May the best man win
Title Showdown 2014
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Ferrari preparing to switch focus to 2014 at end of September
Scuderia Ferrari
Felipe Massa XPB
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Aug 2013   |  3:18 pm GMT  |  134 comments

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says the team are planning to switch all their efforts to the 2014 car at the end of September.

Teams face a big decision as to when to stop developing this year’s car to allow them to divert more resources to next year when the regulations change dramatically with the introduction of new 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines.

Ferrari are third in the constructors’ championship, 94 points behind Red Bull with eight races remaining. In the drivers’ standings, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is second, 46 points adrift of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, with team-mate Felipe Massa seventh, 130 behind.

The Italian team have decided to keeping pushing until the end of September, which will be after the Italian and Singapore Grands Prix, and then decide whether to continue pushing in pursuit of Vettel and Red Bull or completely switch their attentions to 2014 to ensure they don’t lose ground from the start of the season.

Domenicali told www.f1.com: “September is the month where we will basically start to shift, as the 2014 project is very complex. At the end of September we will then basically switch everyone, depending, of course, on how the situation is with the championship.

“All the top teams realise that if they want to be a force in 2014, then they have to start very quickly to switch resources, as it is a very complex matter – especially for the big teams. My guess is that we might see huge surprises next season in terms of the pecking order.

“In my view – and as far as I remember – the changes that we are facing are the biggest changes we have ever had in Formula 1. It is really important to get it right, otherwise you’re lost.”

XPB.cc

Domenicali also said that he would like to retain Massa, whose contract expires at the end of the season, for 2014 – however, he says the Brazilian, who has driven for Ferrari since 2006, must start to deliver results immediately.

Massa’s future at the team was the subject of speculation at this time last year but a strong run of results saved his seat. The Brazilian continued that form into the early part of this year but following two crashes at the same corner in Monaco in May, his form has dropped off and he is now 84 points behind team-mate Alonso.

He has scored just two podiums since the start of last year and is without a win since 2008, the year where he challenged for the world title before missing out by a point to Lewis Hamilton.

Last time out at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, Massa’s fastest lap was eight tenths slower than team-mate Alonso’s best. While the Spaniard finished second, Massa crossed the line seventh, 26 seconds behind his team-mate.

Domenicali said: “We have to wait and see. My favourite choice would be, of course, to keep Felipe because Felipe is a very good guy – very dedicated to the team – and when you look around there are not so many drivers out there that you swap and they immediately deliver.

“But, of course, we need good results from Felipe, so that’s why we will not rush as we have to make the right decision for the team. As soon as we have made up our minds we will announce it officially to silence the rumours once and for all. When we are ready.”

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134 Comments
  1. TheRealGDG says:

    Well, if Alonso does not win the next two races (Monza & Singapore), Vettel & Red Bull will definitely get their respective 4th championships with Ferrari focusing on 2014.

    Personally, it’s time for Massa to go & make way for new blood like Hulkenberg. Enough is enough…how many more chances do you need?

    1. Phil Glass says:

      Some might say Massa should never have been in Ferrari. He was Schumacher’s choice, I believe, and is Schumacher’s legacy. There were many drivers who could have done as well as Felipe over the years, and could also have been super fast qualifiers and occassional winners, without ever making champion: Montoya, Trulli, Rosberg to name but three.

      If the team are serious about next year, they must bring in Kimi while there is still a chance.

      Alonso will not like it. But he will have to lump it, and it may even drive him on to his greatest wins yet.

      1. Glennb says:

        With all due respect, Felipe held his own quite well against Kimi at Ferrari. 2007 Kimi had the upper hand however Felipe beat him the following year. Felipe was a good choice for Ferrari and performed at a high level until his head injury. I admit that his results since then have been ummm, sparodic. Yes it’s time for him to move on no doubt. I for one will have fond memories of the little Brazillian that could ;)

      2. Dave C says:

        Actually for alot of 2007 Massa had the upperhand on Raikkonen and in 2008 Massa was clearly the stronger driver and also the half of 2009 before that accident, maybe Massa never recovered from that accident and lost his consistency but whatever the case Kimi is no match for Alonso over a season maybe the occasional race he would blow Alonso away but more often than not Alonso would beat Kimi, we need Hamilton at Ferrari or Redbull.

    2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      +1 for HULK

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Me too…

    3. Denis 68 says:

      I find it very difficult to understand how he’s even still in that Ferrari seat. He has been underperforming for years and it’s laughable that they are even considering retaining him for 2014.

      Sadly that say’s more about Ferrari’s management mentality than Massa.

      1. Aadil says:

        Dude I couldnt of said it better!

        It does say everything about Ferrari’s mentality!
        Thats why they so Sh!t & thats why I gave up on supporting them!

        Just like Massa the current Ferrari team is a joke!

    4. Simmo says:

      It’s a shame Sauber didn’t keep Kobayashi. If they had then I could see him at Ferrari next year.

  2. Zombie says:

    Unfortunately, Massa’s problem is not his lack of speed but something more serious inside his brains. Its almost as if he has this “on and off” motivation switch. On his day, he can be as fast as the top 4 drivers. But “his days” are becoming increasingly rare. I would hate to see him leave F1, hopefully he can take some Brazilian sponsorship funds and rejoin Sauber, but Ferrari is not the place for him. Ferrari needs a solid no.2, someone like Hulk,Sutil or even Bianchi.

    1. Tim L says:

      Kimi……the best choice

      1. DonSimon says:

        Politics make it difficult. It undermines so many people at the top of the team.

      2. Zakir says:

        Kimi is not a number 2 driver.Zakir

    2. Jorra says:

      Username is relevant to your comment – braaaaaains!

    3. Robert says:

      Good choices all…although Grojean must rate in that groups for pure speed, although he will not leave Lotus given who his manager is.

      Remember 8 months ago when many people didn’t even want Sutil back in F1?

