by Erik Nielsen
In a hint of the motivation that Ferrari has in continuing its success in the 2002 season,
the scuderia has announced that they have hired Luciano Burti as a second test driver along
with Luca Badoer for the upcoming season. The 26-year-old Brazilian spent the 2001 season
divided between two teams. The first part of the season he was with Jaguar, with whom he
was the test driver for the 2000 season. After four races, Burti switched to the Prost
camp and raced until his dramatic accident with his former teammate Eddie Irvine at Spa.
He then took the rest of the season off to recuperate. With the French team under severe
economic difficulties while trying to obtain power plants for their effort, one can only
guess at the contract's details.
Like most of the current crop of F1 drivers, Burti started his racing career behind the wheel
of competitive karts. He moved to Europe in 1996 to focus more on the sport and progress
further up the motor sports food chain. His first time behind the wheel of an F1 racer
came with the opportunity to drive the Stewart of his former roommate Rubens Barrichello.
The young star shone brightly at the test and completed further testing that season. He was
signed the following season as test driver while refining his skills in the British F3 series.
Burti's F1 race debut was the Austrian round of the 2000 season when he substituted for an ill
Eddie Irvine and completed the race in 11th place.
Ferrari's signing of two test drivers brings some interesting questions to the front. Now that
recent success in F1 has been achieved, will there be some real focus on sports car racing?
Reading between the lines of another recent press release:
Ferrari announces that Jean Todt [director, racing group] will also be responsible for two
new areas of activity:
The first part is just restructuring, the second part is the key. Maserati will be the main
focus of sports car racing and private sources within North American privateers teams have
indicated that Maserati will be building the replacement for the 333SP. Rumors also
indicate that there will be a Maserati challenge series to add to the 360 Ferrari series
as a lower cost alternative. From this, it looks like Badoer will have more time to focus
on other activities. In either case, there will be some interesting machinery running
around Fiorano in 2002. Stay tuned.
- the Formula 1 Sporting Department will come under the control of Stefano Domenicali, who
will be responsible for liaising with the Sporting Authorities and for logistics and and sponsors;
- Maserati and Ferrari Owners Racing Department, which will look after the development of all the
motor sport activities outside Formula 1.
Maserati's works and privateers racing programme,
the Ferrari Challenge and Historic Challenge trophies and programmes aimed at assisting
Ferrari Owners. The Department will be headed by Claudio Berro.