I still reckon they’ll keep Massa. They let go of Perez – though Perez reckons his place in the Driver Academy was no barrier to his move to McLaren* – which has led a lot of people to believe that the talk of a pre-contract with Vettel for 2014 is real. If that is the case, no driver is going to want to sign up for Ferrari in 2013, knowing they will lose the seat a year later, unless they are confident that they can do such a good job in the team that Ferrari will let Vettel’s pre-contract lapse and offer them an extension in 2014. Ironically, perhaps the only driver who could pull this off is Fernando Alonso.
*This makes sense. The FIA’s Contract Review Board would not be happy if Perez’s Driver Academy contract prevented him from moving to McLaren without the team’s permission, because it would open the door to teams establishing talent farms where they can store promising young drivers simply for the sake of preventing other teams from taking them. There would have to be some degree of connectivity that would enable Perez to easily make the transition from Driver Academy to a race seat, and something that would protect Ferrari’s investment in him, but nothing that would prevent him from leving the Academy if he chose to.