  3. Elie says:

    James surely Ferrari still want to try to take 2nd from Mercedes and even defend 3rd from Lotus in the constructors ?. If both teams continue strongly to the end of the year and certainly Lotus have indicated they will. Ross Brawn stating its a moving target and predicated on ongoing results. Surely Ferrari cannot settle for 3rd or maybe even 4th if Lotus finish this year strong?,
    I think the real question is how well developed are individual teams program’s -how soon did they start on the 2014 cars and how much resource I already dedicated to it. Seems crazy to switch everything if their constructors money on the line.

    As for Felipe- Ferrari would be absolutely mad if they retained him. There are drivers out there who would easily challenge for a top 5 position regularly in a prancing horse & if they haven’t got that in the last 5 years from Felipe- they never will.

    1. Yago says:

      Hi Elie,

      I would like you to say the names of those available drivers who would easily challenge for a top five position regularly in this year Ferrari.

      A lot of people here seem to belive there are several available drivers who would do better than Felipe (this is stay close to Fernando on points) given the chance. This is not the case, and Ferrari staff is aware of it. To all you who think that way, I am going to be very clear what is my opinion (and almost certainly that of Stefano Domenically as well): there is only one available driver (if he really is available) who could have stayed these past years appreciably closer than Massa to Alonso, Kimi Raikonen.

      For those who think Hulkemberg would deliver, they are free to think so, but I (and Ferrari staff as well) highly dubt it. It would be very bad for Hulkemberg to be compared to Alonso at this stage of his career. He would almost certainly be completely destroyed, hence his progression would be stopped by the pressure that this would generate (the toll that has to be paid for being at Ferrari), and then he would be considered for the rest of his career as a second rate driver.

      To mention Di Resta or Sutil to replace Massa (what I am reading from people here) is a complete joke. And Regarding Grosjean, well, he was between 5 tenths and a second slower than Alonso (more towards a second) in qualifying when they both were at renault.

      On another note, I think it would be really beneficial for Alonso’s reputation (at least in this site) to have Raikonen on the other Ferrari, as he would destroy him in quali (I know from reading your posts you won’t agree in this regard, or at least you would not admit it) and hopefully that way end the nonsense of people here saying he is a bad qualifyer.

      1. Elie says:

        Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Nico Roseberg, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, and I would be taking a punt on Bianci before any of these guys.

        The thing is Ferrari want a lap dog not a racer,, if you want a racer you have to fix the team. You don’t take the race out of “racer” and expect him to perform consistently week in week out. It then becomes a demotivating job / sport & job because before you start you are already beaten- that’s what’s smashed Felipes fighting spirit.

        I don’t believe a word that comes out of Ferrari- they are highly political team with self image that dominates anything else on their agenda. With that in mind I take anything Domenicali and Montezemolo say with a grain of salt.

        I have no idea where you dream up that Fernando is a good qualifier when he himself has admitted that he is not- and it’s hard to know who is better. I think on average Kimi might have out qualified him this year- there’s certainly not much in it either way. But what Kimi has done for Lotus is really quite remarkable and I don’t want him to go back to that pack of loosers… They made their bed… They can ly in another few years before they work out they’ve got it all wrong .

      2. Yago says:

        It’s pretty clear that you let your sentiments to influence your comments, so you are unable to make unbiased analysis. Calling Ferrari a “pack of losers” is proof of this.

        From the drivers you say, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Ricciardo are not available so I am not going to comment on them. Nico Hulkenberg I already commented in my previous post. On Bianchi, it is absolutely impossible for you (and everybody else) to know yet if he would deliver, as there is not enough data.

        On Alonso and his qualifying skills, it is interesting that the argument you follow (and other people as well) is that Alonso himself has said he is not a good qualifier, which is an absurd and not valid argumentation. Even more, it is absolutely false, I can warrantee you. But if you want to use his comments as an argument, several years ago, asked by an spanish journalist during an interview for a spanish TV, he said he would have no problem to go against all the other drivers in the same car, and do several laps to see who was the fastest. He said he was confident he would beat everyone on that regard.

        I am not going to argue here why Alonso is a super fast qualifier, because I already posted more than one post defending it with arguments based on the data available. So I am not going to repeat it. Just want to say that if finally Kimi goes to Ferrari, yes that “pack of losers”, after some races I will post here a comment on the line “I already told you”.

      3. Elie says:

        The problem you have Yago is they you actually believe Ferrari and Fernando. They are both one in the same in terms if their political dialogue..

        Look you never know in F1- anythings possible – Kimi might go back there- but only on his terms this time.It means Ferrari need to listen to Kimi this time to set the car up- he has proved he gets more out of a car much quicker than any driver. Last year at Lotus he proved that on his return. If Fernando can share responsibility they will both benefit and they will both be at very front in a new formula.
        They are both mature racers now and around the same age- so surely this can be a strong partnership if they are treated equally.

      4. Puffing says:

        No, that was not what ALO said, I’m afraid. It was something like (though not literal), “might be I’m not THE best qualifier [ ... ] but I’m a good qualifier”. Sounding to me quite ironic in the context of the interview.

      5. H.Guderiam says:

        +1.000.000!!!!

      6. puffing says:

        +1. On all of your points.

      7. Ferrari tends to build twitchy cars. They’re fast, but they’re not easy to drive. That’s why Fisichella jumped into the Ferrari after almost winning at Spa in a Force India, only to languish at the back of the field in the Ferrari. What happened? He, like many F1 drivers, couldn’t extract the maximum out of a car that doesn’t tend toward slight understeer.

        Massa? He can handle a twitchy Ferrari. He’s not deadly quick, but he’s much better than most of the field at making an unfriendly car go fast.

        Webber? Wouldn’t have done well at Ferrari, and the evidence is in his lack of ability to make the exhaust blown diffuser work for him.

        Button? Same as Webber; he likes a nice, friendly car. Remember in Renault when Fisichella embarrassed him? He’s great in a great car, but can’t shine in a car that isn’t easy to drive. BAR/Honda/Brawn and McLaren have all had relatively friendly cars to drive. Renault showed his flaws.

