Driving for Ferrari is always an honor to those who get the opportunity, but when you’re an up-and-coming Italian driver, it tends to mean more.
Such is the case for Raffaele Marciello, the Italian GP2 driver and member of Ferrari’s young driver academy who had a run in the Ferrari F14 T in today’s second day of testing at Abu Dhabi to round out the Formula One season.
Marciello completed 91 laps, doing a mix of aero work, tire testing and other developments as would be the case in any test. He ended second with a best time of 1:43.208, matching Kimi Raikkonen’s position from Tuesday.
But more than the times or development, Marciello was emotional and proud to have the opportunity.
“Today was a dream come true,” he said, via Ferrari’s official release. “For an Italian, to jump into a Ferrari, at an official test no less, is a really strong emotion and I am grateful to the team for giving me this opportunity.
“You can really feel the difference, compared to a GP2 car, especially in terms of engine power and the braking force. This being my first time at the wheel of an F14 T, I had to gradually adapt my driving style, but in general, I felt comfortable and I hope I helped the team gather useful data.”
There was one other thought on his mind, and that was Jules Bianchi. Bianchi has now been transported home to France last week following his accident in Suzuka.
“It was impossible not to think about Jules: he and I joined the Ferrari Driver Academy at the same time and if I am here today, it’s in part because he is not,” Marciello reflected. “Jules taught me to always push myself to the limit and here today, I tried to do that for him.”