Alonso to skip first pre-season test

Fernando Alonso will not take part in the first pre-season Formula 1 test at Jerez, with his Ferrari team electing to focus its efforts on Felipe Massa and Pedro de la Rosa that week.

Massa will drive the new Ferrari for the first three days at Jerez, which runs from February 5-8, with de la Rosa getting his maiden run for the Italian outfit on the final day.

Alonso meanwhile will use that week to work on his physical condition, before he drives the Ferrari for the first three days of the Barcelona test that runs from February 19. Massa will then drive on the final day of that week.

For the final test that runs at Barcelona from February 28 to March 3, Alonso and Massa will split the driving duties.

On Thursday (28) and Saturday (March 2) of that test, Massa will drive, while Alonso will do the other two days.

AUTOSPORT SAYS

by Group F1 Editor Jonathan Noble

Conspiracy theorists will be in overdrive at Ferrari and Fernando Alonso's decision to not run the Spaniard at the first pre-season test at Jerez.

Is Ferrari's decision to hand Massa one more day of pre-season testing a sign of favouritism within Maranello? Is this Alonso pulling rank and not wanting to waste a second of his time doing boring installation work? Is this a response to Ferrari's worries about a repeat of last year's troublesome pre-season testing programme?

In fact it's none of those. Alonso and Ferrari's decision is the most logical move for getting the best out of each other.

Driver and team are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to make up for the disappointment of last year; and if Alonso is to start his campaign in the style he needs to, an extra two weeks of rest and preparation at a time when the team and Massa can focus on driving the new car forwards is a win-win for everybody.

There will not be any inconsistency brought about by driver swaps each day; de la Rosa getting a run is vital for ramping up the simulation work; Massa and Alonso trust each other to push the car on, and a plan is mapped out for everyone to hit peak form by the time the cars are packed away at the final test ready for the long trek to Melbourne.