        Hulkenberg? I think he’d do fairly well, as the Williams wasn’t nice to drive. I haven’t noticed much about this year’s Sauber, but based on his pole in 2010, he can handle a twitchy car and extract good time from it.

        Kovalainen? I think he’d be a perfect teammate. He proved he was quick against Hamilton (only slightly slower despite more fuel), and he has proven that he can extract speed out of a mediocre car (Caterham). He was poor in Renault, but I think that had more to do with management than anything else.

        Bianchi? From what I have seen, he has made less mistakes than most other rookies, and can handle a twitchy car (Marussia).

        If I were Ferrari, I would leave Bianchi in Marussia for one more year, then maybe move him to Sauber in 2015 for a year for some experience in a mid-level team, then Ferrari in 2016. Until then, I would draft in Kovalainen to help develop the new turbo car and be a solid number two driver for 2014 and 2015; then depending on results, perhaps keep him on for stability for 2016. Hulkenberg would be my second choice.

        Raikkonen would be a strong candidate, and if I thought Alonso could handle having a second number one driver, he would be my first choice… but it would probably end the same way as his McLaren foray, or Mansell/Piquet in ’86, where battles between teammates cost them the overall title.

        Not an easy call, but dismissing Massa is not an easy call to make either, as not many of the current crop of F1 drivers would definitely be able to take over his role and do much better… unless they’re Raikkonen, in which case they may lose motivation, or they may rob each other of points.

      8. Yago says:

        Hi malcolm.strachan,

        I agree on several points you made. However, I do not on several others. I think Kovalainen would be obliterated by Alonso and the pressure in that sister Ferrari. From what a can see, Masa is considerably faster than him. Then, this thing that Alonso can not handle a competitive teammate. The only problem he has had was at McLaren, and that was with the team management, nothing to do with being challenged by a teammate (although he was probably caught at the back foot then, as he didn’t expect a rookie to be that fast). That’s a misinterpretation that is very common. However, you are supposing that he would be truly challenged by Kimi, which I doubt.

        But you made good points on the Ferraris, they generally are not easy cars to drive. And right, there are not many drivers who would do appreciably better than Massa. Interesting point on Webber, I don’t know if he handles well cars when they are not to his liking, probably you are right he doesn’t. What I’m pretty sure is that Massa can be considerably faster than Webber, and that he would do better than him in a Red Bull. However, I am not that sure Massa handles well difficult cars to drive. He sure can drive fast anything, but with a difficult car I think he is too inconsistent.

    2. Andrewinwork says:

      Who would want the drive knowing they’d have to forget any aspirations at the WDC and know that the car would be developed purely to suit your team mate. Ferrari often say they’ll only look at mature proven drivers so that rules out a young driver with years in the bank and leaves a very small pool from which to choose.
      Besides which, with the regulation changes coming up I’d imagine they’ll be looking to try to retain drivers if at all possible rather than trying to fit an unknown driver into an unknown car

    3. slim says:

      they get most prize money no matter where they finish. be it 1st or 11th.

      1. Juzh says:

        They don’t. They get a few more % on top of their finishing WCC position. They do get the most money if they finish 1st(obviously) or 2nd. If they finish 3rd they get less than the team which finished 1st.

    4. KRB says:

      Yeah, Felipe’s time should be up. He’s second only to Schumacher in terms of GPs raced for Ferrari!

      180 Schumacher
      131 Massa
      102 Barrichello
      96 Berger

      So it can’t be said they haven’t kept faith with him through the years.

      Give Hulkenberg a shot, let’s see what he can do.

  4. goferet says:

    Hmm… So basically the worst thing that could happen to Ferrari is for Vettel have a bad run of results in September for this would entice the team into a false hope leading to the waste of resources which should have been diverted to 2014.

    Anyway, I think Ferrari are looking good for 2014 because all this time Byrne (and now Allison too) have been working behind the scenes for I recall at the launch of the 2013 car, Byrne said something along the lines >>> ”You think the 2013 car is good, just you wait till you see the 2014 one”

    But one thing I don’t agree with Domencalli is, we won’t see any surprises come 2014 for it will be the usual players up front, I mean, it’s not like Catheham is suddenly going to become the team to beat >>> Unless of course, Domencalli was referring to Red Bull as in he doesn’t think they team to beat.

    As for Massa, yes Ferrari’s loyalty to him is heart warming. Just goes to show if Luca + Alonso like you, the only time you will leave the team is on your retirement day.

    And seeing as Ferrari are keen to silence the rumours, one can’t help thinking Kimi was never on Ferrari’s wish list from the very start.

    1. Angelina says:

      +1
      Good analysis goferet!

      1. goferet says:

        @ Angelina

        Merci

    2. Yago says:

      Byrne didn’t say that. He sayd this year’s proyect is a toy compared to next year´s.

    3. Fireman says:

      Byrne: “You think the 2013 car is good, just you wait till you see the 2014 one.”

      That’s what Hamilton said about the 2013 McLaren car. There’s no way knowing where Ferrari will end up in 2014.

      1. Ezio Auditore says:

        Although I agree with your comment, about there being a lot uncertainty. What Hamilton says about the new car is very different from what Bryne says about the new car!

      2. goferet says:

        @ Fireman

        No, that isn’t the same because Lewis is a driver whilst Byrne is an engineer so it’s more wise to take the word of the person that builds the cars

      3. Fireman says:

        Sure. But what makes the car good is how it compares to others and the comparison is done on the track. Thus, Byrne doesn’t know how good the 2014 Ferrari will really be until first test (or even the first race). So, it’s pointless to state that Ferrari looks good for 2014. We, as Byrne or any member of a team, can only guess.

    4. Hansb says:

      Hmm about Massa staying at Ferrari, has his manager being the son of Jean Todt something to do with it ?

      1. goferet says:

        @ Hansb

        Am not sure if Massa’s manager has anything to do with Massa’s seat because Ferrari and Jean Todt fell out sometime ago.

