With all the fuss about medals, you might not have paid much attention to the story of the three young Italian drivers, who got to test a Ferrari F1 car at Fiorano this week. But digging into what happened, it seems the test was a minor revelation.
The top three finishers in the Italian F3 championship were invited to drive Kimi Raikkonen’s 2008 car on Wednesday and the guy who won the F3 championship, 18 year old Mirko Bortolotti, went two tenths under the lap record for that car at Fiorano, setting a 59.111s lap. Now this needs qualifying; the car hasn’t done much running there this year and the lap record was set by sometime test driver Andrea Bertolini, but in only 14 dry laps (after 26 on a damp track), the fact that this 18 year old could do that time is hugely impressive. The other two, Eduardo Piscopo and Salvatore Cicatelli were and second and two seconds behind respectively.
Luca Baldiserri, who took over Ross Brawn’s operational role at Ferrari and whom I respect enormously said, “These boys have stunned me. The extraordinary thing is that they didn’t make a single error, they went fast straight away and showed enormous potential. It’s also lovely to hear comments and views from boys who are not yet prejudiced..”