Massa first to test new Ferrari

Rio de Janeiro: Brazil`s Felipe Massa will be the first driver to test Ferrari`s 2013 Formula 1 car.

The 31-year-old will be the designated driver for trials at Jerez from Feb 5-7 before two-time world champion Fernando Alonso returns from his off-season break two weeks later, Ferrari confirmed on its website on Thursday.

Buoyed at being given a 12-month contract extension late last year, Massa recently revealed plans to challenge for the 2013 F1 drivers` championship.

He scored just 23 points in the first half of last season before a series of impressive results catapulted him to seventh in the drivers` standings with 122 points.

According to Ferrari, Massa will be given seven days to test the new car and Alonso five. The team`s development driver Pedro de la Rosa, who drove for HRT last season, will also trial the car for a day.

The 2013 Formula 1 season begins with the Australian Grand Prix March 17 at Melbourne`s Albert Park circuit.