  5. Nigel says:

    Well, if Alonso does not win the next two races (Monza & Singapore), Vettel & Red Bull will definitely get their respective 4th championships

    A couple of Mercedes 1-2s might spoil that ‘definitely’.

    1. Spyros says:

      It amazes me how many people have bought into the whole ‘If-a-team-wins-once-they-gain-momentum-over-the-team-that-previously-won-X-times’ nonsense.

      1. KRB says:

        Truly … there’s no magic bullets anymore in F1. There were more than a few people, most anti-LH, predicting that he would go on to sweep the title, after his win in Hungary. One race win!!

        I knew that confirmation would be needed in the following races, and Spa confirmed that Merc and the rest are still a few steps behind RBR in car performance.

    2. Don Salsa says:

      yes, a couple of 1-2s from the Merc would be fantastic for the rest of the season; common Merc, don’t let the show ‘die’…!!!

  6. W Johnson says:

    The news here is that it seems Massa still has a good chance to retain his seat.

    1. Don says:

      oh dear…..

    2. Andrewinwork says:

      Last year would have been the time to change, that way they could have bedded him in prior to the regulation changes. Trying to put a new driver into the new car would be a huge task. Add that to Fiat’s need for marketing in South merica makes a strong case for Massa getting the seat for another year.

  7. Ashboy says:

    I think Red bull are looking the strongest team for next year.

    Because Red Bull could of switched all there resorces to 2014 after the summer shut down? They brought some upgrades to Spa which would of been in the pipe line for a few weeks. But with them so far ahead, everyone else needs to catch up and overtake very very soon IE like Vettel last year winning 4 on the bounce. If they have stopped development already the others would need 3/4 races to catch up (speed wise) then even if they do that they still need a lot better finishes then Vettel to overhall the points gap.

    If Redbull was overtaken by Merc or Ferrari speed wise soon and was the second best car for the last 4/5 races Vettel would only need 3rd/4th place finishes to wrap up the title.

    1. K says:

      “Would have”, not “would of”. So many people make this mistake on internet.

      “Of” expresses the relationship between a part and a whole. “Have” is to possess a characteristic, quality, or function.

      So “Red Bull could have switched”, “upgrades to Spa which would have been in the pipe line”, “GP of Canada”, “grammar of a teenager” and so forth.

    2. Roberto says:

      I disagree. RB could elect to concentrate on 2014 and go on cruise control for the remainder of this year, but I suspect they realize that the pack isn’t that far behind performance wise. Plus a crash and a mechanical failure for Vettel is a very real possibility; i.e. the championship isn’t in the bag quite yet. As for 2014, with the huge changes coming it is reasonable to expect one or two of the top teams will miss the mark, especially because the mark is so hard to define at the moment. Many people would not be surprised if a mid pack team or even a tail-end-Charlie team will find just the right design and be fast right out of the box. Of course, in time, the cream rises to the top. But I wouldn’t place any bets just yet on the winner of the first race next year. It might not be one of this year’s top three or four teams.

  8. Stephen Taylor says:

    James would you prefer to see someone different with Alonso at Ferrari?

    1. James Allen says:

      Good question!

      I think Massa has had plenty of chances, but he’s part of the family there and they are quite conservative.

      I’d like to see what someone like Hulkenberg could do there, for sure. But maybe they are now thinking another year for Massa then Bianchi will have two years experience and if he keeps progressing as he is he can move in there in 2015? He’s part of the family too.

      The only risk there is if the relationship with Alonso collapses (I don’t think it will) and they don’t have a world champion. They must always have a world champion in the car

      1. Jordon191 says:

        In addition to being part of the family, I think Massa’s retention has had much to do with Santander;s wishes; fully 25% of its global business is the Brazilian market. I bet if Hulkenberg were a young Brazilian, the ink would already by dry on his Ferrari contract.

      2. Don says:

        OK so Massa is part of the ‘family’ maybe, but surely the fact he is a very poor driver again this year, and squandering the chance to win valuable constructors points must mean that somebody somewhere in the corridors of Ferrari has to cut him lose soon…. how many years can Ferrari depend on just Alonso to win the constructors championship???

        Is Massa Enzo Ferrari’s secret son / love-child or something? Massa is in my mind a ‘civil-servant’ driver – quite happy to plod along, staying out of trouble, not pushing in case he has another accident and collecting his pay-check every week

        Surely Alonso deserves a half-decent wingman…. can somebody please offer Webber an offer he can’t refuse???

      3. Have you seen Massa’s father?! Massa is a clone! He’s definitely not the offspring of the milkman!

      4. Dave P says:

        Really? How about when Berger and Alesi were there?

      5. James Allen says:

        That is quite some time ago.

        There was 2007 with Raikkonen and Massa but there weren’t too many world champions in the field in 2007!

      6. Yago says:

        When they signed Kimi they didn’t have any world champions in the car.

      7. KRB says:

        There was only one DWC on the grid then, already signed. A consequence of Schumacher’s prior dominance then retirement, plus a new cycle of drivers coming into the sport.

        Let’s not split hairs.

      8. Roberto Arroyo says:

        In a company when somebody has many years working, it becomes an integral part, a family member as James mentioned. Although his results have not helped him there´s still belief in him and it´s difficult to throw away somebody after so many years inside and the loyalty showed. None of the upcoming drivers have showned dramatically, ok HUL and BIA have done some interesting things, and obviously they will do a great job in the red car, but Ferrari is still thinking that MAS has more to give than any of the other drivers in the championship. I think they won´t contract RAI, 2014 will be MAS last year in Ferrari and them will pass to Sauber, while HUL or BIA will be the choice for 2nd driver in 2015. After that Felipe we´ll be an ambassador for the Brand even if he´s driving for Sauber for some period until retirement.

      9. Harshad says:

        Well Atleast the “world Champion” problem is solved!
        Among the current drivers Button/Lewis/Vettel will join ferrari moment Alonso walks out! Kimi as reports suggests is ready to join even alongside Alonso.
        I guess part of the problem may be solved, so may be thats why they are taking chances with Massa.

