Michael Schumacher made the headlines today after he topped the timesheets on the second day of testing in
. The forty three year old German comfortably outpaced his closest rivals, albeit in last year’s Mercedes. The Brackley-based team have yet to launch their latest challenger and spent the day evaluating Pirelli’s 2012 tyre. When asked if Mercedes would be a championship contender this year, the seven-time World Champion conceded “I don’t think we can realistically achieve a championship car immediately from where we started last year, we have to build our way there.” After being coaxed out of retirement just over two years ago, Schumacher will no doubt be wondering exactly how long this building process is expected to take. Jerez
The quickest of the 2012 cars was not surprisingly Red Bull’s RB8. Mark Webber strung a series of consistent laps together in the morning, before eventually lowering his time to 1:19.184. Although it is still early days, it does appear as though the World Champions have once again produced a front-running car, with the RB8 demonstrating that it is fast right out of the box.
The opposite can be said for Ferrari, who underwhelmed for the second day in a row. Although the team maintains that they never expected to set a blistering pace in
and according to their twitter feed “the stopwatch means relatively nothing today”, they surely would have preferred to end the day in higher than 7th position. Jerez ’s ESPN reported that the F2012 looked ragged at the Spanish circuit and even Felipe Massa admitted that the new car was going to be a lot of work. “It’s a brand new car and it’s not like the cars that we’ve had in the last few years, even to start with. So it’s a lot more work, it’s a car that you need to try a lot more things with as well.” Still, the optimistic Brazilian is sure that Ferrari is up to the challenge, adding “Obviously, there is still a lot to do, maybe more than we had expected before we started, but we are definitely not scared of hard work!” America
Fernando Alonso will carry on that hard work tomorrow when he takes the wheel of the F2012 for the first time. The Spanish icon will surely be fired up and keen to put on a spectacle in front of his home crowd who will show up en masse to support him. I have no doubt that he will grab the headlines in his country’s newspapers regardless of what time he sets in the new Ferrari.