aero checks and we got some good aero data, but it was difficult to test all the developments so that will need to be done later this week.”
Jakob Andreasen (Chief Engineer): “We expected the wet weather conditions today so we tried our best to work around them and made sure Jules was out on track when the track was at its driest. After some installation laps on the intermediates, he switched to the medium compound just before lunch and did a couple of runs to get a dry baseline and measured some of the aerodynamic pressures on the car. With the rain intensifying in the afternoon we opted to run a very limited programme and prepared the car for tomorrow.
“Jules got out towards the end of the session to do a final systems check, which leaves us well placed to maximise tomorrow when we expect much drier conditions.”
Rodolfo Gonzalez: “Despite the weather, which was obviously frustrating this afternoon, I’ve had a good day with the team here at the Mugello test. I love this track – I’ve won here in the past in International F3, so getting back out in an F1 car this morning was a great experience.
“Obviously I’d have preferred a lot more dry running, but today wasn’t about setting the fastest times I could, it was more about making sure I ran to the plan we’d set with the engineers, not making any mistakes, and continuing to learn as much as I could.
“After the morning session I was happy with my performance, particularly considering how stop / start the session was, and while the running was pretty much meaningless this afternoon it’s still been another very valuable day for me.
“Every minute I’m with the F1 team helps me develop as a driver, so even though everyone at the test was affected by today’s rain, for me this has still been another step in the right direction for my career.”
Steve Nielsen (Sporting Director): “The weather played its part today in limiting the running we had planned for Rodolfo. Despite that he still did a good, solid job for us this morning, making no mistakes and putting in consistent lap times on every run he completed.
“His is developing as a driver and we can measure his progress over the last couple of years against the data we accumulated from his previous outings with us, at the Abu Dhabi young drivers’ tests in 2010 and 2011, and in the way he conducts himself in and out of the car. He responds well to the instructions he is given and his technical feedback has improved markedly since he first drove for us in 2010, so overall we are pleased with the job he has done for us today, in what have been obviously frustrating conditions, and now we want him to take what he’s learnt back to his GP2 season with Caterham Racing and continue to develop his skills every time he is on track.”
Vitaly Petrov will be on testing duty for Caterham tomorrow.
Charles Pic: “Today it has been difficult to find any kind of rhythm as the weather was changing all the time. All running is good for us because there is always more we can learn about the car, but it will be good to spend tomorrow morning focusing more on the tyre work in the drier conditions. The aero developments look good, but there is plenty more to explore in the next two days to help us prepare for Barcelona. A short day, but useful.”
John Booth, (Team Principal): “The rain has rather intervened with our plans today and it goes without saying that we would have been a lot happier had we been able to knuckle down to our full planned programme. Nonetheless, we have seen encouraging early signs from the new aero developments and we have some data to start working with.
“We did not run the DRS or work with the tyres this morning, so we don't have any representative lap times with which to gauge the true benefit of the package. Hopefully we'll get closer to those conclusions in the next couple of days, weather permitting. Charles has done a solid job for us and the car has been working well, so we look forward to more progress from tomorrow onwards.”
Pic will be back in the Marussia tomorrow before handing the car over to Timo Glock on Thursday.
Valtteri Bottas: “It wasn't ideal weather for testing unfortunately. However, we completed some aero runs this morning when the track dried out a little and gathered some useful data. I feel we made the most out of the conditions and got as much out of the day as we could. The track is really great so it's a shame I didn't get more running in the dry.”
Mark Gillan (Chief Operations Engineer): “Unfortunately our programme was compromised by the rain today, which at one stage was heavy enough to red flag the session. Valtteri drove well in what were very difficult conditions. Despite this limited running we managed to successfully complete a number of our planned test items. Thankfully the forecast for the next two days looks better and we hope to recover some of the lost time with both Bruno and Pastor scheduled to be driving the car on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.“