Ferrari's Pedro de la Rosa completed just two laps on Friday before breaking down

F138 back on track after catching fire on Day Four

By Mike Wise at Jerez.   Last Updated: 08/02/13 6:16pm

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Ferrari's progress at the Jerez test suffered a setback on Friday morning when their F138 rolled to a halt after completing just two laps.

With new test driver Pedro de la Rosa behind the wheel, the car pulled up between Turns 7 and 8 after a small fire broke out at the right rear.

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Smoke billowed from the Ferrari for a short while and with de la Rosa by now out of the cockpit, it was extinguished before the car was loaded on to a flat-bed truck.

It was then returned to the pits, where Ferrari mechanics used red screens to shield it from view.

A Ferrari spokesman later said that a gearbox problem was to blame but de la Rosa was back behind the wheel in the afternoon.

He appeared on track again just before 2pm and proceeded to complete 51 laps, ending the day ninth fastest overall with a time of 1:20.316 seconds.

Having been hired principally to improve Ferrari's simulator programme, it's unlikely de la Rosa will get another chance to drive the car.

He later described his emotions, having almost seen a Scuderia debut at the age of almost 42 cut short.

"When I stepped out of the car after the gearbox broke on the installation lap I was not feeling very happy," de la Rosa said with a rueful smile. "Because you're waiting for an opportunity like this for all your life and then, suddenly, after a few corners, you have to step out of the car.

"It was not clear whether I could continue or not because there was some parts that caught fire, so it was not looking that bright.

"There were mixed emotions: I was very excited but then I went on a low. Then the mechanics did a fantastic job really to turn the car around and we had a sensible afternoon."

De la Rosa, who drove for the now defunct HRT last year, added: "Overall it was a very positive day. I was driving quite well at the end. I realise now how a real car handles and what is the level of F1 grip compared to what I had last year, which was very, very different as you can expect.

"This is a very solid platform from which give us to work in the next few weeks in our simulator."

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