Massa & Sauber?
4 October 2012
Now that Hamilton has signed for Mercedes, Perez for McLaren and Schumacher has announced his retirement (again), speculation is refocusing around Massa and his position at Ferrari. Autosport think that Ferrari are looking for a one-year deal for any replacement so that Vettel can slot in alongside Alonso for 2014 and have mentioned both Force India drivers as possible candidates for this short-term deal.
I personally don’t think Massa will be at Ferrari next year. They’re obviously touting around for a replacement or they’d have made an announcement by now. Maybe they’re still weighing up their options — whilst Massa is a known quantity he hasn’t made the most of recent scarlet machinery; however any replacement will take time to settle in and, if the deal is only for one year, one has to think whether a new face would be worth it. It might take a few races for them to get settled (assuming they’re able to settle at all, knowing the length for the deal) which might make Ferrari hierarchy wonder whether they’d be any worse off keeping Massa for one more year.
I would love to see Ferrari take a gamble and sign Kobayashi for a year. He’s such an exciting racer to watch (my bum has never been squeakier than in 2009 when Button overtook him in Brazil on his way to the title) and would no doubt grasp the opportunity with both hands.
Where does this leave Massa? Regardless of who gets his Ferrari seat (assuming he leaves, of course) I think Massa will go back to Sauber. They use Ferrari engines and gave Massa his debut in 2002, so there are links. Peter Sauber has already lost Perez to McLaren so there’s room for Massa to slot in alongside Kobayashi (or whoever is in his seat should my dream move for him come off!).
(Incidentally, the idea of Vettel at Ferrari alongside Alonso is fascinating. Whether Fernando would allow it is another matter.)