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2013-01-25 08:40

COOL RUNNINGS Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso (right) and Felipe Massa pose on a Ferrari F2012 during a Ducati and Ferrari annual media gathering in Madonna di Campiglio on January 17, 2013. Image: AFP

PARIS, France - Former F1 champion Fernando Alonso will skip Ferrari's first round of pre-season testing scheduled for Jerez in February.

Alonso's absence will leave Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa to handle the initial tests in the team's new car -- to be unveiled on March 1 at Ferrari's headquarters in Maranello - at the Spanish circuit from February 5-8.

FIRST RUN AT CATALUNYA

Massa will take the wheel for the first three days of testing before handing over to former McLaren and HRT driver Pedro de la Rosa, who joined Ferrari between race seasons as a test driver.

Alonso finished three points shy of 2012's title-winner Sebastian Vettel. He will get his first run out in the new model at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on February 19.

Alonso and Massa will then alternate drives for the third and final tests from February 28 to March 2, also in Barcelona, before the cars are shipped to Australia ahead of the season's opening 2013 GP in Melbourne on March 17.

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