Who should Ferrari replace Felipe Massa with?

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Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2012Felipe Massa’s poor start to the season has fuelled speculation he will be replaced by Ferrari at the end of the season, if not sooner.

Ferrari themselves highlighted the gulf between Massa and team mate Fernando Alonso on Monday:

“Fernando has always maintained a very high level (67 points and second place in 2010, 51 and fifth place last year) while Felipe?s drop off has made itself felt.

“The Brazilian had picked up 49 points two years ago and 24 the following year, while so far this season he has just two.

“In Montmelo, Felipe was very unlucky, both in the race and in qualifying, but everyone, he more than anyone, is expecting a change of gear starting right away with the Monaco Grand Prix.”

Ferrari continue to rubbish rumours that Massa will be replaced any time soon, writing the following on Twitter yesterday:

“What was published on our web site Monday evening just reflected what [Stefano] Domenicali said Sunday night about Felipe, nothing more than this!

“Anyway, someone has found a good opportunity to promote the umpteenth candidate to replace Felipe: this time is [Jerome] D’Ambrosio…”

It’s an inescapable fact that Massa has woefully under-performed so far this year. He has been out-qualified 5-0 by Alonso and out-raced 4-0 (Massa retired in Australia while running well behind his team mate). He’s been behind Alonso for all bar 13 of 280 racing laps.

Nor is this atypical of Massa’s performance since the pair became team mates. He was out-qualified 15-4 by Alonso in the last two seasons. In the races, he was beaten 13-4 in 2010 and 13-2 in 2011:

This has inevitably prompted rumours about his future, and plenty of spurious headlines tipping all manner of drivers to take Massa’s seat. But the bottom line is it’s surprising Ferrari have put up with such poor performance this long and inconceivable they would be happy for it to continue.

With that in mind, what should Ferrari look for in a replacement?

Should they follow McLaren’s lead in pairing up two world champions? Should they settle for a safe ‘number two’ driver alongside Alonso? Or should they keep the faith with Massa for another year?

Being Ferrari, they could take their pick of practically any driver on the grid. For the purposes of this poll I’ve omitted those who are known to have contracts for next year with top teams (Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen). I’ve also included a few options of drivers who have recently left F1 and are looking to enter the sport.

Who do you think should be Alonso’s team mate next year? Select from the options below and explain your choice in the comments.

Who should Ferrari replace Felipe Massa with?

  • Mark Webber (7%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (4%)
  • Michael Schumacher (1%)
  • Romain Grosjean (1%)
  • Paul di Resta (8%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (1%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (6%)
  • Sergio Perez (28%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (1%)
  • Bruno Senna (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (4%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (2%)
  • Timo Glock (2%)
  • Charles Pic (0%)
  • Robert Kubica (12%)
  • Nick Heidfeld (2%)
  • Jerome d'Ambrosio (2%)
  • Rubens Barrichello (2%)
  • Adrian Sutil (8%)
  • Someone else (2%)
  • They should keep Massa (4%)
  • Sebastien Buemi (0%)
  • Jaime Alguersuari (3%)

Total Voters: 797

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207 comments on Who should Ferrari replace Felipe Massa with?

  1. Phil Wright (@05mpwright) said on 17th May 2012, 18:46

    Massa shouldn’t have been there as long as he has. He has constantly failed to deliver results since 2008.

  2. Stinkfoot said on 17th May 2012, 19:10

    Jaime Alguersuari.
    Young enough to mould into their preferred shape, experienced enough but not too much, invaluable knowledge after testing pirelli.

  3. Girts (@girts) said on 17th May 2012, 19:20

    While I believe that drivers like Perez, Kovalainen, Glock and di Resta deserve to be with stronger teams and while I would love to see Sutil back in F1, I doubt if a Ferrari drive would be the best option for any of these drivers. It’s Alonso’s team and Ferrari are happy with that. No matter who replaces Massa, he will most likely need to cope with being the team’s number two driver. I don’t want to see Kovalainen or Perez in that situation so I picked ‘somebody else’.

    I believe Giancarlo Fisichella deserves a second chance as he first joined Ferrari in the middle of an unsuccessful season when the car was a dog. Fisico is unlikely to set the world on fire but I believe he might do a decent job, which is what Ferrari expect from Alonso’s team mate.

