Ferrari F138 - 'Hopeful One'
FERRARI'S TITLE HOPES LIES WITH F138: Above shows Ferrari's F138 car which the team hopes will carrying them to its first championship victory since 2008.
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
JEREZ, Spain - Ferrari's president Luca di Montezemolo will have more than a moment's hesitation in answering his mobile if Felipe Massa calls him today (January 5 2013).
The memory of 2012, when the F1 driver called from Jerez with first impressions of his new car, is still painful...
"President, it's a disaster here," was the gist.
"I wouldn't wish a call like that on my worst enemy," Montezemolo said at the launch of his team's 2013 car at Maranello, Italy.
F2012 - BORN UGLY
The F2012 was born ugly and proved hard to handle but it also became a winner in the hands of Fernando Alonso who took the title battle with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel down to the wire in Brazil in November 2012.
Montezemolo has dubbed the new car "La Speranzosa" (The Hopeful One) - with the main hope being that it proves competitive from day one and brings the team's first championship since the Constructors' in 2008.
Alonso, a double champion hoping that the far better-looking F138 will take him to a third title, will not be present when the new cars hit the track in earnest for the first of three pre-season tests.
He is not due to be behind the wheel until Barcelona on February 19 2013. Massa and tester Pedro de la Rosa will conduct initial testing.
Alonso said: "The first test is a general test in which one checks that all the components are put together properly. Testing in Barcelona is more useful for measuring performance as well as being a circuit on which we race."
WEBBER CHARGES FOR BULLS
Massa begged to differ and some outside Ferrari have wondered if there might be other reasons: "The first test is very useful to understand the direction in which we should go and where we need to do the most work."
Mark Webber will be first in the driving seat for champions Red Bull, having two days in the RB9 before triple champion Vettel takes his turn for the last two. Vettel said: "I'm looking forward to driving. Testing is limited for us, I think I'd be happy if Mark would decide to wait a bit longer. I don't think you miss a lot if you don't run in Jerez but we are clearly interested to drive there, to get to know the car."
PEREZ FOR McLAREN
Jenson Button, paired with new team mate Sergio Perez, is scheduled to be first in the new McLaren with Perez following on February 6. The opening test will also see Lewis Hamilton's first outing in the Mercedes. William's new driver, rookie Valtteri Bottas, will make his debut in F1.
There will be other less familiar names in 2013, with Max Chilton at Marussia and Giedo van der Garde at Caterham paired with Charles Pic. Sauber has Esteban Gutierrez stepping up from his reserve role in an all-new line-up with Nico Hulkenberg.
Force India still has only one driver confirmed as Paul di Resta will do most of the work in Jerez with compatriot James Rossiter also getting in some laps to help with simulator work.
The immediate task, apart from checking the systems, will be to get to grips with the new Pirelli tyres that the Italian tyre maker said should produce more exciting racing with more pits-tops required.