Tous Avec Jules #17
Sochi 2014
Russian Grand Prix
Mark Webber and Ferrari
Scuderia Ferrari
Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 May 2012   |  12:34 pm GMT  |  246 comments

Ferrari knows that it needs more points than it is scoring at the moment from its second car. Last year Felipe Massa scored only 45% of Fernando Alonso’s points tally. This season so far, described as make or break for Massa by both team boss Stefano Domenicali and Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo, Massa has 4% of Alonso’s points.

And so rumours have begun to swirl again about the possibility of Ferrari hiring Mark Webber to partner Alonso on a short term contract.

The story originated in Spain’s El Confidential, which claimed that the deal was already done and it has been fanned by the Australian media.

Webber, 35, addressed the rumours in a media briefing last night in Mugello. He said that he had not signed anything, but stopped short of denying that there was anything going on.

“Sergio was flavour of the month last week for the Ferrari drive; now it’s me,” Webber said. “I’m focusing 100 per cent on this season and doing the best job for myself and Red Bull Racing. I’m not putting any energy into anything else. We have a whole season ahead before you start thinking about our future. One day there is talk that Jenson (Button) will go to Ferrari, then Sergio, now me.

“I have not signed anything. Just think about my team. We have made a good start to the season, we’ve done only four races and the road is still very, very long before you start talking about the future.”


I’ve written about this before, several times. There has been contact in the past between the two and Webber has been on Ferrari’s radar for a number of reasons; he gets on well with Fernando Alonso and is liked by Stefano Domenicali and others, he’s uncomplicated and he’s fast. He also has a lot of experience and solid engineering understanding, both of which Ferrari prize.

Many people assume that Sergio Perez is the natural choice for the Ferrari team, as he has been groomed by them in much the same way that Felipe Massa was. His berth at Sauber is part of that time-honoured process, and Perez is also a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy. However the Mexican still has a lot to prove. He is only 22 and has only one year’s worth of experience and it is not Ferrari’s way to sign drivers without quite a lot more experience than that. Massa was a bit of an exception, coming to them at 25 after three seasons with Sauber from 2002 to 2005. He also had a stint as Ferrari test driver in the days when that meant covering a serious mileage.

For Perez to be ready for Ferrari will take at least another year if not two. So it is logical, if Ferrari is thinking of dropping Massa, that it should look for a solution for the next two years and Webber is the obvious choice. He is on a rolling one year contract, keeping his options open on both sides.

There are two obvious question marks; he is a very competitive individual, so the thought of moving from Red Bull to Ferrari, if it is not a competitive car, would require some reflection. But as a keen student of the sport’s history, he may feel that with one or two years of his career left, a stint at Ferrari would add a prestigious cap to his career.

There is also the question of “not bad for a number two driver” – Webber’s famous line from the British Grand Prix of 2010 where he was disadvantaged by the team when they gave his front wing to team mate Vettel. This side of Webber is not compatible with the “Fernando is faster than you” school of management at Ferrari, to quote engineer Rob Smedley’s line when asking Felipe Massa to move aside for his team mate in Germany in 2010. Alonso is clearly the point man at Ferrari and Webber would have to find a way of fitting in with that.

Leaving aside those philosophical issues, let’s examine the practicalities. Webber’s position at Red Bull is underpinned by the support of two key people in the team; Adrian Newey and the owner Dietrich Mateschitz. Newey knows him as a reference point and trusts his instincts, while Mateschitz has always supported Webber and has a strong personal relationship with the driver. Webber does his deals direct with the boss.

Others within Red Bull are more keen to see new drivers come into the team, primarily Helmut Marko, who is responsible for the young driver development programme. For this programme to maintain its legitimacy and credibility it needs to produce another top quality driver from Toro Rosso, ready to drive a Red Bull. By abruptly dropping Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi last Christmas they left themselves in a position where they have two inexperienced drivers in the Toro Rosso team, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne. It would be asking a lot of either of them to step up to Red Bull alongside Vettel next year.

Vettel himself took that path but he had done 26 races, many of them in a competitive 2008 Toro Rosso by the time he moved up. Ricciardo has done 15 GPs to date, mostly at the back of the field and will have done 31 by the time this season ends, whereas Vergne is in his first season of F1 and has twice failed to get out of Q1. It would be a gamble to go with either man to sit alongside Vettel, who is a two times world champion at the top of his game in a team built around him.

Webber is on a rolling one year contract and common sense would suggest that Red Bull would be thinking of promoting one of the Toro Rosso drivers in 2014 rather than 2013. But a move by Webber towards Ferrari might force the issue.

Don’t miss the latest JA on F1 podcast out this week, all about how to get the most out of an F1 driver. It’s free to download just click HERE

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246 Comments
  1. Sean says:

    I think any driver would love to drive for Ferrari, even if it’s just for one or two seasons.

    Think Webber could have a say in World Championship this season, which will strengthen his negotiating position.

    1. For sure says:

      Not Vettel, at least not at the moment.

      1. Steven says:

        Vettel is smarter than to say he’d like to be at Ferrari, Im sure he’d love to race for the scuderia, but saying it gives them the upper hand in future negociations, plus it makes him look bad to the Red Bull mechanincs.

      2. Racefans says:

        What about Michael Schumacher returning to Ferrari? His contract is up with Mercedes in 2012, it would be a marketing dream for Ferrari and it would be a final swansong to an incredible career. Would Alonso’s demands override the return of the mesiah??

      3. Mitchel says:

        Racefans, the messiah is Mika Hakkinen.

        Schuey’s not the messiah (he’s a very naughty boy)!

    2. Nick James says:

      Whilst I have a HUGE dislike for Ferrari, I would like to see Mark drive for them. It would be good for him and good for Ferrari.

      Out of all of the drivers on the grid, I think Mark and Jenson are about the only drivers who could go to Ferrari and not be intimidated/bullied by Alonso and the team.

      I also don’t think it would come to the intimidation/bullying stage between Mark and Fernando. They are mates, and although this could easily fall apart, I think there is a high amount of mutual respect between the two that would prevent this.

      As much as I also dislike Alonso,I would suggest that he would not moan to the team about Mark like he does about Massa or any other team mate that he might get. Even if Mark happened to be holding him up now and then. Not that I think he would of course.

      And one things for sure – Mark wouldn’t swallow all the Ferrari team crap like some other drivers would!

      1. F1 Novice says:

        Well said….. Webber’s move on Alonso at Eau Rouge while no doubt impressing the Ferrari clan also clearly show’s he wouldn’t be intimidated by Alonso…. and in my mind although Ferrari might expect him to play second fiddle Webber would go there with much the same attitude as Button went to McLaren with…. up for the challenge and with one outcome in mind despite all the “experts” saying he would get eaten alive…. and we know what happened and is happening there ;)

    3. Danny says:

      Seems like Ferrari are becoming the retiring company… everyone believes a driver wants to finish their career there. Poppycock I say, Ferrari have a great heritage of course, but to assume ALL great drivers want to ‘finish’ there is a load of rubbish. Ferrari need to shift this image pretty quickly … I don’t get any sense of stability from them at the moment as they seem pretty un-rooted in F1 and more like a thoroughfare for has-beens.

  2. Geoff says:

    End of the road is neigh for Massa.

    1. Mr Ed says:

      He’ taking up horse riding?

      1. Marcus in Canada says:

        Judging by his speed, I think he’s riding a horse this year…

      2. Cammage says:

        Certainly not a Prancing Horse.

    2. Trev says:

      That would explain the long face!

      1. HowardHughes says:

        God what a bunch of neighsayers… Massa might yet stay with the prancing horse a while longer. I mean, to fire him now would be like shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted. Better to let him remain for the rest of the season to make hay while the sun shines. No one else can motivate him back to form but himself – after all you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. But sacking him now? That’d just be flogging a dead…

        *shoots self*

      2. Gareth says:

        Best chain of responses ever.

      3. Paul says:

        well played sir

      4. richie says:

        awesome – i commend you sir! i think you should at least be ferrari’s communications officer, who needs luca when you can have howard hughes! ;-)

      5. Sam B says:

        These actually made me laugh out loud while sitting at my desk in a very quite office :)

        As a Webber fan I’d be happy to see him at Ferrari alongside Fernando.

  3. db4tim says:

    Mark would be great with Fernando and would take the team to anew level …Mark would push ALL not just FA

    1. Peter Scandlyn says:

      Oh dear. Mark at the team I most like to dislike. It’s going to be a hard decision.

      1. Davexxx says:

        Agreed!!

      2. Valois says:

        That was perfect!

  4. Simon Benedict says:

    A well reasoned piece James.

    I think Webber at Ferrari would be a great fit.

    But if I was Mark I’d push for a two year contract at the very least.

    People seem to think he’s old but Mark is ultra fit and could easily still be going in his early 40s like Michael Schumacher and Pedro de la Rosa.

    1. Jack says:

      yeah but Mark deliberately has a one-year rolling contract with Red Bull, I assume he’d just want a similar deal at Ferrari – it would probably be better for all parties

    2. AuraF1 says:

      Isn’t mark about 8 years younger than Schumacher? He may be older than his current team mate but then I agree the fitness levels maintained by webber means he must physically be in better shape than most of the field.

      If he wants to wind his career down to go and be an adventure racer or whatever then fair enough but it’s a bit strange to write off a 36 year old when we have guys in their 40s doing the job. Schumacher may not be at his peak anymore but I think he’s shown that this myth that drivers are on the scrap heap by their mid 30s doesn’t hold up.

      I’m probably just hoping webber sticks around as he’s one of the best personalities on the grid. Don’t think I’ve ever heard a dull corporate speak interview with him once. Even when towing the party line he manages a few honest digs.

  5. Rang says:

    So where does Massa go? Is he not handicapped by the fact that team favours Alonso, they have not been able to give a good car. Could it not be the case where the car is designed for Alonso and hence Massa is struggling ? No excuses of him finishing behind, but if this is the case, will it not affect the any other driver who joins the team and is supposed to be a No.2 driver?

    1. CarlH says:

      Massa’s destination is the issue that interests me the most in all this. Where do you go when you’ve been ditched by Ferrari?

      I still think Massa has the talent to be in F1, but he desperately needs a fresh start. Too much has happened to him at Ferrari (narrowly losing out on the WDC in 2008, his accident in Hungary, looking back to his best at Hockenheim before being told to move over for Alonso).

      I’ll be sad to see him leave Ferrari but I’d love him to be a success elsewhere. It would be great if somebody like Lotus or Mercedes picked him up but sadly I can’t see that happening. Hopefully he can start again somewhere in the midfield, an un-fulfilled talent like Felipe ending up in IndyCar would be a real shame.

      P.S. I wonder if Rob Smedley will follow him when he leaves?

      1. Jack says:

        “Where do you go when you’ve been ditched by Ferrari?”

        Rally, innit

      2. Luke Harrison says:

        You have to do your own work in Rally unless Rob can co drive.

      3. Dan says:

        I see Massa heading to Williams. Don’t know why, but it just feels like a good fit. Especially if they keep moving up in the world

      4. CarlH says:

        Good call, I hadn’t even thought of that.

      5. JackFlash (Aust) says:

        Where do you go when Ferrari fires you?… History suggests Williams. Alain Prost pioneered that didn’t he? JF

    2. MISTER says:

      I see your point, but the difference is very big between Massa and Alonso. Is not like Fernando likes to use the gas pedal with his left foot and Massa has to deal with that too.

      Look at McLaren, RedBull (except the 2011 season) or any other team..the difference is not as major as we see at Ferrari.

      1. For sure says:

        Not in the last race, they say you are only as good as your last race. If that’s the case then it is nothing.

    3. Hendo says:

      NASCAR ! next stop for Massa

      1. Luke Harrison says:

        Indy more than likely with his bestie Rubens. Massa was his guest at the last Indy race.

    4. Ferrari haven’t given him a good car? The 2010 car was good enough to be leading the championship until the last race of season. The 2011 season was an outlier with nobody able to challenge RBR, even then the Ferrari was competitive enough to get one win. The 2012 car, so far, has been good enough to get one win and see a Ferrari driver well within striking distance of the championship.

      I like Massa as much as the next guy, but he is running out of time. Ferrari know he is fast, but he just doesn’t seem to be able to work around the issues that Alonso can. I was afraid that when Alonso went to Ferrari that he would be consistently out qualified by Massa, I have been surprised that he hasn’t. I still think that given a stable, highly competitive car, that Massa can be as fast as anyone, maybe faster, he just can’t seem to get the job done with a car that isn’t perfect.

      The lack of testing, degradation of tires and general competitiveness of the competition have all conspired to relegate Massa to the mid-field.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        You were afraid Massa would out-qualify Alonso…
        there are no words to express my disbelief at your statement!
        Testing, degradation of tyres and competition is the same for everyone, but what you are not allowing is the simple fact that he is up against one of the greatest drivers in history.

      2. Shane says:

        I agree that Alonso is one of the best of all time. I do think even he will admit that he isn’t necessarily the fastest over one lap. I think given the right car, Massa could be the fastest over one lap. Actually, I am N=not sure about now, maybe his confidence is too low, but certainly when Alonso first moved to Ferrari I thought that.

      3. Rang says:

        I think the car is designed for Alonso, hence Massa has struggled. technically I believe that could be a reason….yes other aspects come in when you are behind like lack of confidence…

      4. kenninty says:

        Ferrari haven’t built a good car since 2008.
        The 2009 car was awful, with one lucky win in Belgium. The 2010 car was terrible, it scored only one win (as well) before the Valencia upgrade which was for all intents and purposes a b-spec car. Last year they were fundamentally outperformed by both RB and McLaren. And this year they are being fundamentally outperformed by most of the mid-field.
        So, I would say that the second half of 2010 is really the outlier in what has otherwise been a very uncompetitive four seasons for Ferrari (including this one) :S

      5. Shane says:

        I guess our definition of a good car is different. I think being able to reach at least 3rd in the championship for 10 straight years isn’t too terrible. 2009 is the only year they didn’t finish in the top 3, but I think it is a valid argument to say that the car was capable of scoring at least 2 more points had Massa not been injured. I guess I disagree with the sentiment that Ferrari haven’t provided a good car. I would agree that they haven’t provided a championship winning car in a while, but the car has been good enough to be running in the top three.

      6. test says:

        And let’s not forget that most of Alonso’s points that year came because of Vettel and Hamilton’s unluckiness and because the car was bulletproof. By all means, Alonso was only the 4th best driver that year. At best.

    5. Glennb says:

      Where does Massa go? Easy. Red Bull. As claimed by many punters on this forum, it’s all about the car, not the driver. Massa would theoretically finish directly behind Seb each week and Mark would finish behind Fernando. This forum established last year that *anyone* could win in a Red Bull as the car was generally superior (2011)and that the driver (SV) had little to do with it. Why would changing drivers have any significant effect on the success of the car this year?
      The only valid reason I see for Mark changing teams is money. Nothing else makes sense. Who cares who drove 2nd fiddle Ferrari.
      Mark, stay with RBR, win yourself the title and walk away a winner ;)

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        If Mark Webber does happen to win the World Championship this year, I think he probably will retire. If he does still want to race, then he should consider completing his final season or two at Ferrari (if that is made an option for him).

        If he doesn’t win the title this year but comes close, and he feels that RBR are truly supporting him then he would probably stay for another shot. If RBR want him out, then he may retire or should he want to stay in F1, I think it would have to be at Ferrari. I don’t think he would bother finishing his career with any other team.

  6. Michael S says:

    I fear Ferrari have no interest in anyone that can push Alonso. Webber is a great pick for a guy that will bring home points, but not step on Alonso’s toes. Someone like Perez would push Alonso too much and that is not something I am guessing Ferrari, Santander and least of all Alonso want.

    1. MISTER says:

      I disagree. Perez sometimes can’t even push Kobayashi and you think he will push Alonso?

      Ohh wait, Perez did push Kobayashi….off the track!

      1. Agreed! Why don’t people talk up Kamui more? True Perez has a P2, but Kamui seems to be more than his equal thus far. Kamui seems to be working out his flaws (qualifying) and he is so much fun to watch. I would love to see him mature at Sauber a bit more and move up, I think it would be great for F1 in general.

      2. Simmo says:

        and if we think back to Canada, it was Kamui in 2nd in the wet, until it dried up

      3. Dave Aston says:

        Kobayashi – Red Bull. Please!

      4. test says:

        More than his equal? You must be joking.

        In Australia he was vastly outperformed by a one-stopping Perez even with his teammate starting _last_. The only reason Kamui finished above Checo was because of Rosberg’s brain fade moment.
        Where was he in Malaysia when Perez finished on the podium?
        In Bahrain, Kamui was legitimately outqualified and outraced.

        The only time Kobayashi did better was in China. He’s severely overrated, despite being a nice guy. His aggressiveness and the entertainment he brings while driving are the only reason people value him so highly. It’s the same reason why Senna was so ungodly overrated.

        To be fair, though, Perez isn’t all that he’s cut out to be either – Sauber had the best car in Malaysia, and this season’s been a fully randomized one at best. I only see two real replacements for Massa in 2013: Kubica (who is also overrated, though to a lesser extent) and himself.

        Webber? Don’t make me laugh.

    2. Rob says:

      Why would they want someone to push Alonso?

      You think that he needs pushing?!

      They pay him $40m a year because he doesn’t need to be pushed by anyone to be only driver in field to consistently be able race their car faster than anyone else would be able to…. They need a safe pair of hands to score team points and deprive rivals of points.

      1. Michael S says:

        What I meant was… Alonso is clearly a 1 on that team and yes, Webber would have to move over for him no matter what all of you think. Alonso had Fisi, Massa, Truli move over and wanted Hamilton to move over as well… anyone remember Indy ’07? I am not saying that makes him a bad guy, but he comes with clear #1 tagged to him and if you want to go to Ferrari you will not drive even with him should you find yourself in front of him you will be asked to move…

      2. Nathan says:

        Remember Indy 06 when Alonso moved over for Fisi??? Alonso only tells the team to move the other car over when he is clearly faster. Why risk an accident with your teammate when rule 1 of F1 is you never crash into your teammate.

      3. kfzmeister says:

        Alonso is clearly that because he’s earned it.
        If he’s pounding in faster times than the teammate, why not tell him to move over? Why risk a Redbull scenario like Turkey in 2010?
        Renault just told Grosjean the same thing in Bahrain. As a matter of fact, it could just about have been Smedley that delivered that message.

      4. Valois says:

        That’s why team orders were allowed in F1. There’s no point in discussing this matter anymore; teams may tell their drivers exactly what to do in terms of position switching.

      5. Wade Parmino says:

        Alonso and Ferrari need a driver who is willing to accept being the wingman of the number one driver.

        A situation like the one in 1978 at Lotus. Ronnie Petersen was employed under the condition that he support Mario Andretti’s title campaign and score points for the team. Ronnie Petersen was arguably the greatest ‘number two’ in F1 history. He honored his pledge to the orignal Team Lotus, Colin Chapman as well as Andretti. Sadly, his second place in the championship was posthumous.

        Some teams give drivers equal status. Some do not. Ferrari it seems, is one that does not. This is just the way they conduct their race team and any prospective driver to Ferrari should consider this factor. Are they being employed as a Primary or a Secondary driver? and Are they willing to accept their place?

      6. Alex W says:

        There was a guy that could have won the WDC, but got out of the car mid race and handed it to Fangio, so he could win another WDC, he was the ultimate #2!

    3. Tom21 says:

      I disagree, I think Webber will outqualify Alonso on a regular basis. Webber is a bloody good driver and can drive anything fast.

  7. Stuart says:

    Really interesting to see who supports him at Ferrari and Red Bull. I think Webber will be tempted to ‘tick the final box’ of his F1 career with time at Ferrari. Good luck to him. He would do well and help push the team forward.

  8. falonso says:

    Webber has never stepped away from any battle while Ferrari does not have a car putting them in a position to renounce to any points…. Both Webber and Ferrari wouldn’t have anything to loose.
    As for Perez, if Sauber develops this season as it seems, it makes sense that Roman Abramovich will further buy in into the team. It might then became difficult to get Perez. And it might actually open a further perspective for Hamilton (other than the impossible Red Bull option).
    Wouldn’t all of this be nice?

    1. CarlH says:

      I seriously think Hamilton should scribble his name on a new McLaren contract ASAP.

      With the likely musical chairs at the end of this season he could end up finding himself in an uncompetitive team for a season or two, just like Alonso did when he left McLaren.

      Looking at it realistically, there aren’t that many options for Lewis with the top teams, and I think McLaren know that… hence their relaxed approach to re-signing him.

      1. SJM says:

        ..that could all change if he wins WDC2012..

      2. AB says:

        No it won’t.

      3. kfzmeister says:

        I think it would be good to see what Hamilton could do in an uncompetitive car. He didn’t look like a master when he did. Actually, i remember him complaining a lot. You ever hear Alonso do that??

      4. Valois says:

        No he WON’T.

  9. Aditya says:

    i dont think Alonso would expect Webber to move aside like he would Massa. it’ll be much more competitive, and that’s good for the team, coz however competitive Mark is, he knows when to stop. even in the Turkish GP (2010), it was clearly Seb who moved across and hit Mark. and in Silverstone last year and China this year, and in many other races, he raced Seb and raced hard, but didnt collide with him. so, i think he’s a solid guy, and actually, even though i’m a big Alonso fan, i really hope Mark clinches the WDC title he’s long due, hopefully this season.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Look at both of them last year, going side by side into Eau Rouge….

      1. Nick says:

        that was stunning.

      2. kfzmeister says:

        That was clean racing between two guys that know and respect each other. Teams want mates like that!

      3. . says:

        That was stupid. If Alonso had not backed off, we would have 2 dead drivers.

      4. Rust says:

        Would be even more stunning with two Ferraris side by side

      5. olivier says:

        A heart-stopping moment that was. F1 in its purest form. They ought to be dead.

        Belof springs to mind: http://youtu.be/AqaVqx9AepY

      6. Doohan says:

        Also his moves at Singapore going into the chicane. They’ve got a great sense of mutual respect when racing eachother.

      7. Dean V says:

        Best pass of the season in my opinion…

  10. Ben Cosgrove says:

    Good article James, would be good to see Mark in a Ferrari to see what he could do against Alonso.

    One minor mistake is Massa’s % of points against Alonso. Its actually 4.6%. Still a pretty poor ratio!

    1. Andy Redden says:

      I spotted that too, you were right with the 0.04, but for it to be a percentage you needed to x100.

      1. kfzmeister says:

        See what Webbo can do in a Ferrari against Alonso? I can tell you already that he can do better than Massa, but that’s about it.

  11. Jared says:

    Kimi to RedBull?

    1. Chetz says:

      Was waiting for this one. Took 10 comments for someone to say this. What a rush it would be if this happens!

    2. LiamC says:

      I think so too. Did you see Christian Horner being *very* chummy with Kimi after the finish of Bahrain before the presentation ceremony? Kimi at RBR indeed.

      1. kfzmeister says:

        Kimi’s gonna be Champ this year……..in a Lotus!!! Switch to RBR would only ruin his chances.

      2. Valois says:

        That would be amazing not only for his fans, but for the entire sport.

      3. Angelina says:

        LiamC
        Vettel wanted Kimi for 2012 and Horner rejected him. I don’t think he will sign Kimi or any other WDC as long as Vettel is with Redbull.

  12. Sut says:

    Matechitz has always supported Webber ????
    Only when Vettel is nowhere near. Turkey the other year ? Silverstone ?

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      You’re wrong, it’s Horner and especially Marko who give full support to Vettel.
      Mateschitz has always given equal support to Webber.

      1. Sut says:

        I stand corrected. Cheers guys.

      2. Angelina says:

        Sut
        You were right.
        Mateschtiz favors Vettel over Webber. Only in media he likes to say both are equal.

        But he is right to favor Vettel isn’t he? All the teams favor better drivers. no team has 2 equal drivers.

      3. Valois says:

        Angelina

        no team has 2 equal drivers, agreed. But can’t see McLaren favouring Hamilton over Button (or the other way around).

    2. Marcus in Canada says:

      I think James means Matechitz personally, not all of RedBull.

  13. AMSG says:

    I would love to see a Webber / Ferrari swan song.
    So it’s 2 years at Ferrari or 1 year at RedBull still, before retirement
    I know which I would take and I think Mark is the sort of guy who could move and keep everyone happy.

    1. Wild Man says:

      That is actually an interesting point. I can see Mark having just one more year at Red Bull & then one of the Torro Rosso drivers moving up.

      Moving to Ferrari next year & that opens up a drive for slightly longer.

  14. Mark in Australia says:

    This rumor just won’t go away! Is there any truth to it? Only a few people on this earth know the answer to that question for sure…

    Personally I’d love to see Mark finish off at Ferrari, unfortunately for Mark though I doubt he’d be adding to his tally of wins if he turned red…

    As the piece says though; the options for replacing Massa, which is inevitable, seem few and far between though

  15. Kate says:

    Interesting analysis James. I’m still not sure if I’m convinced I believe the latest rumours but it’s good to get some background on the practicalities.

    I can’t help but notice that when you discussed Red Bull, Horner wasn’t mentioned once. Is that telling of his level of input in decisions such as this?

  16. Rafael says:

    Mark Webber going to Ferrari could be good for both the team and himself. It could be good for him if he knows and will fully accept the reality of his role going into the team i.e. being Fernando’s wingman. Plus, he’s solidly quick and highly competent on the technical aspect – competencies that can drive the team forward. I understand Felipe is quite weak on the latter, hence him constantly needing Michael Schumacher’s coaching back in the Raikkonen/Massa days.

    If Mark does join Ferrarii, I can imagine him fitting into a role where he won’t be quite as quick as the team’s no. 1 driver, but quick enough to consistently rake in a big points haul and be ready to pick up the pieces when Alonso hits trouble; similar to DC and Barrichello back in the day.

    Given Webber’s competitive nature, IF he does join Ferrari he’ll might want to chill out a bit and relax and look a things the way Eddie Irvine once did: he’ll most probably be no. 2, but at least he’ll be provided a competitive enough car and be paid lots of money.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Interesting point, I never thought about it, but after his accident, Schumacher signed for Mercedes, hence hasn’t been around Massa at all.
      So during 2007 to 2009, Massa was stronger and stronger than Kimi.
      2010 to date, he’s lost all sense of direction.

  17. RS: “Mark, Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand that message?”

    MW: “Got it mate. He’ll be able to get past me then won’t he?”

    1. michael grievson says:

      Love it. Made me laugh out loud

      1. marco pizzuti says:

        Now im a huuuge Ferrari and Alonso fan and that just made me CRACK up with imense laughter mate … great line :)

        On another note , James , how do you think Jamie Alguseari would fair in the other Ferrari ? I think he owuld do pretty well as a team mate to Alonso as a great learning Curve …

        Thoughts ?

    2. Mani says:

      Nice one :)

    3. MISTER says:

      Nice one. I love Mark’s nature. He’s great for F1.

    4. F1 dingo says:

      one of the great posts my friend – genius.

    5. Nick says:

      classic lol!

    6. John says:

      tasty

    7. olivier says:

      haha :D hilarious!! Made my day!

    8. LiamC says:

      +1. James, in you legion of fans of this site, you must have a cartoonist. Quizzical’s comment really deserves a pic and front page post :)

      1. James Allen says:

        Do we have a cartoonist amongst us? Please get in touch on james@jamesallenonf1.com

    9. Mike J says:

      +10 now that was funny!

    10. Pat Guillon says:

      As dry as the Aussie outback – Love it!

    11. Horoldo says:

      Cracked me up. Great line. Totally MWesk.

    12. Grayzee (Australia) says:

      Bwahahahaha……..good one!

    13. Luke Harrison says:

      MW: What was that mate… i was sick in my helmet.

    14. Valois says:

      Good one!

  18. Chris says:

    you mean 4.5%? Though that’s still 1/10th of last year’s performance.

  19. Dave says:

    Hi James – interesting stuff! I think Webber might be a good fit at Ferrari, as long as they keep the team orders incredibly rare!

  20. S2K says:

    I agree that Perez does not have enough experience to drive in a team that (should) target the constructors’ world title, so Webber seems a very logical choice. However, a move to Ferrari is going to be the beginning of the end for Webber because I can’t see him beating Alonso or being favoured by Ferrari. Unless, of course, Webber is aiming to pump up few more millions into this bank account… But Webber ain’t that driver. He still wants to win the title and he has what it takes to do it.

  21. Mike J says:

    Thanks James. What an excellent summary of the situation with no ‘given’ answers!!

    As much as I would love to see Webber at Ferrari it would be so hard for him to leave a team that he has helped grow and develop into what it is now. Good points about the respect by Newey and Dietrich – points some people miss about him. He is fast, insanely competitive and has that famous ‘black jack’ approach to racing (and a small bit of his engineering thoughts).

    However unless Dan or Jean step up to the plate quickly, I cannot see RB letting him go. I would see them offering him a big, BIG package one more time.

    Perez. Well we has seen and heard many proclaiming the arrival of Kobi 3 seasons back as a Ferrari potential and look now. Nothing really stands out with him and although Perez had the Malaysia’ great run, he will need more runs on the board before Ferrari take up the option. Time will tell.

    Heart says Ferrari, head says RB. Mark made that mistake before with Williams instead of Renault, will he do the same again?? But a Ferrari drive is something dreams are made off.

    Webber has been lurking around Mugello and Alonso for some time now?

    I will believe it more when I hear that an Italian language tutor is seen leaving Webbers house. (James – is the language thing a problem in real terms?)

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I think Ferrari has started a long process to be at the forefront of F1 once more.

      Having Alonso on the driving front means that if the car isn’t performing, the problem is the car, not the driver.
      Nearly winning the 2010WDC may have, in hindsight, been worse than failing miserably.
      After all, post Silverstone, Alonso was 47 point behind.
      Ferrari would not have seen the warning signs that his brilliance have masked.
      2011, they seemed to blame the EBD.
      But this year, they have no excuses, hence why Fry can get away with his comments about their infrastructure.
      Any driver joining Ferrari next year will have a more competitive package than they have now.

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      I would say the language barrier is not an issue at all. After all, through most of F1 history Ferrari has had non-Italian drivers; Lauda, Schecter, Berger, Mansell, Prost, Irvine, Schumacher, Raikinnen and many others. Alonso speaks with his Italian engineer in English!

      1. Mike J says:

        I agree that Ferrari have had a number of non-italians however i suppose it was more to do with day to day around the factory and functions etc etc. The drivers you mention did speak a little Italian and Schumacher particular was quite good with his.

        Webber, i think, he would struggle past ‘ciao’ at present

  22. Sri says:

    What about Kimi to RB in 2013 or later?

    1. Allan says:

      I think this must be a real possibility. With the Torro Rosso guys needing another year or so, Kimi could be a good option in the absence of Mark. Plus, he and Seb get on well.

      The question though is what happens further down the road? Kimi would not want to accept a one-year only type deal (I think).

    2. Luke Harrison says:

      And don’t forget, Kimi was a Red Bull guy in the WRC, even when competing for his own team.

  23. Grayzee (Australia) says:

    Well, as a fellow Australian and known Webber fan, I hope he does NOT go to Ferrari. Mark would not make a very pleasent “number 2″ driver, as James says in the article. Better that he retire now, on his terms, while on top, than risk being lumbered with uncompetive car, and expected to play second fiddle.
    Mind you, if he DID go, and then beat Alonso, he would be sticking it to all his critics. that may be a very tempting challenge for him……
    He did a pretty good job on Boy Wonder in the first 3 races this year…..so….

  24. 69bhp says:

    Massa has 0.04% of Alonso’s points? You may want to recompute that. Felipe’s having a tough time but it’s not quite so bad…

  25. Syed Saif Ali says:

    That would rather not be good for Red Bull Renault if Webber joins Ferrari..
    If Ferrari needs to replace Massa, They should go for Perez..
    But if Webber wants to join the Ferrari team, leaving RedBull behind, that surely will be good for Ferrari and worse for RedBull..

  26. michael grievson says:

    Personally I think Webber should stay at RedBull. I don’t think he’ll be a WDC but he gets on well with most people and can voice his opinion. I don’t see Ferrari putting up with him speaking his mind.

  27. Kevin McCaughey says:

    I can’t see it. This would presuppose a level of vanity that Mark has thus far failed to come close to.

    Why would he do it? Number 2 to ‘Nando? Being beaten by his friend every weekend? It would strain their friendship for one thing, and I think Mark values his (real) friendships much more than the pizazz of saying he drove for Ferrari for a season or two.

    I just can’t see it – for personal reasons, to do with the psychology of the man, not so much for the logical ones.

  28. CTP says:

    webber usually tells it like it is… and there’s nothing close to a denial here!

  29. Warwick says:

    Very very interesting. What do you personally suspect will happen should Massa continue to under perform this season? If they dropped him mid year, would that throw out the Webber romour?

    1. Valois says:

      That’s not Ferrari-like, dropping a driver mid-season. Furthermore, who would replace him?

  30. Andy says:

    Webber seems to be holding the cards here. The measures Ferrari are now putting in place tends to make me think they will be much stronger next year. If Webber does want to drive for Ferrari, this would be his one and only chance and as you say, a fine way to end a career. As for team orders, he knows what he would be going into and he certainly wouldn’t be at a worse disadvantage than he already is at Red Bull.
    The most interesting thing is what would happen at Red Bull. Their young driver programme doesn’t seem to be yielding much so would they look a more experienced driver in the short term. I can’t see any of the top drivers wanting to go there, especially with Vettel’s Dr Marko lurking in the shadows.

  31. iceman says:

    “0.04% of Alonso’s points”? I think you may have pressed the wrong button on the calculator James ;)

    1. James Allen says:

      Sorry, typo. 4% Thanks

  32. Richard B. says:

    ferrari need webber more than he needs them. if he wants to win he should stay at red bull, if a bigger wage and history is important to him he should got to ferrari. it’s an incredibly fortunate position to be in, but whichever he chooses, his team-mate will beat him

  33. David S says:

    There is another important element to this…Red Bull have been able to keep most of their Intellectual Property intact by retaining key staff members – you would expect Webber to have a pretty good insight into the RB tech that propeeled them to the top and assess comparitive strengths and weaknesses of chassis/engine/technology.

    James,
    Is this Ferrari’s ‘prize’ as much as anything else?

  34. CarlH says:

    I’d quite like to see this. Not sure Fernando and Mark would remain on such close terms if it happened though.

    Regarding Red Bull, how about Raikkonen to replace Webber? He always seems to be on very good terms with Christian Horner when they are seen together, and obviously he’s already good friends with Vettel.

    Moving Kimi in would give Ricciardo and Vergne more time, and I would guess he’s likely to quit for good in a few years anyway, leaving room for one of them to move in.

    Probably just wishful thinking but I’d love to see Raikkonen and Vettel in equal machinery.

    1. MISTER says:

      So, Alonso and Webber would not be good in same team because of their friendship but Kimi and Vettel would?

      I can’t understand you.

      1. CarlH says:

        Where did I say Alonso and Webber wouldn’t be good in the same team?

        I simply ventured an opinion that they probably wouldn’t maintain such a close friendship.

        [mod]

    2. Max Smoot says:

      All this talk about Kimi to Red Bull…surely he doesn’t want to become #2 to Vettel. Besides, the Lotus appears to be turning into a real contender. I see Kimi (and Grosjean too for that matter) staying with a team that can surely challenge for the top if not immediately.

  35. Mael says:

    There is another side to this and that is Fernando.

    Ferrari need to keep him happy and the best way to do that is build a more competitive car & team. He and Mark are very good friends and Mark will bring more of what they need and contribute immediately in development.

    For me this is as much about keeping Alonso as it is about replacing an underperforming team mate.

    Webber ticks all the boxes for Ferrari, but whether they can tempt him away from his spiritual home remains to be seen.

  36. Chris says:

    Surely Mark would prefer to stay driving Newey designed cars that have won so many races and championships then move to driving for ferrari with the results their design team has been producing of late?

    1. Heinzman says:

      Newey cars aren’t as successful as everyone makes out, you can argue that or you can say that it is more than one man that makes the difference. Before 2010, a Newey car had not won a driver/constructor championship since Mika in 1999

  37. Don says:

    I have always respected Webber and I am also a Massa fan, but looking at Massa and Ferrari I think it would be in the best interest of both Ferrari and Massa to part ways. I would hope that Massa can get a seat somewhere else like Sauber or Force India. Webber would be a good fit on the Ferrari team except for the Alonso ego problem. If Alonso can put his ego aside and work with Webber I think Ferrari and Alonso could really benefit from Webbers experience and driving style.

    1. I don’t see Alonso’s ego as a problem, in fact I think it is great! His ego is what pushes him, his ego is what allows him to throw a multi-million dollar marvel of aerospace engineering into a corner with the confidence that is required to actually pull it off.

      His ego also makes him believe he is faster than the guy in front of him, irregardless of what the stopwatch says. The unwavering belief in his ability is why he is a double world champion. He doesn’t draw confidence from the car, or from his mechanics or from the tires or from thousands of fans waving red flags as he drives by; he draws confidence from himself.

      I imagine all great drivers are this way. It isn’t a bad thing to have an ego, especially not when you can back it up.

      1. Max Smoot says:

        Completely agree. Sounds exactly like Senna’s self-assessment.

      2. falonso says:

        Ego plus experience definitevely add to a drivers performance. If not based on performance, why is Alonso supposed to have a bigger ego than any other driver anyway?

      3. Don says:

        I think you misunderstand. I mean his ego with-in the team. He as well as all the drivers need there personal ego’s to make it to where there have in the sport.

      4. Shane says:

        I don’t think I misunderstand, I just don’t see it as a problem.

  38. Andrew Halliday says:

    Great article James, you’ve presented both the argument for Webber staying at Red Bull and moving to Ferrari very well – each as persuasive as the other.

    Would you be prepared to stick your neck out and predict where Webber will be next year? I’m still undecided, I wonder what the general consensus would be…

    1. James Allen says:

      As MW says himself it’s still early days. I think things will move around Germany/ Hungary time.

      I can see him at Ferrari, but I can also see him staying.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Is that picket fence painted now? It seems to be a comfortable seat, lol

      2. Dan Orsino says:

        James, do you think Massa can last the rest of the season?

        Is Trulli a possible short term option if the Italian media bay for Massa’s blood?

      3. James Allen says:

        I’d be very surprised if they dropped him before the end of the year

        As for Trulli I don’t think so, no.

      4. Wade Parmino says:

        Fisichella should have been kept and Massa dropped back in 2009. It could be considered cruel for Massa but that would have been Ferrari’s best option. Alonso and Fisichella from 2010 onwards would have been a far better pairing. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  39. Arvin S says:

    So, how’s the 2013 Driver’s line-up going to pan out??

    Ferrari- Webber: They need him & his expertise with setups and experience. Also, he comes in with a lot of “RedBull” secrets. Ferrari would be foolish not to sign him up and retain Massa.

    Mercedes- Hamilton or Raikkonen: either is a very good fit/classy and Mercedes would gain a huge fanbase with either if Schumi decides to leave. Either way, both will bring a lot to the Mercedes table. Mercedes need Hamilton more than Hamilton needs Mercedes, hence, first choice.

    RedBull- Hamilton or Raikkonen: same as above. Although, more chances of Raikkonen going at RedBull alongside Vettel than Hamilton due to conflict of perception.

    Mclaren- Hamilton or Raikkonen: Hamilton looks like he’ll remain, if he doesn’t get a Mega Offer from Mercedes. If he moves, Mclaren have no other choice than Raikkonen as an immediate replacement. Or they can go with a young upcoming star-in-the-making.

    In short, Webber, Hamilton & Raikkonen are key to the driver market for 2013 amongst the top teams. All three are good enough to force the issue. It’s going to be very interesting indeed to follow these developments and rumors

    1. AH Jordan says:

      The one seat no-one so far has linked Webber with is Hamilton’s seat at McLaren.

      I could actually see Webber fitting in very well at the Whitmarsh-era McLaren…

      Am I right in thinking that him and Button are also friends?

  40. Anand R says:

    2013: Hamilton to RBR; Webber to Ferrari; Kimi/Turvey to Mclaren; maybe Massa to Lotus

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Whatever happened to Kimi’s 2 year arrangement with Lotus, but more importantly, Button’s multi year contract at Mclaren.

      Just in case it’s escaped anyone’s notice, Kimi spoke to Mclaren for 2010 and they decided on Button.
      They knew him from 2002 to 2006, if he was that incredible, they would have moved heaven and earth to get him back.
      Don’t hold your breath.

      1. Anand R says:

        Kimi is on a One Year contract with Lotus. And as far as I recollect in 2010, he wasn’t selected on terms surrounding Driver Fees and other Mclaren-specific sponsorship commitments. And why would Mclaren, a top team, take risks with Kimi who was 2 years out of F1 and has a history of being dis-interested and not motivated.

        But now, the story is different, Kimi has proved his skills haven’t gone anywhere and is as fast as he was say in Suzuka 2005!
        And moreover if Hamilton leaves (looks more and more likely), who is a top driver left to replace him..Mclaren should then move heaven and earth to bring the ice man back where he belonged!

      2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        You are forgetting that they would have had to make Kimi an offer that was worth him walking away from his Ferrari retainer for 2010.

      3. DanWilliams says:

        The Kimi/Mclaren deal didn’t go ahead becasue of $$$. Kimi is worth a lot more than Button (well at that stage anyway), remember Button was happy to drive for nothing the previous year and only recently has Button negotiated for a salary more in line with Hamilton. McLaren couldn’t afford to pay both hamilton and Kimi at the time. Also the McLaren engineers now too well what Kimi is worth speed wise as they have been to most outspoken over the years about his speed, understanding of the car, and focus.

      4. Nathan says:

        i remember reading at the end of 09 that Macca really wanted Kimi but couldn’t come to terms with promo days and stuff. I wouldn’t rule it out but if he did move i think it might be to RBR.

  41. I would love to see Webber get the WDC this year, McLaren get the WCC and Ferrari take both next year with Alonso and Webber driving for them!

    1. AB says:

      And, under this scenario, what number would Alonso have on the car next year? I would like to see that purely to see Alonso’s reaction…)

  42. Zach says:

    This is exciting. I honestly hope that Webber moves to Ferrari; although I have my favorite team and driver there is almost no one I don’t like. So whenever there is a chance for someone to perform better I’m all for it. I wish everyone could somehow win :D

  43. hero_was_senna says:

    I’m assuming by the lack of noise, that Kubica won’t be testing for Ferrari any time soon?

    1. Max Smoot says:

      Does anyone really believe that Kubica will ever be back in an F1 car? The injuries that he sustained have certainly compromised his fine motor control. That said, his presence on the grid would be a terrific thing for the sport and would say a great deal about the human spirit.

  44. James Clayton says:

    “Others within Red Bull are more keen to see new drivers come into the team, primarily Helmut Marko, who is responsible for the young driver development programme.”

    Sorry this is about as good an opportunity I think I’m going to get

    I’m getting more and more irritated with the presence of Torro Rosso. It’s only recently dawned on me WHY I’m so irritated with them. You see, every team on the grid, bar them, is there for the ultimate prize of a championship. Sure Williams have got a long way to go to regain their former glory. And one has a difficult time imagining Sauber or Caterham ever making the jump, but regardless of ability, that is what they exist to do… get up and up the grin and ultimately challenge for drivers and constructors championships. Torro Rosso, on the other hand, would cause an great embarrassment for their owners if they were to win either championship. It was embarrassing enough for them when Torro Rosso won a race before Red Bull. Just imagine if they one year came up with a car more competitive than the A team? Torro Rosso’s brief is essentially to “stay somewhere around the midfield. Don’t dip too low, and don’t reach too high”.

    What a waste of 2 spaces on the grid.

    1. Daniel MA says:

      Well said, although as I said before all this is Red Bull’s fault, I’m sure if you ask any mechanic, engineer or anyone at STR they’ll say their goal is to win not to be a kindergarten, I think they deserve better than this, Red Bull should sell the team in my opinion.

      1. AB says:

        Well, we better get rid of Sauber and Force India then. Torro Rosso are Red Bull’s junior team, Sauber are tied in with Ferrari and FI with Mercedes. What’s good for the goose…

    2. Mat says:

      so what’s HRT, Marussia or Caterhams purpose then? seeing as they are behind TorroRosso. You think they have realistic goals of winning a race let alone a championship spending 1/10th the budget.

      you forget the History of Minardi that goes along with Torro Rosso, the same spirit that still lives in Torro Rosso, Better that that lives on as opposed to some upstarts who can’t even get cars to pre-season testing or fails to qualify

      1. James Clayton says:

        Doesn’t matter that they are behind. If they had the opportunity to go for the championship they would do it. Their purpose is to improve and win. Torro Rosso is to pretty much maintain position, and make sure you don’t upset the sister team.

        Can you really not see the difference?

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        Say for instance (as highly unlikely as it is), Ricciardo or Vergne finds himself leading a race and actually has enough pace to stay ahead of Vettel or Webber running in second place. I don’t think Franz Tost is just going to say to his driver “let him through”. Even if Christian Horner had the arrogance to tell Tost to give the order. Team orders is one thing. But THAT would be ridiculous.

        And besides, if Mateschitz owns both teams, then the winnings are all going to the same place.

      3. James Allen says:

        Yes, but the Red Bull driver is going for the championship and that’s the bigger prize…

    3. mazirian says:

      I have had EXACTLY the same thoughts and agree 100%. They are a waste of space to me. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall ever hearing about a Toro Rosso fan. Is there such a thing?

  45. Marc Aubry says:

    MW will do what he thinks is wise and i will support him both ways. Still, I don’t really like the idea of him going to Ferrari. There it is likely that he would have to support FA. While he may not be the favorite son in red bull. He seems to be allowed to race all on track. This year could be telling for many drivers as it is going to be tight. They are going to have to be fast of course, but thinking as well, and it will highlight the more complete racers out there. MW, is one of them for me. Marc

  46. James Clayton says:

    “get up and up the grin”

    while I’m sure it would give them a grin, I clearly meant to say:

    “get up the grid and ultimately…”

    :)

  47. Dougel says:

    Does this mean Kubica definitely isn’t coming back?

  48. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    James, why do not think about Webber in McLaren, he will be allowed to win without team orders, and get along with Button easily.

    I think there are 6 champions and 2 more experienced stars (Rosberg and Webber), each big team has already a champion, McLaren has two, and the other teams will want to have two champions\stars too (like Red Bull with Vettel-Webber).

    So there are 5 big teams and only 8 big drivers with experience.

    Maybe the first word will be decided by Hamilton and the remaining will be with that that is left. And if a spot is not fulfilled in McLaren or Merc, Di Resta will be the candidate.

  49. Adrian Morse says:

    Isn’t Kimi under contract for next year? Anyway, why not add another name to the hat: Davide Valsecchi is an Italian and on his way to crush the oppostion in GP2 (I know he’s in his fifth year and Ferrari don’t hire rookies, but as we’re speculating anyway…).

  50. Blade Runner says:

    Just wanted to say a big thank you James for your site and articles like this.

    Far, far better analysis and properly thought through speculation than the other F1 sites.

    Just saying.

    PS. Ferrari would be a very nice way for the Aussie charger to round off his career IMO. Mark seems to be one of the most grounded and likable drivers in the paddock, kind of bloke you can imagine having a chat with down the local.

  51. Kenny says:

    James, what about Buemi who Red Bull “kept” in the sense that he is the reserve driver for them? I know he hasn’t made particularly “eye opening” performances, but just wondering if he was ever factored in as well.
    Back to Webber though, there was also the “maintain the gap” message to him at Silverstone last season which was obviously not taken too well by many. Personally I find it a difficulty talking about the team orders that go on in F1 because I both acknowledge it’s required in a team sport, but at the same time there are appropriate moments to use it so I’ll leave it at that and whatever people’s views are on it that’s up to them.
    On the other hand, given that Webber and Alonso do get along so well could we be seeing another harmonious driver pairing as we’ve seen with Lewis and Jenson?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, he will not get the chance. He’d be driving now if he was going to.

  52. DB says:

    Massa is a product of Ferrari from the time when they were at the top. Now they are not and the management has talked that the “ferrari way” of doing things isn’t working (http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/04/fry-delivers-stark-assessment-of-ferrari-shortcomings/). I wonder… does that include drivers groomed the “ferrari way”?

  53. kp says:

    Hamilton will quit F1 at the end of his year. His ‘brand’ value is in terminal decline. A move to NASCAR or rallying seem the most likely options.

    The big question, who will take his place?

    1. James Clayton says:

      funny

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      Interesting comment. I don’t know if it will be next year or a few years away yet, but I think Hamilton racing in NASCAR does seem to be likely. If he wanted, he could become the most highly paid driver in all of world motorsport, on par with Schumacher in his prime. NASCAR has never had a black driver who is competitive. Lewis surely would be and this makes him a marketers dream. NASCAR has always struggled to seriously tap into a fan base of the African-American demographic. I have heard this concept previously be referred to as the “Tiger Woods Effect”. His girlfriend is also American. It all seems to fit so perfectly, doesn’t it?

      If he does go to NASCAR, good on him. It can only be a good thing for motorsport in general.

  54. Truth or lies says:

    James,

    If Felipe’s season stablises (like Bahrain) but in the end he does leave Ferrari at the end of the year, where do you think he can, will or should go?

      1. mark Roberts says:

        In a straight swap with Perez?

  55. Dan Orsino says:

    I’d say Ferrari’s problem is THE CAR, not really the drivers.

    Ferrari have failed in the areas of design, engineering, aero, etc.
    they have been outclassed by RBR McLaren Lotus Merc.
    The solution is not Webber so much as first class engineering innovators.
    Where to find them? that’s the question..

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      I don’t think the blame can be attributed soley to the car. Last year Alonso performed better than Massa. The car was OK, so Massa’s poor performances behind Alonso didn’t look quite so bad. However, this year, in a bad car as well as the fact that the gap between all the teams has tightened, Massa’s shortcomings as a driver relative to Alonso are being highlighted.

  56. drama queen says:

    I think Alonso & Webber would be a powerful duo.
    Both are intelligent and mature and fast. If the Ferrari starts to look like being closer to the front towards the end of the year it may tempt Webber to move. I think an Alonso/Webber Ferrari partnership would get into other drivers and teams heads very quickly making for a ripper of a year next year.
    Question is, who will be first into Eau Rouge ? Will it be two wide or one two ?

  57. Matt W says:

    I can’t see the appeal for Mark really. He doesn’t strike me as a driver that would continue if he knew he had no realistic chance of a championship. At Red Bull he at least knows he could go for the title, at Ferrari he would have to settle into a Massa, Barrichello, Irvine role and either hope his team mate gets injured like Schumacher in 99 or goes off the boil like Kimi in 08.

    I don’t see him getting enjoyment out of being a firm also ran just picking up the odd scraps of a win.

  58. Luke Clements says:

    One thing to remember when people wonder if Webber will step aside for Alonso…it only matters when Alonso is directly behind. Unless Ferrari produce a 2011 Red Bull and it’s 1,2 at every race, it’s very unlikely to happen. And by the time it does happen, if through circumstance Webber is ahead significantly in the championship when it does occur they are running together, then it probably won’t happen.

  59. richard c says:

    Please ,please LH go to Mercedes. I honestly beleive under Ross Brawn he will win more than at Maclren. I am a big fan of Maclaren and LH but the time has come to leave.The team have cost Lewis so many points this season and I beleive the team will benefit from a new face. Whitmarsh is completely out of his comfort zone in the present climate and his poor decision making is costing the countries best driver the chance of more champs.Personally I would not let Whitmarsh run a bath!!

    1. Anand R says:

      Yeah, sadly his leadership has been all over the place. Good in intent, but no results or even close to a good result.

    2. Thompson says:

      last race cost him min 4th – 20sec or so in pits lost. He needs to move on. Hopefully Rosberg will now start to demorolise Schumi (he’s one stubborn man)and he’ll move on and make room for what eveyone who watches F1 wants to see.

  60. mael says:

    James, do Mark & Alonso share a similar driving style?

    By that I mean, the amount of speed they prefer to carry into a corner, or under/over steer etc?

    Seems to me that if they do, it’s another reason to push to get him, as developing for 2 similar driving styles has got to speed up Ferrari’s progress.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not really. Alonso has a very distinctive driving style which is all about the sharp turn-in to a corner. That said he’s very adaptable so he can change depending on the way the car is behaving

  61. Andrew Kirk says:

    Where do you see Massa ending up James? Maybe try and do a Kekki and earn respect in a smaller team. Also do you think he will stay if Webber decides not to go?

    1. James Allen says:

      Back at Sauber maybe, depends if he’s willing to move down the grid to keep racing.

      1. John says:

        he wouldnt really be moving down the grid according to this season – he might find himself in a more competative car than the Ferrari is now!

  62. Yahya says:

    Everyone seems to be talking about Webber and Perez but personally i think Kobayashi would be a better option than either of those two. Yes Perez has had a podium already but Kobayashi has qualified 3rd this season already. I also believe he is a typical old school Ferrari racer: like Jean Alesi and Gilles Villeneuve rolled into one. His character would improve Ferrari’s image as well. He also has enough experience. Him and Alonso would be an excellent driver pairing. Easily the most exciting driver on the grid.

  63. Im just going to put it out there, and im surprised no one else has mentioned this, Micheal Shuey back to Ferrari? At best I would imagine he has a couple of years left in him, It would be a perfect fit.

    1. Tom in adelaide says:

      I was thinking this to myself the other day (must be an Adelaide thing!). Surely he will be running the team in 5 years or so? Ferrari obviously still have a lot of love for him.

  64. Lam Le-Huy says:

    Does anybody know if Flavio Briatore is still Mark’s manager and whether he’s orchestrating the negotiations?

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      I thought Flavio was banned from any involvement in Formula 1. Or is it just from being a team manager?

      1. Luke Harrison says:

        He wasn’t banned from management from what i remember.

  65. tom in adelaide says:

    To whoever is drawing up the aforementioned cartoon – could we please also have one of Mark responding to a Rob Smedley driving tip?

    Heck, why not make it a weekly comic strip feature? Mark’s cheek bones must be a cartoonists dream come true!

  66. Arya says:

    In the course of this likely game of musical chair, I am interested to know about the future of another young man.
    James, do you see Alguersuari fitting into the grid next year at all? If yes, where could be his destination? Hope you can throw some light on it.

    P.S.- Sorry for going off topic!!

    1. James Allen says:

      I hope so for his sake, I could see his progress last year and even voted for him as one of my Top 5 Drivers of the year, due to that progress.

      I’ve got to know him quite well this year and he’s intelligent, very sharp picking things up, very decisive. Pirelli test drive is a good platform to try to get back in. He deserves to be in F1, certainly

      1. Tom in adelaide says:

        So much experience at such a young age – it seems a real waste for him to be sitting on the sidelines.

  67. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    I don’t think Webber will be going anywhere for at least another year. This will just be posturing from his manager as part of contract talks. He is finally at a competitive team, has a good relationship with his engineer and therefore has no incentive to leave. Money has never been a factor for Mark, so that won’t be an issue either. I think the bigger question is what would motivate Mark to leave? Being late 30s means you still have a lot of your life ahead of you. Hence why I think he’ll want to stay in F1 for as long as possible.

  68. Racyboy says:

    I’m a long time Ferrari fan, and a Webber fan, and would love to see it happen, but only if Ferrari have a c/ship winning car. I think MW will decide to go again next year, and if that happens, RBR would be mad not to keep him.

    When I heard this rumour again the other day, I dismissed it as a slow news day, but when JA brings it up, for me that gives it some traction.

    The language barrier may hinder Webber a little, but I’d love nothing more to see MW and FA fighting it out in the same car…in the rain, i think that would highlight a slight weakness on FA’s part.

  69. Sam Oz says:

    James,

    What is it the padddock opinion of the forgotten Kovalainen and Glock these days?

    Both have driven adequately in top teams and I’m sure took contract with the new teams to tread water in the hope some of the top line teams will turn to them when seats become available. Have they trully been forgotten?

    There’s a fair few years experience between them now and I’m sure are hungry. They’ve been pushing cars past their limits for going on 3-years. I’m sure they’d surprise a few people if given a Merc or a Red Bull… No?

    1. James Allen says:

      Paddock view of Kova is pretty positive. He’s had the right attitude at Team Lotus/Caterham, kept his head down and worked hard. Got few rewards so far, although getting into Q2 in Bahrain was a positive step. He’s one of those drivers who is ready for a second chance with a top team if the way opens up.

      Glock likewise although he’s less on the radar as the Marussia is further off the pace.

      What I would say is that they both have outstanding start records, They almost always make up places off the line, getting ahead of midfield cars

      1. James Clayton says:

        James, do you ever see the possibility of Kovalainen back at McLaren if Lewis does jump ship? I wonder if he’d fare better a second time around?

  70. JB says:

    I think Webber is not the #2 driver in RedBull and RedBull has equal treatments on both drivers. I feel the steep competitions between team mates in 2010 that brewed up the two incidents (similar to Mclarens in 2007). I think Webber will be a clear #2 at Ferrari as long as Alonso is around.

    So If Webber wants a competitive car and fare treatment then Red Bull. If he wants the fame of driving a Ferrari and possibly a huge salary then Ferrari.

  71. scs says:

    James I thought Flavio Briatore managed both FA and MW although I’m not sure whether he’s allowed to represent drivers officially again.

    Can you provide your thoughts on whether you feel he might be influencing things here. thanks

  72. DanWilliams says:

    James, another great article on your fantastic website.

    What exactly were you referring to at the beginning of the article when you mention that this is not the first time MW has been contracted/linked to Ferrari…? Was there actually something more concrete in the past, and if there was what happened to it?

    Cheers,

  73. chisel68 says:

    Difficult decision for Mark….

    Aside from the “No 2 driver” issue (we all know his feelings on THAT topic) leave it another year and his stock may not get him into the Ferrari seat in 2014 as by then a certain Mexican may have planted his backside inside the cockpit of the prancing horse. Every driver would love to drive for Ferrari. But a non competitive one? Hmmmm. I dont think so.

    If Red Bull offers a better chance of a title than Ferrari (which they currently do in ’12 and are more likely to do in ’13) then my prediction is Mark seeing out his career on the back of a Bull, not a Horse.

    1. AH Jordan says:

      “my prediction is Mark seeing out his career on the back of a Bull, not a Horse”

      So Lamborghini to buy Torro Rosso then? ;-)

      1. chisel68 says:

        Either way, its not a horsey : )

  74. Wombat says:

    James, Hi!
    Mark Webber is still on top form, he is the guy doing the hard steady development and on-track work at Red Bull. It wouldn’t surprise me to find Vettel is running Mark’s set-ups. If Webber moved to Ferrari they would get somebody with experience from the top technical team in F1, a proven test & development driver, and a top never-say-die competitor. I would like to see him in a Ferrari, and I suspect so would Ferrari. I wonder what name the Tifosi would give him?

    1. Jack Flash (Aust) says:

      il combattente (the fighter)

    2. Jack Flash (Aust) says:

      il canguro volante (the flying kangaroo)

    3. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      Il piloto numero due..

  75. alexyoong says:

    Webber’s move to Ferrari would make no sense this year- look at Fisi’s disastrous end to his career, plus I cannot see how moving to a team with a slower car and a team completely settled around Alonso is a good thing.

    Next year might just make more sense, depending on how Ferrari finish the season. But it would only really be for a Ferrari feather in his cap.

    Ultimately, both Red Bull and Ferrari present the same problem- far too dominant no.1 drivers. Webber is therefore best keeping it as simple as possible- simply try and get a seat in the fastest car.

    PS Next season I see no reason why Perez couldn’t be in a position to step up to Ferrari.

  76. luca Giacomin says:

    Experience has nothing to do with it, >>>HAMILTON 2007.
    Either you can drive an f1 car fast on the limit or you can’t. FULL STOP.

    Is all this talk about experience inferring Hamilton is a God?? No. F1 cars are not that big a jump they used to be.

    Perez can do the business at Ferrari he’s showing it this year. Webber is not a no.2 driver that would bow down easily, it’s not in his nature.

    END.

  77. Simon Brown says:

    Massa needs a great car to be comptetitive. Then the gap would be less between him and Alonso. With a difficult car, Alonso can extract performance from nothing.

    I don’t think Ferrari would risk dropping Massa mid year though, with an eye to what happened when Fisi joined part way through a season.

    By the same resoning, I think Webber will think long and hard before leaving a Newey designed car.

  78. AT says:

    James

    Do you have any information to back up these
    rumours, or is this article based on chinese whispers where one F1 journalist has written a discussion piece, and now the remaining F1 journalists feel obliged to comment on it?

    It’s hard to tell from this article whether you have any inside information, or whether you’re simply commenting on what other reporters have already written – in which case, can you advise on how reputable those reporters are, and if the rumours are likely to be based on fact? And in your own expert view, what’s the likely probability of this move coming off?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, there is a round of rumours at the moment and one publication in Spain has said it’s a done deal. I don’t believe it is and Webber has responded by saying that its isn’t.

      However his denial is open ended and I’m giving some background here to the situation, as there has been contact in the past, Ferrari does clearly need an answer to the second car problem and this is the context for where the situation is at the moment.

      That’s all really. The aim on this site is to provide insight and to bring fans a bit closer to the sport

  79. Patrick says:

    James i would reeeally love some of your inside perspective on this….

    Do you think there is any possibility of Hamilton leaving McLaren next year and Webber replacing him?

    He would still be with a top team and would have a better chance of equal status that at any of the other big guns.

    I guess this depends on what the chances are of Hamilton leaving and would Webber be what McLaren want?

    Always love hearing your analysis on Ten/One in Australia, keep up the good work!

    1. James Allen says:

      You never know in F1 but if Hamilton did leave the only place I can see him going is Mercedes.

      But I think he’ll stay put.

  80. Peter says:

    Love the insight there James. Aussie here, so would love to see Webber in a Ferrari seat (even if i’m not a fan of Ferrari) and see Ricciardo of course in the RBR seat in 2013 and give Vettle a run for his millions. But the complete late of experience is a concern, its almost setting him up to fail at RBR, so maybe not be the best move for Ricciardo.

    But this does all depend on what Webber does, but ultimately. Like you said, his a competitive guy and as long as his fast he will race and he will only race to win and that’s to win the Drivers Title. And the last few years Ferrari have come back strong in the season, but they have had bad starts, and well F1 rewards consistency.

    So for me, its easy, you make the judgement call, if RBR is going to be competitive in 2013, and a marginally stronger car, then i say stay, a team around Vettel with a fast car is better than a team built around Alonso with a lousy car.

    He made the call to go to Williams way back when, and it was the wrong move, just because of history isn’t a good enough reason to switch.

    I think Mark would MUCH rather have the tag of “Former Formula 1 World Driver Champion” than “Former Ferrari Driver”

  81. Qiang says:

    Great article James and insider lines about relation between Mark and the boss. Where is Robert Kubica stand right now? Is his F1 career pretty much over? What is the likelihood of Alonso moving if Ferrari failed to deliver anything soon enough? Do you think both Hamilton or Vettel can also switch their teams in the next 2 years?

  82. bmg says:

    I remember Dr Marko stating this was Marks last year at Redbull. So it’s one of two things, Mark retires or he drives for another team.

    The real question should be, who else is Ferrari hiring because just one new Driver does not turn a team around.

    The success they have had so far this season, is from the exceptional Driving skills of Alonso and big amount of luck.

  83. elie says:

    You’d have to be an idiot to swap Red Bull for Ferrari if Mark has the choice!. But lets look at it another way..Is Mark a championship driver? Does he have more than a few years to offer Ferrari at top level. I would say Ferraris best choice right now is Sergio Perez. I would love to see Jamie Algessuari back -maybe in Sauber. Massa will have to move on. I would love to see Lewis in a Mercedes once we see the back of Michael Schumacher. I think Daniel Ricciardo will fill Marks seat at RBR..

  84. Thompson says:

    Why would Mark Webber go to ferrari, I for one see no “prestige” to end ones career there. In fact its more an elephants graveyard.

    It was Ross Brawns ( a man of dubious character)input into the team that made them ” dominate” for so long (makes you wonder about spygate)

    But my opinion of Mark he is a “Coultard” he talks a better race than he drives, he’ll stay at RB as long as they want him.

  85. Paddy says:

    Personally, I’d love to see Webber go to Ferrari for two seasons. I think Webber is shooting himself in the foot by staying at Red Bull and he should’ve gone somewhere else after Vettel’s first championship, as it’s painfully obvious who Red Bull prefer.

    Realistically, Ferarri or Mercedes are Webber’s only options to get a decent drive, as you can’t discount the fact that Schumacher might call it a day after this season. Grosjean looks pretty handy so Renault.. sorry, Lotus will be keeping him and Kimi. Button and Hamilton will still be at McLaren next season.

    Quite insulting to say Webber talks a better race than he drives and compare him to Coulthard!

    1. Jay says:

      And who do you think Ferrari prefer? Red Bull prefer Vettel because he’s better. Webber lost that title to Vettel despite Vettel having the lion’s share of the car failures, remember.

  86. costa says:

    ive ben a f1 fanatic for all my life and yeh weber would be great for ferrari but we must not forget if we dont get competition we dont get better that is why weber now is a fantastic driver due to rb what do u think????

  87. SEO says:

    Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content.

    Please let me know. Many thanks

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