Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has stirred up the Ferrari driver situation again by saying that while Felipe Massa’s position at Ferrari is assured for next year, Kimi Raikkonen’s is not.
“We will have a Brazilian driver, who deserves another chance, seeing as he’s well. As for the rest, we are thinking about the best choice, but we still have time. We will decide in a few weeks.”
This is a different line from the one he took at Monza two weeks ago, at the announcement of Santander’s five year sponsorship deal, where he appeared to be suggesting that the drivers currently under contract would race next year and that Fernando Alonso would have to wait his turn. The Spaniard was not implicated in the Singapore race fixing scandal and so is very much a free agent and ready for 2010.
Raikkonen has already been waiting some time for Ferrari to decide what it wants to do. Meanwhile the stance is based on a firm conviction that Felipe Massa will return to racing next season as good as he was before his accident.
Lately, there have been increasing suggestions that Raikkonen may be welcome back at McLaren. Although I find the idea of a fit with Lewis Hamilton rather hard to imagine, not to mention unnecessary, it seems that the story has some foundation.
Heikki Kovalainen surely lost his last chance of holding on to his McLaren seat at Monza, where he was the best placed car on the grid with the winning strategy and yet he faded horribly in the race.
Montezemolo also confidently predicted that Ferrari would be back as a title contender next season,
“We have been in competition since 1950, we’ve never retired, though the good times and the bad. We are the team which has won the most. We’ve taken a couple of years holiday, because the rules were not clear. Next year we will be back in force. That said, this year isn’t finished yet.”
Ironically Raikkonen is in the form of his life with 30 points in the last four races including the win at Spa. This is in spite of Ferrari halting development of the 2009 car to focus on 2010.
Incidentally the Italian media is making much of the notion that with FIA president Max Mosley having got rid of both Ron Dennis and Flavio Briatore this year, he will now train his sights on Montezemolo and John Howett of Toyota, the other two main architects of the FOTA project. There has not been a response from Montezemolo to that suggestion and he also ducked questions about Briatore’s departure.