Who should Ferrari replace Felipe Massa with?

Debates and polls

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?

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  1. timtoo (@timtoo) said on 18th May 2012, 9:53

    KOV has really improved his form at Caterham and I think is much more suited to moving up the grid, and was placed at McLaren too early in my opinion, now i really recon he can shine through and deserves another shot at the top, plus i’m sure he would be a ‘good team player’ willing to be a #2 (as shown by his time at Mclaren), which is what you need if you want to drive against Alonso.

  2. runforitscooby (@runforitscooby) said on 18th May 2012, 10:48

    Spanish media 2 weeks ago said Casey Stoner was retiring, he announced his retirement today, they also said Webber has signed for Ferrari for 2013….

  3. themagicofspeed (@) said on 18th May 2012, 10:57

    My first choice would be Kubica IF he is well enough to be at his best if he ever returns. But that is far from certain, so instead i went for Sergio Perez, who is getting some fairly solid results and probably would not cause friction with Alonso.

    Really can’t understand the calls for Timo Glock and Kovalainen. He’s had a stint in a top team, and was pretty lacklustre to be fair, and ended up being dumped by the team. McLaren only hired him because the fallout from the Alonso/Hamilton spat in 2007 left them without a No.2 for 2008. The only significant thing Glock has ever done is unwittingly interfere in the outcome of the 2008 Drivers Championship, an act of total stupidity i will not forgive, deliberate or not. He cost Massa the title, so i suspect he won’t be all that welcome at Ferrari. (Same goes for Petrov, but Kermit the frog will be top-team standard before him anyway) All three are driving a backmarker car for a reason.

    To summarise:

    Kubica, Perez, Webber or Rosberg would all be good choices.

    • James G said on 18th May 2012, 13:40

      He lost Massa the title by gaining one place by not changing to wet tyres. Last time I checked, using strategy to gain places was allowed in Formula 1.

  4. JUGNU (@jugnu) said on 18th May 2012, 12:16

    Voted for Sutil. He deserves a race seat. His exit from sport was very unfortunate.

  5. scuderiaexxon said on 18th May 2012, 13:15

    Who voted for Karthikeyan!!! :DDDD

  6. James G said on 18th May 2012, 13:35

    How about Nelson Piquet Junior? He’s already got experience of handing wins to Alonso.

  7. MDJ said on 18th May 2012, 16:47

    Casey Stoner :)

  8. i think they should take a risk and go for jerome dambrosio. it was hard to judge his performance in the virgin car but i think hes got great potential

  9. Conservancy@MHR said on 19th May 2012, 0:13

    … even at Ferrari, money’s tight. Last of a dieing breed, Felipe is not a pay driver. Felipe advanced to Ferrari on the basis of talent, alone. Not so, Fernando. A pay driver, via Santander Fernando brings a cool 50 million Euro, per annum, to Ferrari. Felipe, nothing. When Luca could otherwise put another pay driver beside Fernando, it’s a cool 14 million Ferrari must pay Felipe, out-of-pocket. Luca Di Montezemolo lothes Nicholas Todt. All the worse for Felipe, Santander execs do not like him. Viewed upon as a freeloader, and a nuisance, Santander want Felipe replaced, with one of their people. Ferrari’s gravy boat tilted toward Fernando, Felipe is in an impossible predicament, trying to show loyalty, to a team unable to afford him equal status — asj.

  10. LawFish (@lawfish) said on 19th May 2012, 7:51

    …perhaps one of the MotoGP riders will one day make the switch ;)

    Massa to stay!

  11. chochomirski (@chochomirski) said on 19th May 2012, 8:40

    Alonso and Hamilton act so strange lately. Like good old friends. I suspect possible Hamilton move to Ferrari. I know it sounds unbelievable but who knows what the true power of money is.

  12. AJ (@ajv205) said on 4th June 2012, 2:39

    This made me think how I would NOT choose Maldonado. Man he really screwed up big time in Monaco with his childish antics. I would never hire him due to immaturity and volatility. Shame since after Barcelona my mood towards him was totally opposite now.

  13. semilost (@semilost) said on 15th June 2012, 12:59

    Phil Hill…

  14. sunnyAK (@sunnyak) said on 31st August 2012, 23:46

    ferrari mentioned they want a more experienced driver than perez. i really would give sutil the chance he showed some great races last year and also great performances in the wet. i really think he is out because he attacked lux.
    people should get over it and give him a second chance!

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