Tuesday November 20th, 2001
Ferrari's Luca Badoer has welcomed the appointment of Brazilian Luciano Burti as a second test driver for the Formula One champions, saying the burden was becoming too much for one man.
"His appointment was necessary," the regular tester told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper on Tuesday. "This year, for various reasons, the amount of private testing will increase. Already last year I nearly killed myself to get through the programme. The bosses understood that somebody else was needed alongside me."
Badoer said Burti had made a good impression and would adapt well to the Ferrari environment, working with World Champion Michael Schumacher and fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. Burti was Jaguar test driver in 2000 and drove for both Jaguar and Prost in Grands Prix last season.
He had a lucky escape after suffering a serious crash in Belgium in September when he smashed his Ferrari-powered Prost into a tyre wall in an accident that could have had fatal consequences. The 26-year-old signed a contract with Ferrari last Friday as the team's second test driver. The Gazzetta said he had passed a medical satisfactorily.
"From a personal point of view, all I can say is that I am very happy," he said. "It is fantastic to be able to work with a team like Ferrari. From a professional point of view, I am aware of the importance of the role of test driver in a team like Ferrari, which is fighting for the Championship."
Formula One teams have been banned from testing this season between the last race in Japan on October 14 and the New Year, meaning that many have scheduled a far more intensive test programme for January and February. The first race of the 2002 season is in Australia on March 3.
Published at 12:37:43 GMT