Ferrari’s Badoer vows to do better
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium: Ferrari stand-in Luca Badoer has promised to race for real in tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix after an unimpressive Formula One comeback in Valencia last weekend.
“This weekend we are racing now,” said the 38-year-old Italian, who declared in Spain a week ago that he was treating his first race in nearly a decade as more of a test to try and get up to speed.
Badoer’s return to Formula One as replacement for injured Brazilian Felipe Massa was a baptism of fire, with the Italian reprimanded and fined for speeding in the pit lane in Friday practice before qualifying last.
He finished 17th in the race, last on the track, after letting Renault’s French rookie Romain Grosjean get past him in the pitlane. As a final touch, he ran into the back of Adrian Sutil’s Force India as he parked up at the finish.
“It was a very hard weekend for me, too many new things to learn,” Badoer told reporters in the Spa paddock. “The track, the car, the new Formula One ... it was a really very, very difficult situation.
“But it was very good at the end for me because from Friday, Saturday and Sunday I learned a lot of things ... I have more confidence with the car, I know which direction will help for my driving style for the setup,” he added.
“Now we are at a track that I know. I drove here, okay, 10 years ago, but I drove, I remember the corners and the speed more or less, I have an idea.
“Now I get much more feeling with the car.”
Ferrari principal Stefano Domenicali made it clear that he expected a significant improvement from the driver if Badoer was to retain the seat.
Asked how close he could get to Raikkonen, winner of three of the last four Belgian Grands Prix, the Italian tried to sound optimistic. “I hope very close,” he said. “But tomorrow we have three hours of free practice and we will have a better idea.”
Luca Badoer ... under pressure