Drivers hail 'fantastic' Algarve track

The new Algarve circuit has been hailed as "fantastic" by Formula One drivers following their maiden test at the Portuguese track earlier this month

Drivers hail 'fantastic' Algarve track

Formula One made its debut at the Iberian track with a three-day test attended by the Ferrari and McLaren teams.

"It's a fantastic track, it looks like a roller-coaster," McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa was quoted as saying by Autosprint magazine.

"It's enjoyable, especially for a test driver who normally always runs on the usual two-three tracks.

"From a physical point of view it's not very demanding: I'd say it's about as demanding as Jerez. However it's possible that when the grip will increase because of the rubber laid on it, then it will be more demanding."

Teammate Gary Paffett added: "This track is a constant challenge because it's an alternation of uphill and downhill sections and it's hard to find the braking point, just like it's difficult to find the best line.

"With the track being slippery we didn't make a big effort to find the optimal set-up, we used the settings used at Montmelo and Jerez, knowing that they would have worked fine."

Ferrari's tester Marc Gene said the track still needed rubber to be laid down, but he also heaped praise on it.

"The track is still very slippery, because the right level of rubber on it is still lacking," the Spaniard said.

"If six teams were present, then the problem would have been solved in just one day, but with two teams you need more time. Besides this problem, the track seems fantastic to me."

Circuit director Juan Alvarez said, however, that the track was yet to make a profit.

"We've put a lot of effort to improve the track but, considering the permanent structure required by F1, you need at least 20 test days in order to begin making a profit," he said. "At the moment we have only eight testing days confirmed for 2009, and that's not enough.

"We have an agreement with F1 until 2011 but after that we'll have to rethink the situation, which at the moment isn't good, because the cost for hosting testing is getting higher and higher."

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