Report links D’Ambrosio, Trulli, Perez and Sutil with Massa’s Ferrari race seat

UPDATE #11 Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has poured cold water on speculation linking Sergio Perez with the team, saying the Mexican is too inexperienced for the Italian squad.

Speaking at the FT luxury conference on Friday, di Montezemolo said Perez still needs more experience before he is a candidate for a drive at Ferrari.

"Perez is a good driver but to drive a Ferrari you need more experience," di Montezemolo was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"I think he is one of the potential best young drivers for the future but before putting a young driver in a Ferrari I need more experience and more results."

The Ferrari boss also denied that a decision on Massa's future had already being made.

"We never take a decision before the second half of the season." he added.

05/24/12 (GMM) Sergio Perez has ruled out switching to Ferrari this season to replace Felipe Massa.

"I think all this hype about a possible switch is massively blown up by the media," Perez told F1's official website. "Should that situation really come about I would reject it as I would not want to make a switch in the middle of a season. I think that people should not mix up engines and drivers," he insisted.


Jerome d'Ambrosio the latest to be rumored replacing Massa

(GMM) Jerome d'Ambrosio is the latest name linked with struggling Felipe Massa's Ferrari race seat.

While Mark Webber or Sergio Perez are the Maranello team's more likely longer term solutions, Ferrari may be looking simply for a stop-gap solution, having reportedly run out of patience for Brazilian Massa's lack of pace and results.

The French sports daily L'Equipe named d'Ambrosio, the Belgian driver who lost his Virgin/Marussia seat at the end of last season.

He is managed by Eric Boullier, and now Lotus' reserve driver.

Also named as potential substitutes for Massa in recent days were Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta and Kamui Kobayashi.

But, according to L'Equipe, d'Ambrosio "has the advantage of being immediately available, giving Ferrari time to find a more permanent solution" for 2013.

Also ready to step in now is Adrian Sutil, the former Force India driver who is putting his career back together after the Eric Lux assault affair.

"I have no money to offer," the German is quoted as saying. "After five seasons, people know what is my level. I want a normal salary, that's all."

Adrian Sutil

05/16/12 (GMM) Rumors that Felipe Massa is now on his last legs at Ferrari are beginning to gain in volume.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali fueled the speculation on Sunday by insisting Ferrari expects the struggling Brazilian to "fight back starting in Monaco".

"We absolutely need his points to also fight for the constructors' title," said the Italian.

Before Domenicali's words, whispers were already doing the rounds that Adrian Sutil could be set to play a role, should Ferrari bite the bullet and dump Massa.

The former Force India driver could either replace him directly, or replace a driver who moves from his existing team to Massa's cockpit.

It is the latter scenario that seems most likely.

Sutil, trying to resurrect his career after the Eric Lux assault affair, returned to the F1 paddock at the weekend in Barcelona, accompanied by his manager Manfred Zimmermann.

They spent a lot of time at Force India, his old team.

The big rumor, therefore, is that the Anthony Hamilton-managed Paul di Resta could be set to move to Ferrari, with Sutil to fill the Force India vacancy.

But there is also a whisper that Nico Hulkenberg's manager Timo Gans has been spotted in the Ferrari motor home.

"It's important to be here," Sutil told German television RTL at the Circuit de Catalunya. "Hopefully something comes of it.

"It's still very early in the season, so I have to wait a bit, but on the other hand maybe I can get back into a cockpit quite quickly."

He admitted that he spent "most of the time" during the Spanish grand prix with Force India.

Team says Lewis Hamilton supports their actions

05/16/12 McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh says Lewis Hamilton has thrown his support behind the team in wake of the costly fuel error that has relegated the Briton to the back of the grid for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. Speaking to Sky Sports News' Rachel Brookes on Sunday morning about Hamilton's reaction to the penalty, Whitmarsh said: "Lewis found out probably a few hours afterwards.

"It was some time in deliberation as you know and his reaction initially was one of shock and disappointment, which is very human.

"But I've got to say I had a number of conversations with him during the course of the evening until about 10 o'clock last night and at the end he was incredibly brave about it and forthright and very supportive of the team and myself and just determined to say, okay that's how it is, I've got to go and race tomorrow and I'll make an exciting race."

"He is just that – he is someone who doesn't give up," Whitmarsh added.

"He's going to give everything he can, certainly we've made it difficult for him but he's going to be very fired up and he will produce everything he can and hopefully get up [the order] and score some points."

05/13/12 It was bad enough for Lewis Hamilton when Jenson Button took to "his" team like a fish to water. Now McLaren, with whom Hamilton has been fairly unimpressed with, has made another critical error, this time costing him a pole and potential race victory in Barcelona this weekend.

Assuming Mark Webber stays at Red Bull, and M. Schumacher returns to Mercedes, Ferrari becomes an option to Hamilton.

This time though, the shoe will be on the other foot as he is joining Fernando's team. Could be a great pairing.

Paul di Resta

05/16/12 (GMM) Paul di Resta has played down media speculation linking him with a high-profile switch to Ferrari. The reports suggested the famous Italian marque has been impressed with the Scot's one and a half seasons with Force India and sees him as a potential replacement for the struggling Felipe Massa.

"I have not heard anything about it," the 26-year-old, who is managed by Anthony Hamilton, said in Barcelona.

"I am just concentrating on the job I have to do for Force India. That is my only focus," he is quoted by the Scottish Sun newspaper.