      10. W Johnson says:

        James, You managed to squeeze a “For sure” in for good measure.

      11. Tealeaf says:

        Its easy for them to have a world champion in the car, if Alonso wants to leave there’s nowhere for him to go apart from Lotus or a midfield team, he’s not welcome at McLaren or Mercedes whilst Hamilton is there and I doubt Redbull would allow Alonso to come in and try dictate terms especially when I believe Vettel is the faster driver anyway, and Ferrari could replace him with Kimi, Button or even Hamilton and eventually Vettel, Alonso is running out of ideas and time, Ferrari needs 2 new drivers.

      12. Torchwood Five says:

        What does it take to become “part of the family”?

        Kobayashi was testing a different level of Ferarri for them earlier this year; at least, I don’t think it was an F1 car

        http://formula1.ferrari.com/news/kobayashi-my-aim-formula-1

        Also involved with them promotions in Moscow.

        Although the team have kept faith with Massa, I think they have done more to damage his winning drive than any external pressures – having him make way for a team-mate who is behind him on the track, surrender at least one sure victory, and the infamous (but quickly forgotten outside of this household) sabotaging his gearbox in Austin last year.

        Are there any other drivers on the current F1 grid, Hulkenberg included, who would put up with that ****?

      13. James Clayton says:

        “They must always have a world champion in the car”

        What makes you say this? There was no champion in the Kimi-Massa lineup for the first year.

        Obviously before that they had Schumacher for a looong time, but then before that their lineup was Berger and Alesi for a good few years.

      14. Stephen Taylor says:

        If Kimi retires who takes the lead role at Lotus?

    2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      HULK could be a World Champion in a couple of years for sure. What are they thinking?

  9. Philip J Fry says:

    Is it just or is anyone else bored to tears with this persistent inertia from Ferrari?

    Yes, we all love Massa but it is time to go. He is hurting his own legacy and the team. He would be a great brand ambassador and likely be successful in another series.

    Get fresh blood into the blood red car.

    1. TGS says:

      I agree. I wouldn’t resign Massa even if he lowered his salary to the price of a cheese pizza and a large soda where I used to work, Panucci’s Pizza.

      1. Philip J Fry says:

        Maybe Massa could be the new Pizza delivery boy seen as the last got frozen?

      2. TGS says:

        It’s either that or start searching for a seven leaf clover.

    2. ManOnWheels says:

      I think he’s doing what everyone would do in his position: Enjoying to drive these fantastic machines and hoping for his luck to come back to him and have a season where everything works just like it should.

      1. Philip J Fry says:

        I don’t even think he is enjoying it. Massa used to have a grin welded to his face. I can’t remember the last time I saw him smiling now.

  10. All revved-up says:

    Its very interesting that Domenicali says that “there are not many drivers out there who will immediately deliver (points)” (I’m guessing he means championship points).

    I guess what he says is quite true and brings home how rare a top flight F1 driver is. Hence while we might all observe that Massa and Webber have not performed as well as the top driver in their teams, replacing them with a better driver is not straight forward.

    Grosjean is a good example – being completely out scored by Kimi despite looking on the basis of selected on track performance a very fast driver.

    Perez is out scored by Button.

    And sadly, Rosberg too – although I’d give him the benefit of perhaps some bad luck. So I’ll reserve my judgement on Rosberg and Perez for another season.

    I guess to think honestly about Domenicali’s observation – who do we think can jump into the Ferrari and deliver more points than Massa?

    Kimi, Hulk, Ricciardo, DiResta? Rosberg?

    Perhaps Domenicali is right – a top point scoring F1 driver is a very rare individual. And to-date there are only 4 or 5. That’s certainly not enough to spread around a season where there are 4 or 5 top teams.

    If this is right – securing two top point scoring drivers is strategically very important to be a WCC contender. Because by doing so – the opposition is weakened by their weaker pair of point scoring drivers.

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      Rosberg is not leaving Mercedes :D

    2. Bryce says:

      Good post. It has always bothered me that people can be so silly to think that the top teams such as the Bulls would not be hiring drivers of the highest calibre, but maybe most of it has to do with driver bias from fanboys.

      Whilst Massa has struggled for consistency since returning, I applaud the red team for standing by an employee in his position.

    3. KRB says:

      I think all five you mentioned would deliver more points than Massa.

      Rosberg’s easily been the best no.2 this season … at this stage I’d put him as the 5th best driver on the grid, just ahead of Button. Certainly he has more future upside than Button.

      Massa has had his time, and his chance. I just don’t see how they could think that any other decent driver could do any worse.

    4. BlackBull says:

      Domenicali was asked in June this year who would be the two drivers in his fantasy F1 team. The answer? Fernando and Kimi. Nuff said.

      More news re: Räikkönen’s Ferrari contract may come as soon Sunday… Promptly followed by Robertson denying everything once again D;

    5. James Clayton says:

      But Massa isn’t scoring top points. I find it hard to believe that any of the potential replacements would fare any WORSE that Massa.

    6. Paige says:

      I think you’ve got to say that Rosberg has shown this year to be a top scoring driver. Anyone who wins two races and scores three poles in a year should be considered as such. Sure, he’s getting beaten by Hamilton even when you consider the lost points each have had due to bad luck, but you don’t have to beat Hamilton to be a top scoring driver.

      I think the only two options righ now for Ferrari are Kimi and Hulkenberg. Bianchi needs to have a year in the midfield with someone like Forc India or Sauber. Di Resta has shown good things this year,but has still lacked consistency. Jenson won’t leave McLaren, and Sutil feels like a lateral step. Hulkenberg has done enough to display his talent and ability in a decent car last year and to get the most out of a poor car this year to get a drive with a top team. And Kimi is Kimi.

