First to appear on the Wrooom platform was the Brazilian Ferrari stalwart, who was in a visibly relaxed mood, but made no bones about being ready to win again after a few fallow seasons. Clearly he is under pressure to up his game as he faces his 11th season in F1 – not easy when the benchmark is a two-time World Champion team-mate – but significantly Felipe reckons the greatest the pressure comes from within.
While Felipe was easy-going, Fernando was conspicuously impatient, having the air of a man who simply can’t wait to climb behind the wheel of his red racing car rather than speculating about his prospects for the season ahead. By the time testing kicks off on 7 February, almost three months will have passed since the flag dropped on the last race in 2011, and the absence of that very necessary fix of speed could be discerned in Fernando’s demeanour.
F1’s much-reduced pre-season testing drew some warranted criticism from the Spaniard. Although he has competed in karts over the winter – in his opinion the closest thing to F1 cars - to stay race fit, he likened it to compatriot Rafa Nadal being forced to practice with ping-pong balls or Lionel Messi being reduced to kick-abouts with tennis balls ahead of the football season.
Perhaps as frustrating for both the drivers is that they have not yet been able to lay eyes on the 2012 Ferrari due to be unveiled on 3 February in Maranello. Although both are optimistic about the season ahead, they are understandably like two boys waiting for Christmas to come.
However, the drivers for PUMA’s partner team, Ferrari, expressed confidence about the team’s recent restructure, speaking highly of the progress made by the newly appointed Technical Director Pat Fry, and other recruitments. Clearly Ferrari has no lack of ambition or desire to do everything it takes to win in 2012.