After a decade on the sidelines, Luca Badoer has made his return to Formula One competition this weekend at the European Grand Prix and has struggled to get up to speed. The Italian veteran has completed 150,000 kilometres of testing with Ferrari, but significantly no real running
this year courtesy of the testing ban. It is for this reason that he is struggling Badoer claims after qualifying 1.5 seconds behind Toro Rosso rookie Jaime Alguersuari he claims.
“Obviously, I’m a bit disappointed as it’s never nice to be last in any situation, but I always knew it would be tough," he said. "As I’ve said before, this weekend is a sort of test for me and the team and that is how we are tackling it.
"However, I do feel the situation is better than yesterday as the more laps I do, the more confidence I gain and the better it gets. Tomorrow it will be important to finish the race and that will be my target. I feel good physically and I have no problems on that score. For sure, if I’d had two days testing under my belt, it would have been a different story.”
Badoer’s new team-mate Kimi Raikkonen
qualified sixth and declared himself happy with the result as Ferrari look to retain their slender 1.5 point advantage over Toyota in the battle for third position in the championship.
"Tomorrow, our race will be divided in two," stated Team Principal Stefano Domenicali. "On one side we will be aiming for a positive result to defend our third place in the constructors’ classification, which should be within our ability, while with Luca we will try and finish the race, to obtain sufficient experience to tackle the forthcoming rounds in a different fashion.”
Badoer’s lack of pace however could be bad news for test and reserve drivers such as Pedro de la Rosa, Alex Wurz and Christian Klien who are all looking to break back into the sport using the ‘experience’ card with the new teams next season.
"If I had only Valencia, only one chance, I would be very worried," Badoer said ahead of qualifying. "I would try to do everything, and maybe with a lot of pressure and maybe with a lot of mistakes but that’s not the case, because until Felipe comes back, the car is mine so I have some time in which to improve..."