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F1: First test drive for Ferrari F14

Italian team's thoughts with Schumacher

28 January, 17:42
F1: First test drive for Ferrari F14 (By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) - Rome, January 28 - Ferrari's 2014 race car got its first bite of action in the opening set of Formula One pre-season tests at the Spanish circuit of Jerez on Tuesday.

There was excitement at seeing the new F14-T, which was unveiled at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters at the weekend, make its first moves and at seeing former world champion Kimi Raikkonen back behind the wheel.

But the Italian team's thoughts remained with their former driver and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who has been in a coma since suffering head injuries in a skiing accident in France almost a month ago.

Indeed, the F14-T carried the message "Forza Michael" as it made its debut in Jerez.

Ferrari have also started publishing on their website the first of 72 messages of support for Schumacher to represent each of his grand prix wins with them between 1996 and 2006.

The team are hoping that the F14-T will enable them to end a long dry run, with their last constructor's championship win dating to 2008 and the last drivers' title going back to when Finn Raikkonen won in 2007 during his first stint with the team.

The F14-T is no beauty and features a 'broken' nose, with a hump in the middle section, as Ferrari overhauled the car to accommodate major technical changes, but that will not matter if it delivers.

Formula One has ditched its 2.4 litre V8 engines for a new turbocharged 1.6 litre V6 ones with more emphasis on fuel economy this year.

Ferrari did not have an good start to testing and Raikkonen had to stop on his first lap when team engineers told him to cut his engine as a precautionary measure.

He completed two more trouble free laps before noon.

He then managed to string a few consecutive laps together in the afternoon, clocking up a total of 31 and setting the fastest time, of 1 minute 27.104 seconds. Only six cars set a time on Tuesday as testing got off to a stunted start.

The last time Raikkonen was at the helm of a Ferrari was at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009.

His return gives Ferrari an awesome driver line-up as he partners two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Spain, who has been at Ferrari since 2010.

There is a danger, however, that having two big names in the same team could cause friction, with no lead driver taking precedence. Raikkonen will be in the cockpit again on Wednesday, while Alonso will take over in the test sessions on Thursday and Friday. The 2014 Formula One season kicks off with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 16.

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