Frustrated in his efforts to land a full-time F1 ride for the 2011 season, double Superleague Formula champion Davide Rigon made do with his first outing for Ferrari at the weekend.
The talented, but under-funded, Italian was snapped up by the Scuderia over the winter to bolster its testing strength alongside GP2 frontrunner Jules Bianchi, and made his Prancing Horse debut at Vairano on Sunday, putting the newly-rechristened Ferrari 150° Italia through a straight-line test ahead of this week's return to Barcelona for the final group session of the winter.
Even then, Rigon was made to wait for his first F1 run, having been due to drive an F60 at Fiorano last Monday. However, on that occasion, poor weather meant that the test was cancelled and left the Superleague favourite to cool his heels for another week before finally getting into the action at Vairano, where he conducted an aerodynamic test on the already-promising 2011 car.
Although the young Italian will now see regular drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso take over development duties at the Circuit de Catalunya, the Vairano outing will be seen as a massive step in his bid to gain F1 experience as the majority of his work on developing the car usually takes place in Ferrari's simulator. Rigon was briefly courted by HRT boss Colin Kolles but, without having the sponsorship necessary to secure a seat at the Spanish minnow, he faces a return to Superleague whilst continuing to carry out testing duties for Ferrari unless he can raise the funds to join one of the top flight's main feeder series.
"I continued working with my trainer to try to be in as good shape as can be, just in case the chance to drive in F1 came along," he revealed recently, "And not just for that, as it is really important to be in my best possible shape for the 2011 season.
"This year, I'm looking at making the GP2 Series, but I still have not found all of the budget so, to be honest, I have some time that I am available to Scuderia Ferrari for the development of their cars, mainly on the simulator. As an Italian, and a racing driver, it is good to work with Ferrari."