Davide Rigon has admitted that the opening day of the Young Driver test at Silverstone was as much about him getting re-acquainted with an F1 car as it was meaningful production for the Ferrari team.
With Fernando Alonso not included in the Scuderia's line-up for the three-day session at the 'home of British motorsport' – despite performing an apparent U-turn on his initial reluctance to take part when it was confirmed that the team could use the session to develop parts for the F138 – Rigon and Felipe Massa will shoulder the responsibility of carrying the workload, and it was the Italian behind the wheel for the opening day (Wednesday).
The former GP2 hopeful and double Superleague Formula champion completed 76 laps of the grand prix layout as Ferrari got through its planned opening day programme, most of which focused on aerodynamic evaluations in weather conditions expected to mirror those at the next round of the world championship, in Hungary, next weekend. His best lap of 1min 34.874secs was good enough for only ninth on the timesheets but, as Rigon explained, out-and-out performance was not the aim of the day.
“We got through a lot of work today, starting off mainly with me adapting to the car because, apart from a filming day in Barcelona, I hadn't driven it on track,” the 26-year old commented, “I had raced here at Silverstone in a GT car before, but F1 is a completely different world!
“We weren't looking at the lap times, but worked mainly on acquiring data from comparing different aero configurations, which is a very important part of my work on the simulator. Compared to last year's test at Magny-Cours, the demands are different and the programme is longer, but I am happy to deal with this responsibility and I am grateful to the team for the faith they have shown in my efforts. I really hope it is of use to them.”
In light of the dramas seen at the British Grand Prix three weeks ago, Rigon reported that there had been 'no particular problems with the tyres', although he admitted that the team hadn't done 'any particularly long runs' on which to push the latest iteration of Pirelli's PZero.
The Italian continues testing for the Scuderia today (Thursday), and only hands over to Massa on the final morning. Ferrari says it has taken the decision so that Rigon can 'work on the technical development of the car', but admits that cockpit time to Massa will not only be important to assess the latest Pirellis, but also to get the Brazilian back in the groove after his rather short German GP outing.