F1 RETURN IS THE PITS FOR BADOER | Sporting Life - F1 News | European Grand Prix, Jenson Button, Brawn, McLaren, Ferrari
F1 RETURN IS THE PITS FOR BADOER
Ferrari stand-in driver Luca Badoer quickly found himself on the wrong side of the race stewards as his return to Formula One racing got off to an inauspicious start in Valencia on Friday.
Back in action at a race meeting for the first time in a decade, Badoer had clearly forgotten how to operate the speed-limiter button on his steering wheel as he racked up four separate penalties for driving too fast in the pit lane during today's practice sessions for Sunday's European Grand Prix.
The 38-year-old Italian was hit with fines totalling 5,400 euros and issued with a reprimand for his repeated offending, which soured a day long dreamt of by the veteran Ferrari test driver.
Badoer's got the nod for the second Ferrari seat in the wake of the fractured skull suffered by Felipe Massa in Hungary last month, and Michael Schumacher's subsequent withdrawal as the Brazilian's replacement due to a neck injury.
His efforts on the track on Friday were not nearly as rapid as his pit-lane exploits, 18th place in the quicker second session his reward at the end of a day spent trying to get to grips with Ferrari's F60, which he has not driven for several months due to the in-season testing ban.
Badoer, who contested 48 grands prix between 1993 and 1999 without scoring a point, ended today 1.3 seconds off the pace of his world champion team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, but declared himself satisfied with the result after so long away.
"I am happy with the way things went today," said Badoer, who revealed on Thursday he has been told he will continue in his stand-in role until Massa is ready to return.
"I expected a difficult day and so it was. It was vital that I did not make any serious mistakes so that I could get through the programme we had established.
"Now we can begin work on the car set-up to try and adapt it to my driving style.
"The team have not set me any specific goal for this weekend and I am pleased about that consideration because it is important I return to having full confidence in the car and with the world of the grand prix weekend."
He added: "We have to improve a lot and we have to work a lot, but considering the situation - without driving for eight months and it is the first time for me on this track - I am very happy."
Badoer also revealed that the dream of being an F1 driver with Ferrari had now been replaced by the reality of his situation.
"Until yesterday night I was dreaming and flying and I was very happy, but this morning I went down to the floor," he said.
"Now, I'm here to work. So I was very concentrated, I worked a lot with my engineer and this is the future now.
"The dream is finished - now we need the results."