However, di Resta is widely regarded as having outshone his highly-rated teammate Nico Hulkenberg so far in 2012.

But he denies he is the number one driver.

"(There is) equal opportunity and everybody seizing his chances," di Resta told F1's official website.

As for his dominant position over Hulkenberg, he insisted: "That would be for Nico to answer."

Hulkenberg said on Thursday: "The first four races have been quite tough but I'm looking forward — I'm bedding in well with the team."

05/10/12 (GMM) Paul di Resta has emerged as the latest candidate to possibly succeed struggling Felipe Massa at Ferrari.

Britain's Mirror newspaper said the famous Maranello based team has "made enquiries" about the 26-year-old Scot's current contract with Force India.

The speculation follows Red Bull's closing down of rumors linking Mark Webber with the switch, as Christian Horner and Dietrich Mateschitz suggested the Australian is set to continue beyond his 2012 contract.

Ferrari chiefs "are known to be impressed" with di Resta since he moved as the reigning DTM champion to formula one at the end of 2010, the Mirror's F1 correspondent Byrton Young wrote.

"Paul di Resta would be a very good target for Ferrari because (Fernando) Alonso probably has the best toolkit of knowledge and physically is one the best drivers in the world," triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart is quoted by the Daily Mail.

"Alonso is almost at his peak and to have a young driver such as di Resta be an understudy to Alonso is something I'd consider if I was at Ferrari," he added.

Sergio Perez

03/25/12 Sergio Perez’s second place finish in Malaysia was the best by a Mexican since Pedro Rodríguez came second at Zandvoort in 1971 and fuelled speculation that the Ferrari academy driver may get a call-up to the full team sooner rather than later. With Felipe Massa looking a shadow of the man who came within a point of beating Lewis Hamilton to the 2008 world championship, Ferrari cannot afford to throw points away as they seek to hang on to McLaren and Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.

The fifth Mexican to compete in Formula One, 'Checo’ has impressed in his short spell in the sport thus far. He finished seventh on his debut in Melbourne last year while a spectacular crash in qualifying in Monaco did nothing to harm the reputation of a young driver with a rare ability to manage his tires.

“At the moment, as Sergio said, he is concentrated on Sauber," race winner Fernando Alonso answered when asked about the possibility of them pairing up. “But the reason he is in the academy is because Ferrari saw big talent in this guy. At the moment with Felipe we are a very strong team, a very united team." For how long?

03/23/12 (GMM) Adrian Sutil's manager has denied the former Force India driver is in the running to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari this year.

German Sutil, who has been left without a job for 2012, was mentioned as a possible candidate should Ferrari decide to imminently replace the struggling Massa.

"That Adrian has been linked with Ferrari is of course very nice to hear, but unfortunately there is nothing in it," Manfred Zimmermann told the DPA news agency.

03/21/12 (GMM) Felipe Massa's formula one career appeared in deep crisis on Wednesday, as the Italian press lined up multiple candidates to replace him.

Earlier, the weekly Autosprint suggested out-of-work grand prix winner and Italian Jarno Trulli is available to step in immediately to replace the beleaguered Brazilian, whose contract expires this year.

Ferrari seemed to clear a path for the 30-year-old's removal by moving to replace his F2012 chassis ahead of Sepang, "to clear up any doubts about the unusual performance of his car" last weekend in Australia.

On Wednesday, the authoritative daily La Gazzetta dello Sport said Ferrari is considering dropping a driver mid-season for the first time since Rene Arnoux in 1985.

The newspaper said Ferrari development driver Sergio Perez, who is currently at Sauber, is an option, as is the former Force India driver Adrian Sutil.

A poll at Autosprint's website, meanwhile, asked readers to nominate a worthy replacement for Massa — Mexican Perez scored the highest, with 44.7 per cent of the vote.

Second was Trulli with 27.6pc, followed by Rubens Barrichello at 6.6pc.

Only 1.3 per cent voted for 30-year-old Massa, who never returned to form following his serious accident in Hungary in mid 2009.

Jarno Trulli

03/21/12 (GMM) One race into the 2012 season, the Italian press has already named a candidate for beleaguered Ferrari driver Felipe Massa's seat.

On notice by the famous team and with an expiring contract, the Brazilian driver had a nightmare 2012 opener in Australia.

Mika Salo, the 1999 Ferrari substitute driver, told broadcaster MTV3 that Massa's performance, "compared to Alonso's, was very poor".

Autosprint, the Italian weekly, has suggested the out-of-work grand prix winner Jarno Trulli is available to step in immediately to replace Massa.

The Maranello based team appeared to immediately react in the form of a report on its official website, acknowledging its 30-year-old driver "has certainly been the target of criticism" after Melbourne.

Indeed, so poor was Massa's performance last weekend that Ferrari has agreed to scrap his chassis and replace it with a brand new one for Sepang, despite the one-week turnaround between the flyaway back-to-back races.

"This choice was taken to clear up any doubts about the unusual performance of his car during the weekend at Albert Park," said the team.

Ferrari also revealed that team boss Stefano Domenicali and technical director Pat Fry returned to Maranello after Australia rather than make the much-shorter trek to Malaysia.

"The fifth position of Fernando Alonso in Australia was a distortion," argued former Ferrari engineer Joan Villadelprat in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

"Actually, I see a much harsher reality for them."

Another Spanish newspaper, AS, reports that Ferrari is pressing the throttle on a 'plan B', involving a substantial redesign of the F2012 chassis for China that will involve a new FIA crash test.

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