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Montezemolo gives Badoer one more chance, Bianchi waits for call up
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Montezemolo gives Badoer one more chance, Bianchi waits for call up
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Aug 2009   |  7:08 pm GMT  |  52 comments

Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo chaired a meeting yesterday at Maranello at which it was confirmed that Luca Badoer would be given the opportunity to have a second race in the Ferrari.
Picture 23

But, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he has been told that unless he does something pretty special, he may well be replaced for the following race at Monza.

The range of alternatives has not really changed much, which is to say that there aren’t really any. So it would be interesting to see what they would do if Badoer remained a long way off the pace of Raikkonen.

By then they should know more about Felipe Massa’s condition and the likelihood of his return. He will be assessed on Friday in Florida by Dr Steve Olvey, who has put quite a few damaged racers back in the cockpit, like Alex Zanardi and Cristiano da Matta.

Schumacher ruled himself out with injury, Marc Gene is not considered fast enough and replacing Badoer with him might be considered jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

The team ruled out Bourdais and Piquet because they didn’t want to be seen taking on other people’s rejects.

I mentioned yesterday that team principal Stefano Domenicali has accepted that the team should have had a young driver programme in place and will announce one soon. In general Ferrari only take experienced drivers to race, but in the early 2000s they had Felipe Massa as a test driver, releasing him to do some more racing at Sauber in 2005 before taking him back as a more mature race driver in 2006.

As for who the recruits will be, interestingly the Gazzetta mentions the name of Jules Bianchi, a 20 year old Frenchman who is dominating the Euro F3 series, the series which launched Sebastian Vettel into F1 in 2006. Bianchi could clinch that series as soon as the Spanish round on 20th September, which would give him a superlicence. Like Massa he is managed by Nicholas Todt, son of Jean.

I’ve not seen him race yet, but friends who know their karting well say that he was exceptional and now in his fourth season in car racing, he seems one of the brightest talents coming through at the moment. Todt has not lined him up with Renault or any other young driver programme as far as I know.

Could he be the first recruit of the Ferrari young driver programme?

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52 Comments
  1. niceguyrichy says:

    I’ve heard Anthony Davidson’s name mentioned a couple times, what chance we see a Brit in the cockpit James? (I bet DC is prob faster than Badoer as well)

    personally I’d like to see Ferrari take a chance on the yougster.
    they don’t have much to lose, he could hardly do worse than Badoer did in Valencia.

  2. BrightMinds says:

    I’m a life long fan but Ferrari have amazed me here, they really are complete idiots…

    How would they be swallowing pride by taking on Piquet or Bordais when instead they’re relying on Badoer – a driver whose proved himself slower than the previous slowest driver in the slowest car. Even Pedro Diniz on horseback would out qualify him!

    1. Robert McKay says:

      Actually, what is Pedro up to these days, he’s proably next in line!

      1. Last I heard, he was running his dad’s business in Brazil. To say that the Diniz’s are well off would be an understatement
        :o

      2. BrightMinds says:

        He runs the Brazilian Formula Renault series, unsurprisingly and not for the first time bank-rolled by his Dad.

        My favourite quote about Pedro was from the 1997 F1 season review. All the commentator said was ‘The unrated Brazilian bringing additional funds to the team’. I wonder if he actually had any fans…?!

      3. In all fairess to the guy, he held himself really well for a pay driver and could have potentially got a seat on merit

  3. Red Kimi says:

    seems like a lot of good experienced drivers could step in for a few races…. Jean Todt’s son’s client gets first divs? never being in an F1 car?

    Let Fisi drive, he would be good enough, and Italy would love it… Force India already ok’d it I heard

  4. Ian Curtis says:

    I’d love to see DC have a run in one of the scarlet cars, that would make any Brit proud i’m sure.. but i think that’s a def no-no.
    Not sure Ferrari are all too keen on British drivers are they? Who was the last Brit driver for Ferrari James?

    Piquet might stand a chance i think.
    Anyway, I’m not ruling out Badoer to come good yet.. although i’m less sure about his talents having watched him in Valencia.

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    1. Nigel Mansell, 1989-90

    2. Martin Collyer says:

      “Who was the last Brit driver for Ferrari?”

      Could it have been ‘The Moustachioed One’?

      Eddie Irvine is Irish ie Republic of Ireland isn’t he?

      1. James Allen says:

        No he is an Ulsterman, so theoretically British. But it was a can of worms and I’m fairly sure he had an Irish racing licence.

