Aug 4th, 2012 (F1plus / Surendhar).- As we go into the summer-break, no more surprises to Ferrari being at the centre court of gossip play. Felipe Massa announced his intention to stay at Ferrari while denying any interest over a potential switch to a lowly running team. Even though he has come leaps and bounds since Monaco, yet to score quarter as much points as Alonso. For the team that emphasise mainly on team-development it has become a big hammer-blow.
Slumped back behind Lotus when Mclaren vaulted to second, the Maranello squad could only be rescued if Massa seizes some valuable championship points. It was apparent when his option in the contract for 2013 ran out last week that Ferrari are so keen to find a “number 2” driver from the available drivers market. Of which, Mark Webber decided to stay put with Redbull for yet another season – wise move after the successful racing in Silverstone GP.
Moving on, Jenson Button has also been linked up with partnering Alonso. Having to remain uncompetitive in most of the races, the frustrated Briton enjoyed a leap in fortunes since the last two races. Mclaren are more than happy to retain their squad for 2013 but it is also a matter of where they stand at the end of the season as Hamilton wants more trophies in his cabinet. Speaking of the devil, Hamilton had disputes with Alonso in the past and more unlikely to play stooge to the Spaniard.
Emerging from the Ferrari’s inbound drivers’ academy, Perez has permanently been in the rumour line-up since his splendid driving at Sepang and suggested to replace Massa even before the season gets to a closure. But it is anybody’s guess of how well he performs with Ferrari as the Sauber he drives right now is more than capable of where they are at.
Even in the last season, Nico Rosberg reported as in the Ferrari’s sights as he outpaced his team-mate in almost every race and lately broken his hoodoo of victory ducks. Since taking a pole and a podium, Schumacher got his zing back and despite being faster the car let him down to his knees at times. Ross Brawn is looking to finalise the line-up sooner than ever but will the magic duo of Schumacher and Ferrari come alive for one last time is to be waited and seen. There is more than just a problem on the rise; Ferrari may not be willing to negotiate with the hefty sum of money Schumacher will want to drive.
The best rookie of last season, Di Resta, has had a few good races this season and pushed all the way to the limit by team-mate Hulkenberg. Resta being the former DTM champion has a lot of experience under his sleeves and perhaps a right choice of becoming the second-fiddle to the ace-man Alonso. Evenly matched Hulkenberg may imprint the German legacy back into Ferrari but they aren’t running out of further options.
Kovaleinen has sent a wave of desire to compete on the sharp end of the field but spiraling back to his Mclaren years he was no match to Hamilton. The other Caterham driver searching for a better place to drive is Vitaly Petrov, for his team though the season has gone no better who had vowed to fight with mid-field earlier. The ousted Germans Heidfeld and Sutil may get a shot at Ferrari but we never know.
The only possible team I haven’t put my nose on is Lotus who have come up as dark horses to clinch the crown. Raikkonen finished in all but one race with points and looked never out of shape since coming back from rallying. The 2007 world champion left F1 when Ferrari chose to buyout his contract instead of Massa’s to pave way for Alonso but Massa was never the same since his life-threatening accident at Hungary 2009.
The Italian media spiced up the prospects as Raikkonen said to have not denied a Ferrari move, despite having conflicts before quitting the team. He has accomplished five podiums and stands forty eight points adrift to the leading Alonso. He got his Mojave back and ready to battle till the end, while his team are supportive, stating that the car development will last later into the season.
Ferrari made clear that they are delving deep for a driver good enough to lift the constructors’ trophy but not the drivers’ one. The same role Barrichello took on when Schumacher headed the proceeding at Ferrari. Even though Raikkoen is too good for a no. 2 driver, the golden offer can never be resisted in my view but for a driver like Raikkonen always wanting to win, the decision could be a tough one. Montezemalo and Domenicalli will cast an eye on other drivers and must be left baffled for now as the rumour mill swings on around them.