  4. Sven said on 17th May 2012, 19:31

    Ferrari needs a pair of safe hands that does not crack under pressure either from Alonso or the Ferrari team.
    Heidfeld or Barrichello would probably be the best solution. With Ferrari in a downwards trajectory (with only Alonso there to save their face) ever since Schumacher, Brawn etc left it would be the kiss of death for any young drivers career.

  5. pl.boff (@plboff23) said on 17th May 2012, 19:41

    Jenson Button is the only sensible option.

  6. Edge said on 17th May 2012, 19:42

    I still hoping Massa can turn the table around, imo he isn’t the same driver after the accident. But if the result still the end till the end of the season, Ferrari will run out of passion. I picked Kobayashi

  7. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 17th May 2012, 20:26

    I’m divided between Perez and Kubica; Perez would be good at Ferrari but then again he’s already settled (and quick) at Sauber. Kubica would be a welcome return to the grid though, and if Ferrari are a top team next year (which I hope) it will be very interesting in the championship.

  8. mike-e (@mike-e) said on 17th May 2012, 20:40

    I’ve Gone for Timo Glock. I think in his final days at toyota he showed some real potential but his move to manorGP/virgin/Marussia was practically suicidal for his career if there was even a sniff anywhere else. I think if you threw him in a ferrari he would surprise you.
    Second choice would have been Kubica, if he is ever fit enough to come back i’d love to see him in a top team.

  9. DavidJH (@davidjh) said on 17th May 2012, 20:43

    If this season had been more predictable so far I think Ferrari would simply stick with Massa and avoid having to buy out his contract. But with Alonso leading the championship even in supposedly a dog of a car, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want to mount a serious challenge for WCC. Alonso would want to be no. 1 driver, and the team might not want to be rushed into making a long term commitment to a younger driver, so I think they should go for a tried and tested no. 2 at the mid to end of his career who will reliably score points and not rock the boat should they chose to revolve him out at the end of the season. So, Sutil, Heidfeld, Glock, Trulli….

  10. type056 (@type056) said on 17th May 2012, 20:52

    Stoner.

  11. Derfel17 (@derfel17) said on 17th May 2012, 20:59

    Talking about a replacement driver, anybody remember what Salo did in the Ferrari?

  12. DominikWilde (@dominikwilde) said on 17th May 2012, 21:04

    Ferrari currently have 9 drivers signed to their F1 team:
    Alonso
    Massa
    Rigon
    Fisichella
    Gene
    Bianchi
    Bertolini
    Bruni
    Beretta

    I think if they are to replace Massa this year, (which I doubt), Davide Rigon will get the seat with Perez (or Webber) taking over next year.

  13. Poul said on 17th May 2012, 21:16

    To everyone discussing whether Alonso would accept Hamilton as a team mate in Ferrari: Why on earth should Hamilton consider becoming 2nd driver in a “not so top team” when he is currently the lead in a real top team?

    • evolutionut (@evolutionut) said on 17th May 2012, 22:13

      they should stay in current teams and have a brave fights for many times to come..
      it seems there is respect between two but stil they are racing nemesis to each other…and really enjoyable to watch

  14. Antonio Nartea (@tony031r) said on 17th May 2012, 22:04

    Who “should” replace Massa? There’s a long list.
    Who “will” replace Massa? There are only two options out there. It’s gonna be either Perez or Bianchi.

    Ferrari has been all about rank between their drivers since forever now. They don’t need a championship contender. They need a good second driver, someone who can keep up with Alonso’s pace but still be able to get out of the way just in case. Irvine, Barrichello, Salo, Fisichella, Massa – they’ve all served the same purpose since the ’90s.

    I really don’t see Hamilton, Button or any of the top drivers dragging themselves into that role. Maybe Webber could be a potential replacement, but quite frankly, I think if he’s ever to leave Red Bull before his career ends, he’ll have a better option than Ferrari.

    But, to answer the question on point. Sergio Perez. He’s the only reasonable option for them at the moment. Plus, it’s a mutual benefit move. Ferrari needs a fast but containable driver, Perez needs a launching pad and a climate where he can grow, gather experience and win races in order to prove himself. Everybody wins. :)

  15. Antonio Nartea (@tony031r) said on 17th May 2012, 22:12

    As for Kubica and Sutil – I don’t think we’ll ever see them in a Formula 1 car again…as much as I’d love to be wrong about it, I’m afraid all signs point into that direction.

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