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DATE News (chronologically)
05/01/12
f1
Alonso tops opening test day at Mugello  UPDATE What the men behind the wheel had to say after a damp start in Italy...

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso: "It's a shame about the rain, which complicated the running of this first day of testing and a shame for the spectators who deserved to see more of a show," commented Fernando. "We had a pretty busy work program, but we only managed to get through a part of it. Therefore, it's impossible to give a serious evaluation, especially as we did so little dry running. I can only say that, for me, it was a pleasure to be driving at this track again: the first and only other time was back in 2001, when I was testing for Minardi. It's a spectacular track and it would be nice to be able to race on it!"

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg: "It was a good session for me this morning and a positive start to our testing program. It's nice to see that we have some new parts for the car and that the ongoing process of in-season developments is working well. We were able to learn some things in the wet conditions this morning which is always useful, and we picked up a few lessons. Mugello is an impressive track which is very fast and good fun to drive. It's also good preparation for the next race in Barcelona with the high-speed corners. I'm looking forward to getting back in the car again on Thursday and continuing our program."

Mercedes' Michael Schumacher:"Unfortunately we were not able to achieve much productive work on the track this afternoon as the weather made it nearly impossible to drive. Therefore it's good that we collected some data this morning so that we can prepare the car in the best possible way for tomorrow. This afternoon, I was literally able just go out to check if it made sense to run - which it did not - and at least I could show the spectators who were waiting in the rain a running car for some short moments. Still, it was nice being back in Mugello after so many years, and I must say it was also nice being welcomed back by the tifosi so warmly."

Red Bull's Mark Webber: "Obviously, the weather wasn't great today, so we didn't get to do much running in the dry. Really, we only got one decent run on the slicks. Then it rained after lunch and with limited sets of wets available, you can't do that much. We're hoping for better over the next couple of days. It's an important test. We have a lot of information to gather and, while today didn't quite work out as expected, I'm optimistic that over the course of the next few days we'll get the information we need. I have to say this is a fantastic track. It's very challenging for the driver and very quick. I don't know if we'll ever race here in the future, you never know, but to see the crowd here today was very special. A lot of people came to watch and that's great."

Force India's Jules Bianchi: "This morning we had to wait a long time for the track to dry. We did some runs on the intermediates just to check the car's systems and when the conditions improved I went back out on the dry tires [medium] to get confident with the car and to feel the track conditions. There was a chance to do some aero checks and we got some good aero data, but it was difficult to test all the developments so that will need to be done later this week."

Lotus' Jerome D'Ambrosio: "It was great to finally get my hands on the E20 and I'd like to thank the team again for giving me this opportunity. It's a fantastic car and I felt confident with it straight away, especially in the dry. It's a real shame we've been limited by the weather today in terms of what we could achieve, but we had known for a few days that rain was forecast so it's not a big shock. We managed to complete 20 laps in both wet and dry conditions which gives me a good knowledge of the car and will help me be a better asset to the team with this experience."

Williams' Valtteri Bottas: "It wasn't ideal weather for testing unfortunately. However, we completed some aero runs this morning when the track dried out a little and gathered some useful data. I feel we made the most out of the conditions and got as much out of the day as we could. The track is really great so it's a shame I didn't get more running in the dry."

Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne: "This is my first ever visit to Mugello and I have to say, despite the weather, I enjoyed my time on the circuit as it is a really fantastic track to drive. The car felt fine for the few dry laps I completed, but from a technical point of view, there is not much to say, because although we have a full program to work through, the rain meant we will have to wait until tomorrow to start assessing some of the new elements we have brought here. At one point this morning, I went off the track; I was pushing a bit too hard, spun and got stuck, as the rear wheels were in the gravel. But there was no damage to the car."

Caterham's Rodolfo Gonzalez: "Despite the weather, which was obviously frustrating this afternoon, I've had a good day with the team here at the Mugello test. I love this track - I've won here in the past in International F3, so getting back out in an F1 car this morning was a great experience. Obviously I'd have preferred a lot more dry running, but today wasn't about setting the fastest times I could, it was more about making sure I ran to the plan we'd set with the engineers, not making any mistakes, and continuing to learn as much as I could. After the morning session I was happy with my performance, particularly considering how stop / start the session was, and while the running was pretty much meaningless this afternoon it's still been another very valuable day for me. Every minute I'm with the F1 team helps me develop as a driver, so even though everyone at the test was affected by today's rain, for me this has still been another step in the right direction for my career."

05/01/12 The regular return of heavy rain prevents any meaningful afternoon running in the F1 group test at Mugello, leaving Fernando Alonso a popular pacesetter on 'home soil'. Full lap times as of 5pm local time, on the first day of three at F1's first in-season test for several years, at the Mugello circuit in Italy.

1. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 22.444s
2. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 23.648s
3. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 23.891s
4. Jerome d'Ambrosio Belgium Lotus-Renault 1m 24.048s
5. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 24.100s
6. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 24.736s
7. Oliver Turvey Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 25.303s
8. Jules Bianchi France Force India-Mercedes 1m 25.475s
9. Rodolfo Gonzalez Venezuela Caterham-Renault 1m 27.197s
10. Charles Pic France Virgin-Cosworth 1m 27.359s
11. Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Renault 1m 29.179s
12. Gary Paffett Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 50.898s
13. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes no time
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