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.
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?