Luca Badoer didn’t have the best return to F1, propping up the times sheets after the first session and only making it to 18th in the second.
But the Ferrari driver insisted he was not worried about his performance – and this is, after all, only practice. Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said:
Given his situation ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ a long time away from racing, an unknown circuit ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ the first day can be considered a positive experience for Luca. Clearly this weekend is something of a test session for him and that is how it must be judged.
I am happy with the way things went today. I expected a difficult day and so it was. It was vital that I did not make any serious mistakes so that I could get through the programme we had established. Now we can begin to work on the car set-up to try and adapt it to my driving style.
The team has not set me any specific goal for this weekend and I am pleased about that consideration because it is important I return to having full confidence in the car and with the world of the Grand Prix weekend. I am also grateful to Michael who wanted to be here this weekend. It is important for me to be able to count on his support, especially from the human point of view and of course, also in terms of technical matters.
Badoer was 1.3 seconds off Kimi Raikkonen’s pace in the second timed session. Inevitably Raikkonen will be the focus of the team’s efforts to hold on to third place in the constructors’ championship as it looks like, for this weekend at least, Badoer isn’t going to be challenging for points.
Ferrari have said Badoer will remain in the car until Massa returns. In which case there must come a point at which making allowances for Badoer’s return to the cockpit stops and the demand for results begins. After all, Jaime Alguersuari beat his team mate on his F1 debut at the last race meeting after no testing at all.
Here’s some pictures of Badoer’s first appearance in an F1 cockpit at a race meeting since 1999: