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Horse Whisperer says “Ferrari in no hurry” to decide on Massa
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jul 2012   |  5:24 pm GMT  |  165 comments

Ferrari’s celebrated anonymous blogger, The Horse Whisperer, has returned to the keyboard today to write a short post on the official Ferrari.com site in reaction to comments worldwide about Ferrari’s next move now that Mark Webber has committed to Red Bull for 2013.

Written in its usual sardonic tone, the gist of the piece is to poke fun at journalists and bloggers who have speculated on what the team’s plans are around drivers

“In Maranello, no one is in a hurry to make any decisions and that’s for sure.

“Yesterday, one absolute certainty of the past few months was washed away, as we now know Webber is staying put.

“Now the most vociferous and qualified rumourmongers are taking it for granted that Felipe will be confirmed, these generally being the same voices that, not only had him down as being out of the running for 2013, but would have had us believe he would not even see out the season.

“Now coming into bloom are a whole list of possible and potential replacements, with a list of names from A to Z, something Ferrari is well used to. In truth, one letter, the “Z,” seems yet to be uncovered, or quite possibly it’s Zorro…unmasked.”

It’s all good fun. The situation at Ferrari is quite fluid and as the Whisperer says, its conceivable that Massa will keep his seat next season, with none of the top five teams making any changes in driver line up.

Massa’s form has improved as the car has improved (the same happened with Irvine relative to Schumacher through 1996-1999) and they may well stick with the “devil you know”, rather than import someone new for what could only be a year if Sebastian Vettel arrives in 2014, as well placed sources in Italy suggest he could.

I still can’t see why Vettel would do that, but if he does it opens up a great opportunity for Lewis Hamilton at Red Bull.

All eyes on Hamilton’s renewal then, when it comes, to see if it is just for one year with options, leaving the door open for a move should Vettel vacate.

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  1. Neil Jenney says:

    Here’s a prediction for you. Sebastien Buemi to Ferrari.

    1. Luke Potter says:

      Well, it’s a prediction. I predict that in fact Bagpuss will drive for Ferrari next year.

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        Probably got bigger balls than Massa, that’s for sure

      2. Kay says:

        Then he won’t fit into the cockpit :D

      3. Paulo says:

        that cheered me up.

      4. Neil Jenney says:

        @LukePotter You would be correct in thinking that my prediction was plucked out of the air and is in no way based on even the flimsiest factual information. That said Buemi has contested 55 F1 races, is known to be looking for a race drive next year and had intimate access to Red Bull’s ‘secrets’. Much as I appreciate Bagpuss’ work as an old saggy cloth cat and his association with both the mouse organ mice and the great Professor Yaffle, I don’t believe he has the same credentials when it comes to taking Massa’s seat at Ferrari.

      5. db4tim says:

        “and had intimate access to Red Bull’s ‘secrets’”

        How is that ?

      6. Sebee says:

        Bagpuss is a real driver’s name? Seriously? … Off to google it.

      7. Sebee says:

        Great, I have kids and don’t know Bagpuss!

      8. Neil Jenney says:

        @db4tim Buemi got a job in January that has given him access to some pretty sensitive proprietary RB information.


      9. Luke Potter says:

        @NeilJenney You’re quite right that Buemi is a candidate for virtually any team who suddenly find themselves in need of a driver. I doubt, though, that Red Bull let him know much of the really juicy stuff as they know that he could well be somewhere else soon. Several drivers who would surely be further up Ferrari’s list (di Resta for example) would take a Ferrari drive like a shot if it was offered to them, in my view.

        If Ferrari were to take an ex-Toro Rosso man though (leaving Vettel aside), I think they should take Alguersuari – there could be more to come from him whereas I feel that Buemi won’t now get any better. That’s not likely either though – Alguersuari has about the same chance of getting the Ferrari drive as Postman Pat (Pat’s chance is greater than Bagpuss’s because of his experience around the streets of Greendale, which some call the rural Monaco).

      10. Luke Potter says:

        Pat’s also human, which can only help his cause.

      11. Neil Jenney says:

        @LukePotter Agreed on Pat. He definitely showed a preference for red vehicles during his prior driving experience.

        I would also like to at this juncture formally announce my availability for the Ferrari drive in 2013.

      12. Athlander says:

        I doubt Ferrari would hire Bagpuss – for sure, he can be fast at times but his lack of focus is a major drawback. There’s a reason he didn’t progress beyond the lower categories.

      13. Paul J says:

        Yeah, but Emily loved him.

      14. I see what you did there. ;-)

  2. Pman says:

    With Adrian Newey at Red-Bull he would be a fool to move before at least one more world championship. Also who would want to partner Alonso at Ferrari(I’m an Alonso fan)?

    I don’t see him moving before 2015, if at all. In that case LH is probably stuck at McLaren or at best Mercedes. Since Mercedes have done nothing since their trick double diffuser I wonder what how LH will take it.

  3. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    It’s a nonsense to decide now to fire Massa, he could underperforming again when Ferrari needs the points for the WCC.

    So, they would fire Massa at the end of this year. If Massa performs well now but he doesn’t perform in 2013, I cannot see who can say Ferrari got the right call hiring him for 2013. So it is not really the “known devil.”

    Perez, Di Resta, Kovalainen, Hulkenberg or a GP2 champion could do the replacement.
    I prefer Hulkenberg as a right choice.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Comparatively outpaced when Rubens team-mate. A fortunate pole position and hardly demolishing Di Resta this year.
      It really depends on how likely Vettel going to Ferrari is. If true for 2014, then Webber was never going to go to Ferrari for 1 season.
      The other factor is Ferrari currently have the best driver in the team till at least 2016, what they need is a second driver who can accumulate enough points for the constructors championship.
      If massa continued his 2011 and early 2012 form, then it’s a nobrainer, they had to replace him, but indications are he is performing better with the developing car.
      4th was his best result since 2010.

      1. vancouver j says:

        Agreed. Instead of someone like Hulk they need a proven race winner who can pressure Alonso on pace and push him to qualify better. The best choice being Kimi Raikkonen don’t you agree?

      2. MISTER says:

        My opinion is that if Ferrari paid Kimi to leave early they had their reasons. If he is as fast as you say he is, they would’ve kept him.

        I don’t think Kimi will ever drive for Ferrari again. He had his chance! Next!

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        You have obviously never read any of my views of Raikonen…

  4. Alexis says:

    Alonso will probably ensure Massa stays put.

    1. Thomas says:

      Agree. Notice how he keeps talking about how he is happy with Felipe recently.

      Also, Ferrari seems to really love Massa. I mean, they’ve stayed with him for three bad seasons now, while they easily let Kimi go before contract expiration and even gave him some pocket change for the ride home.

    2. Kay says:

      +1 on that.

      Don’t see why people keep bringing up rumours of other drivers heading to Ferrari when it’s pretty clear Massa will stay put.

      As Alonso previously said, he has a say on his team mates, LdM talks to him frequently and asks him for advice on the other driver.

      Surely Massa is a wonderful pet to Alonso to have, Vettel wouldn’t be the same pet as Massa currently is and don’t see him joining Ferrari as long as Vettel is driving a good car designed by RBR / Newey.

      1. nino says:

        Although, I think Alonso will be able to comb Vettel hairs, if they are on the same car.

    3. Nathan Jones says:

      Of course!

      I’m not having a go at Nando, he is of course superb, but he must love having a patsie like Massa with him. That way he looks even better in comparison and the world lionises him all the more.

  5. chisel68 says:

    For Vettel to even consider Ferrari in 2014, they must first win either championship – drivers or constructors – this year or next.

    Yes, everyone wants to drive for Ferrari, but only if they give you better machinery than you already have. This is the main reason Webber didn’t go. Im sure Mark would love to add the Prancing Horse to his resume, but I think he’d rather have a WC next to his name.

    Surely Lewis won’t go anywhere for the same reason, especially now Webs is at RB. Merc aren’t showing enough and that leaves only Lotus. Hmm now theres a thought.

    1. peruvian says:

      So Mclaren will offer little money to Hamilton, now that he really has no place to go, Knowing Hamilton he will say no, and will go to Ferrari for little more money, and in exchange Ferrari will get a top driver at half the price, good move for both.
      Alonson will get upset, but for sure they will push each other for the benefit of Ferrari.
      I don’t see Hamilton happy at Mclaren, in fact that team is a royal mess, if I was him I will leave to another team, any team, in this case Ferrari is in desperate need of a good driver… to develope the car first, and to win champion ships later…
      Lets not forget Hamilton is a marketable person, I forsee many ferrari sales in the future. (hope I am wrong):)

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Good god!!! You believe that Ferrari need hamiltons marketability to sell their cars??
        Cars that have waiting lists of 2 years and they already sell the 7,000 odd they manufacture each year!! Ok…

        As for the developing the car theory, Hamilton and Button dominated Australia, Ferrari were 1.5seconds off the pace. Whatever direction Hamilton and JB have taken Mclaren, it certainly isn’t forwards.
        Alonso has been pushing the team since 2010, likely telling LdM that they needed fresh input into the design group, slowly each addition is turning Ferrari round and bringing all their facilities up to date.
        It’s funny because at the start of the season, many people were saying Ferrari needed brawn and schumacher back as they could move the team forwards, ignoring the fact that Ferrari had fallen behind and would take a while to get up to speed again.
        Yet the progress of Mercedes vs Ferrari is clear to anybody

      2. peruvian says:

        Good comment, good reply, I just did not like the “Good God” Remark… and I could see you don’t work in sales.. anyway, If I was Ferrari, I could see that Hamilton is taking away points I could have, better yet I could have him colecting point for me better than Masa can… he is a world-class driver and he is available… Mark is gone, Vettel gone as well, who is next, Kimi?… will not happen, Button? imposible…. Rosberg?. could be, but I would pick Hamilton on top of all driver available as of now… of course, this is just my humbold opinion

    2. Doohan says:

      Aren’t Grosjean and Kimi contracted until the end of next year? It looks like the only possibility elsewhere comes down to Schumi leaving.

      1. James Clayton says:

        Kimi’s been booted out of one contract a year early, who’s to say he won’t be booted out of this one.

        Hamilton to Lotus is a possibility I spotted from a couple of races in.

        There’s an article on one of the F1 tabloid sites that says he’d consider the move. But there’s also an article where Hamilton talks about McLaren needing to redesign its car for this year and next, which leads one to think he’ll be staying put.

        I still think he’ll somehow end up at Lotus.

      2. Lynn says:

        Why would Lotus want to spend more than $16 million for Hamilton when Kimi only cost $5?
        Afterall Lotus financially isn’t that fantastic.

        Their future is Grosjean & wouldn’t want Hamilton to upset that. Kimi will be a better team mate for Grosjean also Kimi will probably not stay in F1 for long. Maybe by 2014 or 2015 Grosjean can be their lead driver.

        Unlikely for Hamilton to end up in Lotus, most likely stay put at McLaren.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      I’m certain he didn’t go because he wasn’t willing to be there for 1 season and then be replaced by Vettel. He has enough problems with number 2 status that red bull want to assign him!!!

    4. Martin says:

      I’m not so sure. Yes Vettel likes the stats, but perception might also matter. If you win all the time in a Red Bull then Newey gets all the credit. If Ferrari isn’t a winner and then you join Alonso and win Ferrari’s first title in 7 or 8 years ahead of Alonso, what would that do to your reputation?

      Schumacher did it, without the Alonso factor, and Button went into the lion’s den with Hamilton and McLaren in 2010 as WDC.



    5. chisel68 says:

      Lynn – The reason Hamilton may find Lotus attractive (apart from a quick looking car that has been more successfully developed) is that his management company (Simon Fuller) would appreciate the greater freedom re personal sponsorship than at McLaren which may make up the shortfall of a £5m base salary.

  6. Elie says:

    As expected since Webbers re signing with RBR. Ferrari can sit on the fence for it all it likes. Even if Massa does fantastically well the rest of 2012 , the question still remains :what happened all of 2011 and half 2012. ) I guess Ferrari don’t really care as long as a driver moves over when he is told to do so.. Which I hope comes back & bites them time & again in the constructors championship.
    They are a “passionate Italian team”with a top notch Spanish Driver, a top English Technical Director, Aussie engineer, A president who flies in to see Quali but not stay to see his team win. The passion is in the history only but unless your a number 1 driver earning 3o million ,willing to speak to them in Italian on the radio, who would want a bar of these jokers.

    If Mercedes are around in 2014- that’s where Vettel should go if he wants a new challenge especially if the German team are performing by then! Maybe even Hamilton switch with Rosberg at Mclaren and JB switch with Di Resta.(Mclaren should do this)
    I think some drivers grow stale in teams and a shake up does them and the teams a world of good. That’s what’s happened to Fellipe he has ” grown” to be a no 2 driver & has been fighting to be anything else.

    1. [MISTER] says:

      You clearly don’t like Ferrari :))
      I would want a “bar of these jokers”!!!
      I would rather have them then hypocrites like those in RedBull, who insult our intelligence by saying their drivers are free to race and there are no team orders when there are clear examples of team orders and who is the prefered #1 driver in the team.

      You must be very naive or refuse to see/believe that team orders exists in each team that is fighting for championship.
      For example now it will be plain stupid of Ferrari to let Felipe win a race if Fernando is second. If they would do that, and at the end Fernando will lose the championship by 4-5 points, everybody will laugh in their face.

      It is time to accept that this is a team sport where championships count and not #2 finishes.

    2. Pman says:

      Weird considering all the top drivers seem to want to drive at Ferrari.

      Also I don’t really remember the president of Mercedes flying around with the team…Do you?

      And did you forget that FM was actually hit in the head before starting to suck…even before he “grew into a number 2″.

    3. Elie says:

      Everyone feels sorry for Felippe – but when do you draw the line ? Btw he was / will always be a no2 driver. As for RBR – hopefully Mark can start winning more races then we will see which way team orders work ! At least they speak English

      1. Rodger says:

        You accuse Ferrari of not having enough Italian personnel and then complain when they communicate in Italian.
        Make up your mind.
        It’s the kind of logic reserved for a ‘special’ country.

      2. Elie says:

        Well that’s what i thought they were doing. English Aussie staff but speaking to FA in Italian

      3. Galapago555 says:

        (I’ve been told that Seb Vettel and Dr Marko secretly speak German when they’re alone. Don’t know if that is acceptable for your standards.

        This rude foreigners, you know. Can’t understand why they need to speak that strange languages…)

    4. Person says:

      Why would you want Rosberg if you are Mclaren? Rosberg has shown himself to be a decent driver worthy of his spot in f1 and a good consistent point scorer but he seems to lack that edge that world champions seem to have.
      Surely they would keep Button despite his troubles and just line Di Resta up along side him if Hamilton left.

    5. Heinzman says:

      Chris Dyer is not there anymore, Alonso’s Engineer is Andrea Stella who is Italian, their team principal is also Italian, their head of engines/electrics is also Italian, their production manager is also Italian…there are no Italian drivers on the grid

  7. Horno says:

    Schumacher will remain another year at Mercedes, cause he hadn’t had any satisfaction yet, since his return..

    This means that there isn’t a serious option left for Hamilton, other than signing a new contract at Coca Coca Mercedes Mclaren.. ;)

    1. Horno says:

      Edit: Coca Cola Mercedes Mclaren..

  8. Carl says:

    Kimi Raikkonen back to Ferrari.

    You heard it here first- ;)


    1. Rob Newman says:

      Monty doesn’t like ‘the man with the briefcase’. So that ain’t gonna happen.

      Trust me.

  9. Rob Newman says:

    I can’t understand why Ferrari made that statement. Obviously they are talking to potential drivers and recently even Alonso admitted that he is also involved in the process.

    If Ferrari is looking for a top driver, other than Hamilton, there is none available. Vettel will not join them in 2014 or anytime sooner. That will be a poorly judged decision from Vettel if he chose to join.

    One important thing came out this week; not every driver wants to drive for Ferrari. What Webber said was ‘choosing Red Bull over Ferrari was an easy decision’.

    If Ferrari wants a top driver, or they want both championships, then they need to understand why certain drivers are not attracted to the team.

    1. [MISTER] says:

      We will never know what offer Ferrari had for Webber compared with RedBull. Maybe Ferrari only wanted Webber for 1 year and since Webber said that he is planning to stay longer in F1, that would not work for him.
      Also, since Ferrari is Alonso’s team, maybe he was told clearly that he will only play a number 2 and he didn’t like it.
      Mark likes UK and moving to Italy (I suspect he doesn’t speak Italian) would be pretty difficult.

      I find it hard to believe that Mark would refuse a multi year offer on equal terms with Alonso. Ferrari is not a team that is thinking short term. They have long terms plans which may include Vettel or even extending Alonso’s contract. This would mean they only need a consistent driver which will play along, as long as Alonso or any other top driver will be contracted.

    2. xrr says:

      The point is they dont need a top driver, what they need is a better 2nd driver than Massa.

      It is very hard for any team even for Ferrari to convince a driver like Webber who is especially this year fighting for wdc, to become a support driver.

      And of course it was an easy decision for Webber,
      - He is currently driving the best performing car
      - He may have a chance to cope with Vettel time to time as he is doing now and as he did back in 2010 but his chance against Alonso in the same is very slim.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Bet you loved that, easy decision choosing RBR over Ferrari.
      You may want to look beyond the obvious and try reading between the lines. But I imagine that only occurs when it suits

      1. Rob Newman says:

        Yes, you’re right. To be honest, it put a smile on my face … and I am still smiling ;)

      2. Martin says:

        Bold… He didn’t bite, or probably understand it.

        I wonder what sort of magic device Rob reckons Alonso has fitted to Massa’s car. He just flicks a switch and suddenly Massa’s car loses a few tenths towards the end of a stint, or goes into a spin (Canada, Abu Dhabi). It has a bizzare side effect – McLarens are attracted to it, when coming from behind.

        Mark Hughes in Autosport seems to think the Vettel – Ferrari 2014 option is quite complex, and it could even require something like Renault pulling out if Bernie technophobe Ecclestone gets his way and the V8s are retained.

        I think Mark would have wanted at least a 2 year deal with Ferrari to avoid being dumped for Vettel as the rumours are going. The current situation aids Mark too in that he becomes the Red Bull guy, while Vettel is now the man thought to be leaving. That might help significantly in 2012.

        A further benefit is that Red Bull will give him a car he fits into. It took until 2010, but that is something I suspect he appreciates.



      3. hero_was_senna says:

        Great points Martin. A few posters seem to develop myopia when it suits their agenda.
        It’s great seeing more people have a balanced view on things.
        As an aside, I personally cannot see the 2014 regs changed for Bernied desires, too much money has been invested now, and he doesn’t have Max bending the FIA over backwards to accommodate his preferences

  10. lepton says:

    Maybe, just maybe, Mark signed RB for another year under the condition that they fully support his WDC challenge for 2012 and provide him equal treatment.

    Mark blowed his chance back in 2010 when he injured his shoulder by his own fault/bad luck. This year, due to variously reasons, Mark has gotten into a pretty good position and a WDC starts to look quite possible, just like he found he could actually overtook Alonso near the end of Silverstone.

    Anyway, let’s wait and see.

    1. Kay says:

      RBR is infamous for their unequal treatment.

      Vettel crashes out, gets 50x combo slaps on the back. Webber crashes out, he just gotta chill himself out.

      Any new parts that come in odd numbers, Vettel gets them.

      The only good thing is Webber signs his contracts directly with Dietrich, not Horner. So even if Horner dislikes Webber, these is nothing he could do lol.

  11. Methusalem says:

    My prediction: Vettel to Ferrari; Hamilton to RB

    1. db4tim says:

      Yup that is it …..

    2. Kay says:


      Make that 0 then.

    3. Person says:

      Agreed.Who do you think will take Hamiltons spot?

  12. KGBVD says:

    I’m generally turned off by this silly season.

    So much hype and rumour (much more so than usual, it seems – particularly around the top teams). And now, nothing, 10 drivers going to be in the same top 10 seats.

    How utterly anti-climactic and, quite frankly, annoying, considering how interesting it all could have been.

    1. Kay says:

      Welcome to the real world! lol.

      There are various movies that could probably give you some climactic endings.

      1. KGBVD says:

        The real world is full of excitement like: Alonso jumping ship @McLaren; Button bringing the #1 to a new team; reigning champs like Kimi getting dumped for other champs like Alonso; the return of greats like Schumi and Kimi; champions from other series like Montoya and Villeneuve parachuting into top rides.

        This silly season, however, is dry as toast.

  13. Mark says:

    Is Kimi no longer a possibility at Red Bull? He’s already sponsored by them, it’s apparent that he is still very fast and dare I say he seems more of a Red Bull kind of guy than Lewis.

    1. Mitchel says:

      It never quite made sense to me how vettel is the marketing dream for rb. The only two drivers who fit the brand are webber and kimi.

      Plus the extreme sports types aren’t reknowned for their youth, are they?

    2. Bring Back Murray says:

      Not unless you’re planning to fit Kimi and Webber into the same car

      1. Mark says:

        I was referring to 2014 when it is speculated Vettel may be at Ferrari. Re-read the column.

  14. Dave Aston says:

    Ferrari is a top three team. Massa hasn’t had a podium since 2010. Why would they keep him? I know they bank on Alonso delivering a title, but surely they want someone who they think can finish second in the points. I think Perez is the best option.

    1. KGBVD says:

      It’s a no brainer, unless your name is Stefano.

    2. John Z says:

      Ferrari has already said that Perez doesn’t have enough experience for Massa’s seat. There is an experienced driver at Mercedes whose contract is up at year’s end. He even drove for Ferrari a few years back. His helmet is still the right color.

      1. Thomas says:

        Michael and Fernando in the same team. Now that would make Prost+Senna, Alonso+Hamilton look like childrens games…

      2. John Z says:

        No, I really don’t think so. Michael is a different guy. He is competitive for sure but he doesn’t hold the same political clout within Mercedes as he did at Ferrari and he doesn’t work those back channels anymore. It would have been Senna-Prost if Fernando came over in 2007 and Michael stayed on instead of retiring. That would have been fascinating. That was then, this is now. It would be a thrill to see him pilot the red car again. He is Ferrari’s all time driver. Either way, I hope he stays on way beyond this year. He’s 43 and he is running well against guys almost half his age. Schumacher is F1.

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        I would love that, if you think Rosberg is competitive with him, watch Alonso make mincemeat of him.
        Bearing in mind he “retired” for Massa’s benefit when Kimi was signed for 2007, MSC won’t go anywhere near Maranello now.
        His legacy is tarnished somewhat now and his performance against nico brings into question just how submissive were his previous team-mates
        Such a shame, he was better than that

      4. FastNick says:

        My hero! I love this: Alonso makes mince meat of him!!! Ha ha, very funny ;-)))))

    3. FastNick says:

      Objection your honour! Ferrari is a top team. Not a top three.

      1. Dave Aston says:

        I wasn’t on her.

    4. Elie says:


      1. Elie says:

        To Perez for Ferrari

  15. Swizzwell says:

    James – Do you think the is any chance of Robert Kubica racing again next year?
    I haven’t seen any updates in a while, but I”m sure he would make a great partner for Alonso if back to his best.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, I don’t think so

    2. db4tim says:

      Sadly I think he will never race again.

      1. Panayiotis says:

        Sadly I think so too…

  16. Steve says:

    Massa will stay at Ferrari for 2013, Alonso has to have a #2 driver at his beck and call or he’ll throw his toys out of the pram.

    1. Arya says:

      Don’t you get tired of blabbering the same old thing?

      Gets irritating for sure to the listener.

      1. Steve says:

        I suspect you think I’m someone else, this is the first time I’ve commented on this.

  17. Rob G says:

    Schumacher’s holding out because he’s forging a new deal to partner Alonso back at Ferrari. Dare to dream…

  18. PeteF12012 says:

    “I think Perez is the best option.”
    I thought that after Sepang but I think he’s been rather sub-par since then.

    “Massa hasn’t had a podium since 2010″
    been fair though the car hasn’t been that good since 2010.

    people will point to alonso getting podiums & 3 wins, However alonso is one of the great’s & the greats always outdrive poor cars.

    you could stick perez in the ferrari & i seriously don’t think he’d be any closer to alonso than massa has been because alonso is one of the top 3-4 drivers in f1 right now if not the best of the current bunch.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      Correction, one of the best 3 or 4 drivers of the last 30 years.

      1. Elie says:

        Correction he is not a world champion and therefore he does not rate on the top 6 presently on the grid.
        Correction, correction:- there are guys in Saubers beating him at the moment. I think he is barely top 10 driver Now! let alone 30 years..but I guess it’s nice to have a favorite !

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Erm elie, I’m not sure how you read my comment, but I was referring to Alonso being one of the to 3 or 4 from the last 30 years, not Massa!!!’
        Personally I believe Alonso is the best there’s been since Senna died.
        If you have ever read my comments, I can’t stand Massa. You may want to re-read Pete’s comment once again which I replied to

      3. Elie says:

        Yes sorry Hero was senna. Reading too many posts at once.!Alonso would be top 4 I agree

    2. Perez nearly threw the race away in Sepang. Had it been the old gravel traps, he would have stuffed it, or at least lost position. If it was Monaco, his performance would have been forgotten.

      That said, remember how poorly Fisichella did in the Ferrari? He got pole and just about won his last race in a Force India, but then was completely useless in the Ferrari. This is the same Ferrari that Kimi was up front with, and the same Ferrari that Massa was up front with earlier in the year.

      I’d say Massa is better than average, but I think he’s dealing with a car that is difficult to drive. He’s doing okay with it, but realistically, I would bet that the only ones that would do better in his seat are Vettel or Hamilton. Kovalainen would probably do an adequate job, since his Caterham is probably no easier to drive. Anyone else thrown in that seat would hardly make it out of Q1.

      Hard to say, though. Fisichella trounced Button in a Renault (2002?), Button is on par with Hamilton (2010-2011), Hamilton is on par with Alonso (2007), does that mean that Fisichella is better than Alonso? Kimi trounced Fisichella (2009), and Massa was almost on par with Kimi, does that mean that Massa is better than Alonso?

      My point is that the comparison of two drivers depends very much on the car you are comparing them in; each car suits each driver differently, as my comparisons above illustrate nicely. Twitchy car? Hire Alonso or Hamilton. Stable car? Hire Button or Webber.

      I think the Ferrari is difficult, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that is one of the reasons Webber stayed with Red Bull; he knew he wouldn’t be able to match Alonso in a car that handles that way.

      1. B Grylls says:


        This is one of the best comments I’ve read on this page for a long while.


      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Webber seemed to be doing fine early on in the season when Vettel was constantly complaining about how hard the car was to drive.
        When they had the blown diffuser, Vettel was un-touchable.
        I personally think it is Webber who can cope with a twitchy car more than Vettel.

  19. andrew says:

    As long as Antonio Luis keeps writing the big checks each year to Ferrari, Massa will stay there.

    1. anon says:


      care to elaborate? is there really a massa family fortune large enough to subsidize a ferrari f1 drive? how was the fortune made?

      1. James Allen says:

        Of course not. Massa earns a large sum from his Ferrari contract

      2. andrew says:

        I didn’t see him listed, as Alonso was, in the recent Forbes Magazine ranking of significant sports earners, did you?

      3. zombie says:

        @ Andrew : Does everyone who earns good money make it to “Forbes list of significant sports earners” list ? And based on that exclusion, do you conclude that his dad is bankrolling the coveted Ferrari drive ?

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Ferrari, famous throughout the world, the most famous team in Motorsport, history that goes back to the inception of the F1 championship, and with Enzo back to the 1920′s, the most successful team in Motorsport history, a 250GTO recently sold for 22million, sponsored by an invisible tobacco brand and given money in the Concorde Agreement because of their historical significance…

      And you seriously believe they would take a pay driver!!!!

      1. Haha, well put.

        When a company sponsors you for zillions of dollars even though they can’t put their logo on your car, you know you’ve got a solid brand.

        The only way Ferrari would take on a pay driver is if there were about 8 or 10 Ferraris in the field.

  20. Bionor says:

    What if… What if Schumacher replaced Massa in 2013?

    Schumacher probably isn’t going to race in F1 for much longer anyway, so a 1 or 2 year deal at the team of his heart probably wouldn’t sound too bad, Massa probably needs to be replaced, and Schumi is most likely not going to perfrom any worse than him anyway.

    Imagine the publicity and sound of money being generated!

  21. bmg says:

    Heard a rummer that Allen Jones is testing for Williams, but they could’nt get him out of the Bar.

    Heard another rummer, Big fly!

    1. Dino says:

      LOL you really made me laught!!!

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Have you seen his girth recently??? Lol
      He’d have trouble getting behind the wheel of their trucks, let alone the race truck

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Doh!! Race car

  22. Athlander says:

    Would Heidfeld be a good short-term option for nº 2 driver?

    1. gond says:

      No, please no!

      1. Elie says:

        Def not ! Please no!

    2. I actually think you’re onto something here. I could see it. Heidfeld is only as good as the other driver…

      When he was paired with Jacques, he was slow. He suddenly found a second when Jacques was replaced by Kubica. Surprise, surprise, he was slow again when paired with Petrov. If he’s paired with Alonso, he’ll do quite well.

  23. Jeremiah says:

    Why would any of the top drivers want to go to Ferrari? these cars only move because of Alonso.
    Vettel is much better off in Red Bull – he has the best designer, by far, in Newey.
    I wish Alonso wins at least a couple of WDC more with Ferrari, then moves to McLaren to end his career, while Vettel moves to Ferrari and Hamilton to red Bull.
    A total of 5 WDC for Alonso would be great, the last one in a McLaren!

    1. Kay says:

      Don’t think the senior guys wanna have anything to do with Alonso anymore other than to beat him.. lol.

    2. James Clayton says:

      I think it’s highly unlikely you’ll be seeing Alonso in a McLaren again!

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      For the life of me I’ve never understood this argument. All top line athletes believe they are the best and want to prove themselves to the world.
      Senna joined Mclaren with Prost there to take on the best.
      All drivers would want to beat alonso to prove their ability

      1. Elie says:

        Yes but there’s too much bs politics , money ,in F1 nowadays that rarely sees the best people in the same equipment at the same time.
        Besides if your Fernando would you give up beIng team leader and 30m to go Mclaren or RBR be paid 15m and go back to being equal to Lewis or Seb. I think he may not be quite so dominant there.Not sure RBR or Mclaren need a “team leader” -this what’s wrong with Ferrari Fernando might win drivers but Lotus may yet surpass them in constructors!

  24. ArJay says:

    Massa belongs at Ferrari…
    Considering how much he relies on Rob Smedley’s encouragement they should provide him with a two-seater so that his engineer can join him in the cockpit – the weight increase could be offset by removing ballast. Rules would have to be bent but Ferrari should be able to swing it due to their ‘historical significance’

  25. Colin B says:

    Another prediction to add to the list.

    Kovalainen on a 1 year loan from Caterham. If he performs, maybe he can be their number 2 for a few years until either Perez (or similar) is deemed ready, or until they can get their hands on Vettel.

    Kovalainen may not have performed at McLaren but he has the experience now, and I sure Alonso would not feel his #1 status would be in any jeopardy.

    And then maybe Massa to Caterham to finish off his career. Maybe he can get their first point.

    1. James Allen says:

      I heard his name at the weekend from credible sources, but Italian sources say no

      1. AndrewM says:

        what are the Italian sources saying? Massa for one more year then Vettel in 2014?

        Is there any chance that Vettel could move to Mercedes in 2014 to replace Schumacher if he retires after 2013?

      2. Do you think those Italian sources may think differently now that Webber has chosen Red Bull?

        Kovalainen has man-handled ill-handling cars for a while now, so I think he could do well at Ferrari; my theory is that Ferraris have been quick for the past five years, but just very difficult to drive. Massa is decent with them, but Alonso and Kimi were the only ones able to extract the maximum. Badoer and Fisichella (the latter obviously being talented, having almost won at Spa that year) clearly couldn’t do a thing with the car. My bet is that Webber avoided Ferrari because he knows that platform wouldn’t suit his style, and it would take him a year or two to figure out how to drive it at the limit (like when EBD’s were prevalent last year).

        Thoughts, James?

  26. Dino says:

    I can’t see any of the four top teams changing drivers for 2013 now Mark has signed his contract, bar Felipe if he could not maintain his lastest improved form.

    I think that no one top driver would like to come to Ferrari to partner Fernando, as long as they are comfortable in their teams and with good cars.

    Michael’s season so far has been the best since his comeback, so there is no reason to withdraw at the end of the year.

    Nico will stay waiting for Michael retirement to be the deserved nr. 1 at Mercedes.

    Lewis is a beloved british champion in the best british team, being RBR ocuped he might not go elsewhere. The same for Jenson.

  27. Denis 68 says:

    Hi James

    I know this is off the topic. But do you believe their’s any chance at all that an Italian driver could get an F1 seat for next season.

    I guess if it was to happen Valsecchi would be the most likely. Italians will have to pay to watch F1 next season for the first time so it may help to have an Italian on the grid, even if he’s at the rear end of the grid.

    1. James Clayton says:

      If there’s an Italian at the read end of the grid, the only time he’ll get any notice from the Italian audience is when he’s being lapped by a Ferrari!

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Italians have never cared about Italian drivers in F1, the focus is solely on the red cars

  28. Dave B says:

    I honestly cannot see RBR hiring Lewis Hamilton. Ever. Even if Vettel were to leave, why would RBR want Hamilton who is older?! Surely they would be looking for a STR driver or someone younger?

  29. Alex says:

    It’s interesting that Mark talks about having longer term aspirations in terms of racing and yet he sees a 1 year commitment as his best option. Does add any weight to the ‘chatter’ about Vettel going to Ferrari in 2014? Perhaps Ferrari only offered Mark a year and he figured from the tone that they were ‘stop gapping’ for a year. Maybe Mark figured Red Bull might be keener to have him around beyond 2013 if Seb jumped ship as opposed to then having a completely new line up? 

    Just a thought.

    1. Strong points. Hadn’t thought of him wanting to cement his place there for the long haul in the case of the post-Vettel scenario. He would provide a good benchmark against Ricciardo. The Aussie fans would love that line-up!

      I also think that Webber was concerned about how he’d adapt to a different car, given that he didn’t exactly adapt well to the EBD last year, nor the Pirelli tires. Adapting to a twitchy Ferrari might not be easy for him, and it may have played a part in his decision. Pure speculation from me, however.

  30. Andrew says:

    Hi James, not sure if it’s has been done already, but would it be possible for you (or anyone else) to create a ladder showing the financial give and take for each driver on the grid? That being the amount of money they bring to the team minus their salary.
    I read a comment by Mark Webber and he seemed to suggest the premium drivers contracts were decided more on merit than financial gain for the team. I would like to think that is the case but it would be interesting to see how far the pendulum really swings.

  31. TheGreatTeflonso says:

    If Vettel moves to Ferrari I hope Alonso swaps to Red Bull. Ferrari is really not that great and I think Alonso & Newey would be unstoppable. Ferrari love to say it’s all about the team but they are overrated barring the Brawn Todt Schumi era. If they are dumb enough to hire 2 double world champs they don’t deserve them. Alonso should swap out to Red Bull and kick their butts if so.

  32. TG says:

    Here’s an idea – replace Massa with Charles Pic and spend the difference on Adrian Newey. Bob’s your uncle!

    1. FastNick says:

      Are you on the same planet? Even mosquitos know that Ferrari have offered zillions to Newey but he said no thanks at least on 2 occasions (after Barnard and Byrne I would guess, can’t remember the exact dates). But they can win without him.
      James, you might have something about this in your archives…

    2. Davexxx says:

      Adrian has said he doesn’t want to leave England now, even for Marinello

  33. Whynot says:

    It is funny that no one yet as mentioned Romain Grosjean. He is showing good consistency in scoring points this year and has earned Fernando’s respect when they were team mates at Renault. In my view Felipe will stay but if not I would consider Romain as a very good fit. The big question being: would he go there only for one year to warm the seat for Vettel?

    1. Their complaint with Perez is that he doesn’t have enough experience and is too immature. Grosjean has less experience and has had more crashes. He also isn’t in the Ferrari Driving Academy, unlike Perez. Grosjean also has backing from Total, which wouldn’t fit well at Ferrari.

      Too many reasons against him, not enough for him.

      1. Whynot says:

        Grosjean is scoring points on a regular basis, Perez is not! At the last count Grosjean had 61 points, Jenson Button only 50 and Perez only 39. When a team really wants a driver for him to have backing from a different sponsor is pretty much irrelevant. This happened many times in the past, ie: Ayrton Senna was a JPS then Camel backed driver for years and became a poster boy for Marlboro when he moved to McLaren. Also Alonso knows he could work with Grosjean as a teammate as they have been there before. I am not saying it will happen but it would not be a stupid choice. We’ll all just have to wait and see ;-)

  34. Sergio says:

    I bet Massa stays next season

  35. Elie says:

    I was thinking Massas engineer. Thanks for the heads up, Not a fan of Montezemalo or the way the team think. They paid a fortune to bring Alonso in, and despite all his brilliance they have not been close to winning the constructors. Cause of their no.1 no.2 mentality.

    Thanks also Mister for your genius evaluation of why Ferrari won’t let Massa win. ! You must be a rocket scientist or something. Lol.When he was competitive they made him move over. Any fool incl this one knows they won’t do this now -he is so far behind. Yes every team has politics.But most teams incl have enough confidence in their drivers to let them race when they are/were close. When someone is well in front it makes perfect sense!

    Guess it will be a holding pattern till 2014 for most teams. Probably Ferrari too.. But I would like to see diff pairings- someone experienced in the Williams ( Button maybe)also cause I think they are missing out big time !

  36. Craig Baker says:

    My List of consistent drivers.
    Fernando Alonso
    Mark Webber
    Kimi Räikkönen
    Lewis Hamilton
    Sebastian Vettel
    Nico Rosberg
    Jenson Button
    Paul Di Resta
    Sergio Perez
    Nico Hulkenberg
    Felipe Massa
    Roman Grosjean
    The first 7 have a good car so why move?
    Punching above their weight are Di Resta and Hulkenburg, so what would they do in a Ferrari?

    1. Top 7: Agreed. Why change? Rosberg maybe, if he wants to play number two to Alonso.

      Paul Di Resta: Probably tied to Mercedes, since it was them who brought him from DTM to F1.

      Sergio Perez: Ferrari already said he’s not experienced enough.

      Nico Hulkenberg: Also probably tied to Mercedes, like di Resta. Probably aiming for a seat at Mercedes soon.

      Felipe Massa: Probably one of the few that can actually handle a twitchy Ferrari, unlike the Buttons and Webbers of the grid, who need stable cars to shine.

      Roman Grosjean: Less experience and maturity than Perez, so no chance there.

  37. Chris says:

    Doesn’t every driver dream of driving a Ferrari? Problem is you know you have to go there as backup. Personally I would go for Alguersuari, would score lots of points, great at making unusual strategies work so could do the hold up role well. Would also score high points more often than not.

  38. Don says:

    Here is a name that has been mentioned earlier this season and I have not heard any rumors as of late Jaime Alguersuari. I am a Massa fan and have been since his days at Sauber and back when he was a Ferrari test driver I would hate to see him go but, at the same time I would love to see Jaime behind the wheel again and what better place than Ferrari.

    James have you heard any rumors of Jaime’s future in F1?

    1. He’s probably about 10th on their list, behind Massa, Webber, Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Perez, Bianchi, Barrichello, Irvine… and probably tied with Buemi.

      I think he acrimonious departure from STR has killed most chances for his future. He should head to Le Mans.

  39. kevin says:

    Any news on Kubica? he should be in that 2nd seat!

    1. Davexxx says:

      Sadly no chance. See above.

  40. Fan Jack says:

    I saw this coming. Massa improving somehow during the season, by slowly learning the Pirellis or simply by recovering for good from the terrible shunt, earning some good and important points and there you go: Felipe’s on board in 2012 too. I can’t imagine Ferrari signing up a pilot for just one year. The problem with all this is that Lewis cannot stay for just one year at McLaren if he ever seriously considered going to the Drinks Company (as he called it back in 2010)once Vettel goes to Ferrari. In other words Lewis is not going anywhere! Or do you seriously think Lewis will even consider Lotus?

  41. Fan Jack says:

    I forgot to say: The “expert talk” about the driver line-up for next year has already started to get boring. And will remain so until late summer next year.

  42. Pharrisio says:

    What about Sutil to Ferrari?

    1. James Allen says:

      With his background?

      1. I think his reputation was shattered. He is far from being on the cutting edge of the F1 driver crop now.

    2. Phil says:

      When he was at Silverstone, was he talking/having hospitality with a particular team?

  43. timW says:

    Just a thought, but is it possible that the Seb to Ferrari move could be to replace Alonso, rather than partner him? I’m sure Ferrari would want to keep Fernando, but maybe he fancies a go in the Newey designed rocketship! It sounds a bit unlikely but then so does a Vettel Alonso partnership!

  44. miguel says:

    i cant see posible vetel goin to ferrari to partner alonso , more if it is known alonso has a opinion on who is comin , i think ferrari need somebody like webber , kovalainen , di resta , grosjean etc , a good driver who can score points but no someone who start a war with alonso , ferrari always has a number 1 driver and while alonso is there he is and will be

  45. Charlie says:

    Hmm, Jaime Alguersuari…
    I don’t know if he’s currently a serious contender for Ferrari’s second seat, should Massa not stay, but I do think he is a driver worthy of a crack at a decent team.

  46. Davexxx says:

    James may I ask a general question: How ‘official’ is the Horse Whisperer? Do you regard his comments as, effectively, Ferrari’s true feelings?

    1. James Allen says:

      Oh yes. Its written by a senior Ferrari employee and gives them a chance to say things in a jokey, bloggy kind of way which are dead serious!

  47. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    Personally, I think a lot of the driver market commentary is just fed by the driver’s managers to talk up their annual salary negotiations.

    Schumi set the trend that all the drivers and managers have subsequently learnt. Chopping and changing teams means that unless you get lucky with a Brawn year, you’re in for a few years of “adjustment”. New team, new engineer, etc. That all takes times to bed in and undermines your championship chances.

    Hence if you’re in a good team, unless there is something major (eg Alonso/McLaren experience), you stay with your team rather than move. Button said as much recently when he (paraphrasing) noted that his improved performance last year came from having stability in his life. F1 success is about consistency.

    So if you’re Hamilton, why would you want to move? More money? Not possible. Better team? Not many around and Newey has to retire at some time. Team support? Well Uncle Ron likes him, therefore minimal politics. Strong (but not too strong) teammate. Yes – he would know that on his day he can beat Button comfortably.

    So Hamiton knows he has a good team with strong development expertise behind him. He’ll likely ride out this year’s bad luck and look to next year.

  48. John Snow says:

    “Now coming into bloom are a whole list of possible and potential replacements, with a list of names from A to Z, something Ferrari is well used to. In truth, one letter, the “Z,” seems yet to be uncovered, or quite possibly it’s Zorro…unmasked.”

    Well, here are 21 drivers all better than Massa and available next year…..
    A – Jamie Alguersuari
    B – Sebastian Buemi
    C –
    D – Paul Di Resta
    E – Esterban Gutiérrez
    F – Antonio Felix Da Costa
    G – Gary Paffett
    H – Lewis Hamilton
    I –
    J – James Calado
    K – Hekki Kovillinen
    L – Fabio Leimer
    M – Kevin Magnussen
    N – Felipe Nasr
    O – Oliver Turvey
    P – Sergio Perez
    Q –
    R – Romain Grosjean
    S – Michael Schumacher
    T – Timo Glock
    U –
    V – Davide Valsecchi
    W – Will Power
    X –
    Y – Nick Yelloly
    Z – Alex Zanardi

    Can anyone fill in any of the gaps?

  49. Ankit says:

    I want Schumaker to be in competent car. i THINK Ferrari is a big team and have resources and is pretty competitive to give schumaker a comeback.
    Schumaker is no prick or a one-off. If Alonso were to win races in 2013 then i will be surprised if Schumaker does not win any. He has all it takes. He requires a competitive trustworthy car under his belt

  50. Bernie says:

    I like to bet on Schumaker for Ferrari 2xyear contract post 2012. If he gets this seat…we have 2 years of rock n roll


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