Horse Whisperer says “Ferrari in no hurry” to decide on Massa
Scuderia Ferrari
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 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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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


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


“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?

Adrian Newey Jnr

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.


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


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!


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.


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


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!


What about Sutil to Ferrari?


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


With his background?


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


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.


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?


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


Sadly no chance. See above.


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?


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.


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.


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?


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.


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 !


I bet Massa stays next season


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?


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.


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 😉


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


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


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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


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!


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.

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