Rumours swirl on Massa's temp replacement - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Rumours swirl on Massa's temp replacement

Rumours swirl on Massa's temp replacement

28/07/09 00:28

Di Montezemolo and Domenicali must look at driver
options while Massa heals
With Felipe Massa recovering from last Saturday's Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying crash – and doubts regarding his eventual return to the F60's cockpit this season - Ferrari must now make use of the summer break to name the driver who will temporarily occupy the injured Brazilian's seat.

The Formula One world is quick to start up rumours and several names are already floating as possible candidates - names which have appeared out of logic, out of possibility, and also out of wishful thinking.

One name to quickly appear was that of Michael Schumacher, closely tied to Ferrari and still serving as a consultant. While his long-time agent Willi Weber doesn't believe the seven-time champion will race, Schumacher himself has not commented and some sources believe he might actually be thinking about it.

Fernando Alonso is also being pointed out as a possibility since there already exist persistent rumours regarding a switch to the red-clad team next year. That implies of course that Renault boss Flavio Briatore would be willing to 'lease' his star driver to Ferrari, at a time when all the signs indicate he is on the verge of replacing Nelson Piquet. The odds of seeing Renault fielding two rookies are slim, and Briatore owes Ferrari no favours.

Since Renault has been suspended by the FIA for the next race following the Hungarian GP's loose-wheel incident - a sanction the team has appealed - rumours see a one-shot Ferrari deal for Alonso in time for the European Grand Prix in Valencia, a situation which would satisfy many local fans and boost ticket sales for the Spaniard's second home race of the season.

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone seems quite thrilled by the idea, but such a scenario would be a surprise.

Sebastien Bourdais was recently sacked by the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso team and is evidently available for a drive. His agent happens to be Nicolas Todt, who also watches over Felipe Massa. A few races aboard the F60 would be a golden opportunity for four-time Champ Car titleholder Bourdais, who needs to prove his worth as he seeks to continue his F1 career next year.

The situation also allows for a hypothetical return of the Villeneuve name to Ferrari: 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve is energetically working on his comeback, and securing a temporary contract with the Maranello-based team is surely on his mind. Whether connected to that possibility or not, Villeneuve cancelled a Bucharest appearance at the last minute on Monday.

Williams test driver Nico Hulkenberg, rumoured to be a 2010 replacement for the much-in-demand Nico Rosberg, has also been mentioned in certain circles given that he is managed by Schumacher's agent Willi Weber.

Of course, all these rumours regarding Massa's temporary replacement do not seem to address the fact that Ferrari has two test drivers contracted to get behind the wheel if the need arises: Marc Gene and Luca Badoer. Logically, both should be first choices, although that does not rule out hiring a guest driver.

Team Principal Stefano Domenicali said options will be looked at in the coming days, while Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo stated: "We'll make a decision when the time is right."

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 05:42 AM
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I think we're realistically talking Massa being out for the rest of the season, if not longer. So a one off appearance by Alonso and then on to another driver doesn't make sense to me. The team needs to build continuity.
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