    7. ManOnWheels says:

      From what’s available on the Market, as a Ferrari owner I would set my money on Sutil, not only is he more experienced that Hülkenberg, he seems to be more loyal and he is constantly on par with, if not faster, than any team mate they are throwing at him, even a hyped prodigy driver like DiResta has to acknowledge this guy is very good.

  11. PM says:

    Enzo Ferrari would have replaced Massa by now. I feel like Ferrari is missing that killer instinct nowadays.

    1. El Diablo says:

      Yes, get someone in who would give Alonso a fright and who has nothing to loose…Kobayashi would be better than Kimi IMHO – would cost less and the bloke just goes for it.

  12. Michael Prestia says:

    I like Massa, I think he is a great guy but he has spent the last 3 years mostly underperforming. Even if he starts performing well like he did at the end of last year there is no guarantee he can maintain his form. I believe it is time for a change… get an Italian driver or a Canadian driver in the driver’s seat of the 2nd Ferrari. These 2 nationalities are not represented in the sport anymore.

    1. Matthew Cheshire says:

      Surely that’s a slippery slope recruiting drivers on nationality. It’s bad enough with pay drivers choking the grid, but playing United Nations too?

      Only the big teams can afford to choose drivers on talent alone, and they get obsessed with experience too.

      New drivers with talent are a dying breed, and even those few are invisible at the back of the field.

      F1 is the lesser for it. Look at how obsessed we are with the smallest details about the handfull of big name drivers.

      Surely new talent should be more interesting than Vettel’s hair colour. Or his nationality.

    2. DK says:

      Fiscicela and Badoer were the last two Italian they put in a red car ……. Hmmm….

    3. KRB says:

      When was the last time Ferrari drafted in a driver not even on the circuit?

      I’d love to see a Canadian on the grid. Rob Wickens is a good driver who’s been overlooked. He beat teammate Vergne to the Formula Renault title in 2011. Currently he’s in DTM, with a certain M.Schumacher acting as driver mentor.

      His win at Spa in 2010 GP3 was amazing stuff.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVR78o1Yh68
      (jump to 14:00 in …)

      Sadly, not likely to happen.

    4. Torchwood Five says:

      Actually, an Italian driver is a good idea. With Ferarri being the national team, an Italian, I feel, is more likely to be willing to fall on his sword to promote the team’s interests over his own, which I feel is the only sticking point.

    5. F458 says:

      That’s great but which Italian or Canadian Driver is ready for a Ferrari seat?

      1. Michael P says:

        Robert Wickens CDN
        James Hinchcliffe CDN

        Ferrari Driver academy has 2 Italian and 1 CDN kid.

        So they are out there but they need a chance.

      2. KRB says:

        Pretty sure Wickens is the only CDN with a FIA super-license at present.

    6. James Clayton says:

      It’s not Ferrari’s job to ensure an even spread of national repersentation amongst the field. Besides, as far as I’m aware there’s no Canadian or Italian talent immediately ready for F1.

    7. James Clayton says:

      It’s not Ferrari’s job to ensure an even spread of national representation amongst the field. Besides, as far as I’m aware there’s no Canadian or Italian talent immediately ready for F1.

    8. Ravi says:

      Right and F1 is like the Olympics of-course, we need all nations to be represented and how dare Ferrari not think about this responsibility !

  13. Valentino from montreal says:

    In the “old days” Ferrari started their season with the previous car for the fly-aways .. They began doing this as of the 2001 season up until 2005 I believe …

    The TV viewing audience knew trouble was ahead when Schumacher/ and or Barrichello were able to comfortably win the race in last season’s car !

    Ferrari was a well-oiled machine back then … Those days are forever gone … Sadly : ((

  14. Robert N says:

    The question I find slightly more interesting is: when will RBR switch all resources to 2014? Arguably they are in a position to do so now, you would still expect Vettel to mix it up at the front and score consistent podiums until the end of the season. So it is hard to see anyone else winning WDC and WCC.

    But maybe they prefer to keep on developing the 2013 car so that they can get as many wins in 2013 as possible?

  15. Rob Newman says:

    “My favourite choice would be, of course, to keep Felipe because Felipe is a very good guy … ” …

    Well, I wish I can get away without delivering but just being nice at my work place. :)

    Wake up Ferrari. If you want a lap dog, then keep Massa. If you want points, then get Hulkenberg or Kimi while they are still available.

  16. Marc says:

    Ferrari have a No1 & No2 driver policy, so it can’t work with Kimi. If Ferrari will replace Massa next year, they’ll take someone like H’berg or D’Resta who would automatically work as No2 without complaining. It also sounds like Bianchi is already in for 2015…

  17. andrew c says:

    I wonder if Ferrari are worried about rocking the boat with Alonso and getting in a driver that would trouble him. The level of talent in the field is quite high so it would appear highly likely someone would maybe unsettle Alonso. The problem obviously is that by keeping Massa they effectively only have a one car team which is surely hard for them to justify. Interesting times ahead.

  18. shri says:

    Massa needs to be replaced.

    If RB perform the same way as last race then it would be game over for all for this year championship.

  19. Anil Parmar says:

    Massa has been appalling these last few years but should he leave Ferrari he may well become the driver with the best ‘last win’. He was sensational at Brazil 2008.

  20. AlexD says:

    Of all the top teams red bull is the ona that can switch to 2014 the fastest. I think that last 5-6 races will be really boring….not because there will be no racing, but because there will be no fight for the title.

    I woul love to see Kimi in a Ferrari again…..

  21. Richard says:

    James, Massa took three podiums since the start of last year. Suzuka 2012 (2nd), Brazil 2012 (3rd), and Spain 2013 (3rd). You stated he has only achieved two. Still, that is not enough for a Ferrari driver. P.S. Keep up the good work.

  22. kumar says:

    Where speed & aggression are the names of the game, I wonder why Ferrari is choosing to be conservative here. No offense to Massa. But given Ferrari’s legacy and their quest to be the #1 in this sport, they should have replaced Massa by now.