      2. You’re right there James. Although technically British, Eddie drove under an Irish license.

    3. Aaron Shearer says:

      I can answer that for you, It was Eddie Irvine back in 1999, before he moved to Jaguar in 2000.

    4. Stevie P says:

      Last Brit in a Ferrari within F1: Mansell.

  5. Obster says:

    It’s Bourdais for me. Current experience with:
    2009 tire compounds
    2009 Ferrari engine
    Push-to-pass(=KERS) in Champcar

  6. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

    Ferrari have really poor logic if they wouldn’t take drivers who have raced in F1 recently over a 38 year old who hasn’t raced in a decade because of some superficial concern about ego.

    As for Bianchi, he is a very good talent. And let us not forget, James, that the F3 Euroseries didn’t just launch Vettel into F1. Hamilton, Kubica, Rosberg, and Sutil all came through at the same time, with Hamilton having a Schumacher-like season in 2005. Grosjean won the 2007 championship, and Glock, Buemi, and Nakajima raced in F3 Euro, as well. If you go back to German F3, which became F3 Euro, then Trulli Heidfeld also ran it on the way up. So half the grid has came through F3 Euroseries, with only former F3 Euro driver in Hulkenberg taking the step up next season.

    F3 Euroseries has become the primary proving ground for F1 drivers on the way up before GP2. If a driver wins F3 Euroseries, particularly in a fasion as dominant as Hamilton and Hulkenberg did, chances are he’s going to be a bloody good F1 driver. Bianchi seems like he’s on that track.

    1. Werewolf says:

      I agree entirely – on both main points. I am old and sentimental enough to just about, in a good mood and after a beer or two, accept Ferrari’s reward-for-years-of-service spiel but there is no substitute for recent experience. Also, drivers mature and come on-line at different stages in their lifetimes. F1 history is littered with drivers that did not necessarily really impress at their first team but did OK later; and let us remember, whoever takes the seat need only be Raikkonen’s number 2 and is not expected to deliver a championship, only points. Taking other teams rejects (especially Briatore’s!) sounds more like ego than logic.

      The F3 Euro Series has produced some excellent drivers, as Paige says, and watching the races on satellite (and at Brands in support of DTM), many of the better drivers show both speed and (on the whole – it is a junior formula!) maturity. I’d rather see Anthony Davidson in the car and I hadn’t actually thought of Jules Bianchi but an excellent suggestion.

      1. Also there is no reason why they couldn’t take on a young gun like Bianchi and then run him in GP2 next season.
        Who knows what could happen by 2011…

  7. RF1 fan says:

    James It’s just 3rd season of car racing for Bianchi.

    He began Formula Formula Renault 2.0 in France in 2007 and won the championship at his first attempt,he is the first since Alain Prost in 1976 to make this performance.

  8. Tim Horton says:

    Why not give Ralf Schumacher another shot? He was never a superstar in F1, but hes been racing in DTM so although not as sharp as some, he cant be any worse than the dull blade that badoer has turned out to be.

    1. Werewolf says:

      Sorry, Tim, but I think Ralf has passed his sell by. At his best, only just below the top in his day but I really think that day has passed. As a follower of DTM, he has not impressed, much to my disapointment.

      Off topic, perhaps, but DTM has often been a great series yet I do not see it as a stepping stone to F1, more the culmination of a separate line. I am thinking Jan Magnussen (brilliant in F3), Christian Albjers and even Gary Paffett (disappointing in McLaren testing); and I fear for Paul Di Resta’s ambitions because of this.

    2. Martin Collyer says:

      Mercedes would love that!!!

  9. rpaco says:

    Well I don’t suppose the wishes of UK F1 fans will be high on Ferrari’s list of criteria in deciding who should drive next.

  10. tomo says:

    I can’t believe they resorted to the “he doesn’t know the track” excuse. There are countless examples of drivers being successful on their first visit to a track.

    I’m expecting him to be dead last at Spa (if he completes the race without crashing into any parked cars…)

    1. Werewolf says:

      I really don’t want to add to Luca Badoer’s woes but Stefano Domenicali’s interview with another site in which he said that at least he finished when may people said he was so out of practice he would need to go to hospital before the end of the race is just so telling. Will the next job specification say ‘must be able to bend enough to tie own racing boots’?

    2. Aaron Shearer says:

      It’s not that he didn’t know the track, it was more to do with the fact he didn’t know the car that well. That’s what I believe anyway.

