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Ferrari to use Alonso, Massa at Mugello test

Determined to rein in the likes of McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes, Ferrari will use both its regular drivers at next month's Mugello group test.
While early headlines have been stolen by the young hopefuls being given a chance to join the F1 fray at next week's Mugello group test, struggling Ferrari has confirmed that it will stick with its regular race pairing for the three days.

Despite having Jules Bianchi as its official test and reserve driver, and having drafted in former F1 star Mika Salo for his views, the Scuderia has announced that it will field both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in what amounts to a 'home' run for the team.

The Prancing Horse is not alone in calling on its regular pilots for the test – Caterham and Lotus have already confirmed that Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen, and Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean respectively will play some part in the three-day session, although both teams will also take the opportunity to field other drivers, namely Rodolfo Gonzalez and Jerome d'Ambrosio. McLaren originally planned to use regular test pilots Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey, but the team's poor showing in Bahrain has led to suggestions that Lewis Hamilton may also attend.

Alonso will conduct the bulk of Ferrari's programme, with team-mate Massa only running for the middle day of three at what will be the first in-season group test for several years. It is the fourth test of the season, deliberately scheduled for a non-F1 race track after the teams previously used Jerez and Barcelona in the run-up to the first round in Melbourne.

Like Maranello, Ferrari owns Mugello, but has been prevented from testing there in recent years by ever more restrictive controls on extra-curricular running. May's test will be the first time since 2007 that more than one team has tested at the same time at the facility, following Toro Rosso's participation in a two-team test alongside the Scuderia. No British team has tested at the Tuscan venue – better known as a MotoGP favourite - since April 2005, when BAR joined Ferrari and STR predecessor Minardi.

Ferrari's decision to employ both Alonso and Massa is no doubt driven by its desire to get back on terms with the likes of McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull, who currently lead the way performance-wise. Each has won a race in 2012 and, while Ferrari claimed the Malaysian GP in tricky conditions, the Maranello concern would be the first to admit that there are serious flaws with its current car.

A new package of developments is due for the first European race of the year, at Barcelona the week after Mugello, and needs to work for the Scuderia to have any hope of contending for titles.

Massa, too, could use the seat time after a series of disappointing performances that have yielded just two points this season. Although he has shown more potential of late, his place in the team has been called into question on more than one occasion, but it would appear that rumours of possible replacement Sergio Perez getting a run with the team at Mugello are wide of the mark.

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22.04.2012- Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F2012 leads Paul di Resta (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM05
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21.04.2012.- Qualifying, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
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April 25, 2012 8:08 PM

walrus. i agree with both you and sunny. where sunny is confused ( i think) is that he is refering to weight balance, which is controlled by fia. but as you said the driving "balance" or "feel" is different. a lighter car, even with the same weight ratio, will handle differently to a heavy car with the same weight ratio. as weight comes off the car, springing, grip and even camber etc can change. that is why the cars test in all states in fp.

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