    James, do you think the dearth of talent pipe line in F1 the cause of Ferrari not able to find a suitable guy sooner? Could the emergence of paid drivers have inhibited the real talent from taking stage and showcasing their talent ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Possibly. There is some talent coming through from other areas of F1, but Ferrari only has Bianchi anywhere near ready to go

  23. Jacob la fripouille says:

    I’m so sick of Ferrari!! as a long term fan of the red team i’m starting to wonder what has happened to them.

    Why keep Massa if he can not deliver good results? they will never win another Constructors championship if only 1 driver scores points.

    And they are always complaining about their wind tunnel, their updates never work, without Alonso they would be a joke!

    Ok i’m done.

  24. Harshad says:

    James, don’t know why they are keeping Massa still, but is it something to do with keeping Alonso in “check”.

    i.e Massa competed for WDC in 2008 (when they backed him over Kimi).

    Any new driver in that Ferrari will take some time to start delivering and Alonso for sure outscore him easily. Seeing this who Knows Alonso starts getting a little more demanding and tries to run this team his way (read power struggle)Ferrari could switch allegiances to Massa to tackle Alonso!

    P.S. I’m just speculating because I can’t really find any other reason as to why they want to keep Massa :)

  25. goferet says:

    Meanwhile, the one area where Ferrari are still top of the pops is via reliability.

    Get this, in Alonso’s Ferrari career to date, he has had only one mechanical DNF since Malaysia 2010 incidentally which was his second race for the team.

    And again, this must be down to the Ferrari consultant Byrne for this used to be his main strength during the Schumi era.

    P.s.

    Meanwhile, isn’t Alonso long overdue another mechanical DNF???

    Me thinks we should get ready for one anytime soon.

    1. Rob Newman says:

      I know you are not really wishing Alonso to have some bad luck in the coming races but I was watching some programs on Sky F1 and almost everyone wants Vettel to have a few DNFs. Journalists, F1 past and current drivers, everyone.

      It is rather sad. Teams should try to improve their cars and drivers should improve their driving as well as physical and mental skills instead of trying to play mind games when it comes to delivering results on track.

      Only in F1 they are expecting the person who is doing the best job to have bad luck. Very sad.

  26. ShaBooPi says:

    Its time for Massa to go. Ferrari don’t care about the constructor champ or they’d push harder to finish second, and have dumped Massa already. I think Hulkenberg is a good fit because he has shown pace in several teams. I believe the Ferrari is a very hard car to drive possibly harder than merc and the red bull which is why Ferrari are nervous. But it’s time. Massa is a millionaire several times over. He should have no complaints.

    1. Yago says:

      There is something in your comment. The Ferrari is an extremley difficult car to drive. Since Germany (3 gps) we have seen a spin from Massa at Germany, a spin from Alonso at Spa’s qualifying and then in the race Alonso almost spun after outbraking Hamilton while defending, right after passing him. Not to mention Massa’s accidents at Monaco’s and Canada’s qualifyings, and an spin from Alonso at Canada’s qualifying too.

      Alonso is a driver who almost never blocks the front tires under braking. This year he is blocking more than once in almost every single race. I think Ferrari did concentrate too much in total downforce levels instead of bringing updates to better the overal handling of the car. Now they have said that they are switching the focus towards the later.

  27. freakman says:

    Time for massa to move along I’m afraid, button to the red car I think he and alonso would work well together they have very similar driving styles. Kimi back to mclaren? And the hulk to lotus? Works for me!

  28. Notna says:

    Driving for Ferrari used to be a privilege but Massa’s continued presence is making it look like a right.

    Domenicali’s somewhat odd show of support, just the weird timing of it, sounds like a half cooked comment some anonymous team outsider would say. Sadly, it just adds to the idea that Ferrari have somewhat lost their way.

    I really hope they’re not thinking of retaining Massa because he’s a nice guy but sadly that’s just what it sounds like to me.

  29. Warren G says:

    I’ve never considered this before, but maybe Massa’s seat is actually being saved by Ferrari’s 2009 experience after Massa’s accident. Remember how slow Badoer was in comparison to Raikkonen? Replacing him with Fisichella wasn’t much better, yet both drivers were highly experienced. It could be this that prevents the team from just tossing Massa aside and putting some new blood into the seat.

    This might also be why Raikkonen is possibly in the picture again – they know he knows how to drive a Ferrari and his new found consistency is highly appealing surely.

    1. All revved-up says:

      Great point.

      I’ve always rated Fisichella – but I was shocked how badly he struggled with the Ferrari. He was way out of the Top 12 in an era when there were only 2 or 3 teams with race winning cars.

      1. albert says:

        is the ferrari so much more difficult to drive? is seems so , badoer a long established ferrari testdriver was nowhere, fisi coming from a guaranteed win (only for the lack of kers )in a force india went to the back of the grid and, before , mika salo wasnt great either . On the other hand , alonso won his first race for ferrari . .

  30. MJSib says:

    Unfortunately F1 is not a place for nice guys. Ferrari need 2 drivers who can consistently score points and Massa can no longer do that. Kimi would be 1st choice but I think Hulkenberg will be given the seat. I don’t see Di Resta getting a top drive as he’s too quick to criticise everyone but himself which won’t sit well with the top teams

  31. The Spanish Inquisitor says:

    An elegant way of saying “The season is over”

  32. Andrew says:

    James what is your view on the Kimi to Ferrari rumours?

    Seems like it would be win win for everyone at first glance but more complex on second viewing. At first glance Ferrari get a second top class driver who is a points machine meaning they can challenge for the constructors championship. Kimi slips into a Top 4 team with all their resources and money at his beck and call. At the moment Kimi reminds me of Senna when he drove for Lotus fighting the big boys in a smaller team.

    Yet feels almost too dangerous to hire Kimi. While it reminds Alonso that there are other fast drivers on the grid and could force him more in line. (Ferrari boss did say recently no driver is bigger than Ferrari. Alonso must have been a little annoyed with that considering he has been carrying that team and their second best cars on his back for the last 4 years.) Also Ferrari know that Kimi could lose interest if not properly handled as he did in 2009.