      He’ll do better in Spa I’m sure of it, if he doens’t please don’t slap me.

  11. Paul Grinnall says:

    He was dreadful.
    Shame really.
    Has everyone heard the “Look-how Bad-you-are”…play on words?

  12. Tre says:

    Why dont Ferrari put Bourdais inside. He is also managed by Nicolas Todt and experienced with all tracks coming up like singapore and far asia.

    Any news james??

  13. AmandaG says:

    Ferrari’s problem is they now have a queue of ex drivers applying. Also if reports are to be believed at least one current driver (for another team) also.

    At the moment they are trying to get 3rd in the constructers title if possible. Kimi can only do so much on his own. They need someone who can get them on average 1 point per race. I’d go with Fisi.

    In a dreamworld I’d try to bag Alonso for the rest of the season but I think that is impossible.

    James if you could were in Ferrari’s position and you still wanted to fight for 3rd who would you try and get?

    1. James Allen says:

      Depends on the prognosis on Massa.

    2. Surely Alonso for the rest of this season is an absurdity – Renault are battling in the constructor’s for a potential 5th place and they are not going to rid themselves of their biggest asset

  14. JohnBt says:

    Despite his embarrassing performance he’s still given a chance.
    It shows that Luca Montezemolo is a compassionate man. So looks like Ferrari has a heart for people. HEARTWARMING.

  15. Warren says:

    It would be nice to see Michael in the car for Monza. If not, give Nico Hulkenberg a go.

  16. Mon Pen says:

    I’m just amazed at how short sighted Ferrari have been by not having a racer of any merit lined up for this eventuality.

  17. Paul Mc says:

    Ferrari need points so you have to turn to experienced drivers who can deliver. I’d actually pop DC into the car at Spa…might rub salt into Schumis wounds though with their Spa history.

  18. Gunner says:

    A man like Badoer is a joke, completely without any race results whatsoever. I hope Valencia was the last time we saw him outside a test track. There must be someone better to represent Ferrari, young or old. Why not give Jules Bianchi the drive of his life? Or why not hire Fisi or Gabriele T for one of their last outings..?

  19. Ferrim says:

    There was a certain German driver who qualified his car 7th (with his teammate 11th) in his first ever F1 race and his first ever race at Spa. I just can’t remember his name…

    If Badoer is less than a second slower than Räikkönen I think he won’t be replaced, but can he get that close?

  20. Carl M says:

    I’m backing Anthony Davidson all the way. He would only be half a second off Kimi. He would get a few 5th-8th position points places. It would help Kimi who i,s now on a roll with 2 podiums in last 2 races, and give Ferrari a better chance of securing 3rd in constructors.

  21. Michael says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Mika Salo a “reject” when Ferrari put him in Schumacher’s car? He could drive as can some of these drivers out there who have left teams often for reasons other than talent.

  22. jack Tors says:

    Anyone considered that Badoers pace plays right in…politically…with the disagreement on the testing ban? Im not a conspiracy person…..and it sounds more like something Mclaren would do….but u never know…

  23. krad says:

    Anyone considered Mirko Bortolotti? He went very well in his ferrari test earlier this year

    1. Martin Collyer says:

      He’s in F2 this year, but backed by Red Bull, that might be the stumbling block.

      1. krad says:

        true but non of the f2 dates clash for the rest of the season

      2. krad says:

        the fact that he’s already had a ferrari test will help him, albeit due to winning the Italian f3 series

      3. Martin Collyer says:

        Sorry krad, I didn’t put that very well, I think it’s the Red Bull connection that could prevent Bortolotti getting the drive rather than a clash of dates.

        Seems the debate has moved on now, Fisi or Liuzzi rather than a junior driver.

  24. Ross says:

    Actually Massa had a Ferrari Contract before he had even driven an F1 Car. He went to Maranello after his manager at the time made contact with Domenicalli who introduced him to Todt when Massa was only 18. He signed for the team 2 years later after winning the F3000 Euro title, before he had driven a Sauber.

    He is the only driver who has been a Ferrari Protege.

  25. john g says:

    gene is considered slower than badoer? by who!? that’s got to hurt… to me, his racing credentials are a lot stronger. but then what do i know, i’d have put sato in the ferrari :)

    ideal situation would be ant davidson to ferrari, and LEGARD OFF BBC1 COMMENTARY to go to radio 5

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