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Ferrari’s Mugello test appeared to have received a major blow on Thursday. As the Italian team rolled out a much revised car, featuring Red Bull-like exhaust exits, the Spaniard made a mistake and incurred damage which took two and a half hours to repair. Despite this, he still managed to rack up 98 laps.
The uncharacteristic error from Alonso could not have come at a worse time, as Ferrari was highly keen to experiment with the new parts in what is the only in-season circuit test of the year; despite his unexpected win in Malaysia, he and team-mate Felipe Massa have so far struggled madly with poor traction and low top speeds.
After running off through the gravel trap and hitting the tyre barriers, Alonso was joined in the pit lane by Massa before returning to the track shortly before the lunch break; concentrating very much on his own programme, the Champion of 2005 and 2006 set a best time of 1:21.363 to finish behind Romain Grosjean and Sebastian Vettel.
In what was F1’s first test session for race drivers for four years, the fraternity had travelled to Ferrari-owned Mugello after the Scuderia had argued that it was paying for a private test track that it was no longer able to use.
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