    It is an interesting story which seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Love to hear your comments on it?

  33. Fox says:

    For sure it all starts in Sep. Because Ellison starts from Sep:) His task will be to build a winning car for 2014.

  34. Bollo says:

    The thing that irritates me about Massa is he has the personality of an old boot. Ferrari is about speed, passion and excitement – or at least that is what they trade on, and which has nothing in common with Massa.

    Kimi is similarly devoid of personality but he manages to use it in a way that makes him topical and controversial plus he is consistently quick so everyone wants him and will happily put up with his mono-tone delivery and FU attitude for the results he brings.

    Ferrari needs the champion driver (which they have) and a crazy young gun who wins, or crashes, gets into pit lane fights and bares his arse at reporters. Other massive corporate run teams could not put up with this behavior but Ferrari is different so some passion here could be displayed and even welcomed. Look at the stupid stunt LDM did with the knives – what a pointless histrionic thing to do as a manager… but if a driver were to carry on like that the press couldn’t get enough of it. That would suit their image so much better than want they have now which more than hints that Ferrari just is a slow, lumbering multinational company devoid of imagination or drive.

    Plus having a clearly slow number 2 driver undermines Alonso’s credibility as there is always the question of how quick he actually is in comparison and I think he is feeling the pressure from this right now from management and fans.

  35. Craig Baker says:

    Maybe the fault for where Ferrari is in the pecking order lies not with Massa but with Domenicali for not making the right choices at critical times.

    Are Ferrari backing the best designers/ engineers to give them total ownership of the development?

    They certainly have one of the very best drivers available in Alonso.

  36. Michael says:

    Ferrari will get Kimi back. The idea of becoming Santander’s marketing department has been a 4 year failure. If Ferrari had had Kimi in 2010 and 2012 they wold have won the championships and everything would be completely different. That is what I must believe is the perspective from within Ferrari. Massa is too slow, Alonso shunts too much and chokes too much under end-of-season pressure. Alonso’s a great driver, but he leaves too many points on the table due to these flaws relative to Kimi.

    1. All revved-up says:

      I am a Kimi fan. But how do you explain 2008 when Massa beat Kimi? Today it’s unthinkable that Alonso could ever be beaten by Massa over a season.

      I too feel Kimi had awful luck that year – Hamilton crashing into him at the end of the pitlane in Canada, numerous car failures etc.

      What’s your view as to why Kimi finished behind Massa that year?

      1. Yago says:

        I am not Michael but I am going to answer ;)

        It has nothing to do with luck. Massa was faster than Kimi that year, plain simple. Why? Because Massa is a very fast driver, and when he has a very good car under him, he is difficult to beat as he is a very good qualifier. You have to add to this that Kimi struggled with the direction Ferrari was developing the car. He is a driver that when the car is to his liking is very fast, but his sweet spot is quite small.

        Even being a bit slower than Massa, if Kimi had in 2008 the consistency he is having this year, he would have had a chance of being world champion for second time in a row, as Massa’s consistency has never been good. The thing is he was inconsistent, and only Kimi knows the reasons. But consistency at ferrari is hard to reach, due to the super high levels of pressure, even more if you are not happy with the behavior of the car.

      2. Harshad says:

        Here take a look;
        http://f1bias.com/2012/04/05/truth-about-kimi-ferrari-santander-2008/

        This is how Kimi was beaten by Massa and Ferrari both!

  37. Geoff Norman says:

    Unfortunately I think it’s time for Massa to leave Ferrari. He’s been a great servant of the scuderia but he’s been more than amply repaid by the team’s loyalty to him. He’s too inconsistent – except in the wet when he’s always been poor – and should regularly be one or, at most, two positions behind Alonso. Coming up with a replacement is more difficult but Bianchi would seem to be favourite – after all, what’s the point of having a drivers’ academy if you don’t promote people from there to the team?

  38. Rob Newman says:

    We are talking about Massa exit but is Alonso on his way out? Something interesting is happening out there …

  39. Andrew Woodruff says:

    If Bianchi is so good, just put him in the car and let him get on with it. Personally, I don’t know what the fuss about him is – there’s nothing to suggest he is superior to drivers like Hulk, Di Resta, Bottas, Ricciardo, Sutil.

    Massa needs to be shown the door though, that much is clear. I think the point has been made above, but I’ll repeat it, it’s true there is no guarantee that any of the drivers mentioned will be better than Massa, but it’s hard to see how they could be worse.

    1. albert says:

      those drivers you mention dont exite me at all, if bianchi is their acadamy driver , put him in the car ! or get anyone from gp2 or what ever , massa is past it i’m afraid,

  40. why are people suggesting that hulkenberg would be a good replacement? he appears to be a very ordinary driver and if it hadn’t been a fluke pole position in brazil for williams he wouldn’t be on the radar.

  41. Sebee says:

    Alonso buys cycling team.

    Planing for life after F1 or wanting access to best performance enhancers out there? Hmmmm..

  42. Torchwood Five says:

    I don’t know whether to describe it as a ‘haunted look’, but if you have video or a clip of the end Brazil 2012, the look the still-helmeted Alonso has while looking at Vettel dancing or standing on his car after parking it, that look has stayed with me from the moment it happened to now.

    I don’t feel Ferarri have the same Fernando this year that they had the previous 3 or 4 years. Something broke. Something that I figured he would need a year to get over.

  43. anon says:

    Can’t blame Ferrari for throwing in the towel. They had clearly the best car up until Monaco yet Vettel pulled away from then.

    Vettel’s only had the best car in Bahrain, Montreal and Spa yet is nearly two races clear of second place. Shows the incredible speed and consistency of Vettel. Must be discouraging for Ferrari to give Alonso a fast, bulletproof car and see Vettel build a championship lead like this with a car advantage at only 3 races.

  44. To be clear, by “it’s a fairly straightforward statement”, I mean for the pronoun “it” to refer to the statement “The meaning of life is moving”.

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