FERRARI'S LUCA BADOER says the opportunity to compete in a race for the Scuderia at the European Grand Prix will be the fulfilment of a lifelong dream.
Badoer was drafted in to replace Felipe Massa after seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher was forced to cancel a planned comeback due to a neck injury.
While the 38-year-old expressed regret at the circumstances behind his call-up, he revealed he is thrilled to be presented with the chance to finally enter a Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver after nine years of testing.
However, Badoer admitted he has tempered his expectations as he prepares to make his first Formula 1 start since the 1999 Japanese Grand Prix where he raced for Minardi.
?I have a good impression and it?s obvious that there?s a difficult task waiting for me at Valencia: the first race will help me to get back into the rhythm of a Formula 1 weekend. I haven?t set myself any goals, just to end the race,? he said after a two-day promotional test at Fiorano.
?I?m glad that Michael will be with the team (at Valencia), I?m sure he can give me some important tips. Over the last days we?ve spoken very often and we even trained together when he was still trying to get ready to race. I was really sad, because I know how much he would have liked it.?
?Although I am now able to make my dream come true, I am his friend, his admirer and his fan.?
Badoer said he is also looking forward to racing alongside former World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, who is under severe pressure to retain his seat ahead of the 2010 season.
?(Kimi and I have) got an excellent relationship and I?m sure that we?ll work very well together as teammates. He?s got his character, but that?s nothing new; I feel very good when we?re together,? he said.
Photo: Marcelo Marote.