Ferrari development driver Raffaele Marciello reported that he could see the steps the Scuderia has taken to become the main challenger to Mercedes in this year's F1 world championship after spending a day with the new SF15-T in Barcelona.

Just two days after the Spanish Grand Prix weekend closed, and a little more than that since he crammed in both a Sauber FP1 appearance and two GP2 Series races, Marciello was at the wheel of the latest Ferrari for the first of two days of in-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Italian's morning session saw him collecting data relating to the car's new aerodynamic package, before setting the second quickest time of 1m 26.648s behind Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.

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With 54 laps under his belt before the lunch break, Marciello then returned to the track to run through a series of set-up evaluations in the afternoon. Without improving on his morning time, he was edged out of second spot by Sauber's Marcus Ericsson but, unlike the Swede, did not get to put in a lap on the soft Pirelli rubber.

"Even though it's the first time I have driven this car, I got positive feelings
from it, as it has a lot of grip compared to the GP2 cars that I'm used to driving," the Italian reported, "I think the team has done a good job - the last time I did a test, it was in Abu Dhabi last year and there's definitely been a lot of progress made since then.

"We will now analyse the large quantity of data we gathered on the new aerodynamic package used last Sunday to further improve our performance. For me, it was a nice feeling to get into a Ferrari, especially as an Italian, but you must always keep your feet on the ground and concentrate on what you are doing."

The team's official reserve driver, Esteban Gutierrez, will take over from Marciello on Wednesday, with the Italian switching to Sauber for a second day of running.