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Badoer looking forward to Spa after low-key comeback 23 Aug 2009

(L to R): Luca Badoer (ITA) Ferrari F2009 with Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Valencia Spain, Friday, 21 August 2009 Luca Badoer (ITA) Ferrari F60.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 23 August 2009 Luca Badoer (ITA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 22 August 2009 (L to R): Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari with Luca Badoer (ITA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, European Grand Prix, Race, Valencia Spain, Sunday, 23 August 2009

With just over a week’s notice that he would be racing in Felipe Massa’s Ferrari at the European Grand Prix, and just two days to acclimatise to the F60 during some promotional filming, tester Luca Badoer had a mountain to climb in Valencia.

And Badoer, who hasn’t raced competitively in Formula One for ten years (but has instead tested exhaustively for the Italian team), did indeed endure a trying return. From qualifying at the back of the grid on Saturday to finishing Sunday as the last runner, a lap down on the winner, it was a weekend to forget. The Italian, however, is pleased to have simply completed his first race back.

“I said when I arrived in Valencia that this Grand Prix would be a time for me to dust the rust off my back and get confident in the role of race driver again,” explained the 38 year-old. “It was important for me to complete so many kilometres without making any serious mistakes and I managed that. From the physical point of view, I feel fine and that is another cause for satisfaction.

After receiving several pit-lane speeding fines earlier in the meeting, Badoer’s race wasn’t without controversy either. He picked up a drive-through penalty following his second stop, after crossing the white line as he exited the pit lane. Even so, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali was pleased with his driver’s progression.

“Luca managed to finish the race, thus completing this learning weekend, which served as an introduction course prior to tackling the Belgian weekend in the best way possible, next weekend,” said Domenicali.

Ferrari brushed aside speculation that Badoer could be replaced for the Spa race after his low-key showing in Valencia, and with the European and Belgian Grands Prix being back to back, he will be on track again in just a few days time.

“Now I am looking forward to Spa with confidence: it’s a track I know and I will also be able to count on the experience gained this weekend,” added Badoer. “Thanks to the whole team, who did everything they could to make me feel comfortable, without putting me under any pressure and to Michael (Schumacher), who was a great support throughout the weekend.”