Trulli, Sutil and Perez proposed to replace under-fire Massa

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012 spins into the gravel. Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday 16 March 2012.

Felipe Massa had a torrid weekend in Melbourne

Mar.21 (GMM) Felipe Massa’s F1 career with Ferrari appeared to be in deep crisis on Wednesday, as the influential and vocal Italian media lined up multiple candidates to replace him in the team alongside Fernando Alonso.

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari. Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday 16 March 2012.

Felipe with his father in the Albert Park pit garage

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.

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 Sergio Perez scored the highest, with 44.7 % of the vote.

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

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber at the Jenson Button 200 GP Celebration.  Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday 30 July 2011.

Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez

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

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”.

The Maranello team appeared to be reacting to the media claims in the form of a report on its official website, acknowledging that 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, a move which may also have the political motive of clearing the way for Massa’s dismissal.

“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.

Subbed by AJN.
  • visz963

    Massa was a nice driver, but since his accident he was never the same. Ralf Schumacher story. Time to let go.

    I wish Alonso finally gets a teammate who shows what an insignificant driver Alonso is. Even some of the rookies would beat him instantly.

  • Obvious

    @viz

    Your such an idiot , man…. Everybody on this sight laughs at you.. Comical.

  • Kaz

    @viz…

    try driving >40 Sepang laps without a non-working clutch in a F1 car ..can you?

  • lol.

    Agree with two comments below mine.

    Also, Trulli replacing Massa would be a nice story for F1. Italian in an Italian team and all that jazz. Although it would be the same as Fisi in 2009, he’s had no time to practice with the car etc and would probably perform worse than Massa.

  • Taz

    to LOL

    true 2009 both fissi and that other guy that drove the ferrari car
    performed very poor

  • Kaz

    Oops. Just realised my typo. I meant driving without a working clutch

  • Twiinz

    I like Massa, but I think he is done. His spirit has been broken. I also doubt Trulli is the answer. He was beaten by Heiki and Heiki was not great at Maclaren. (although he is better now) Ferrari have several good options like Sutil, or Jaime A., or even one of the up and coming guys from another team. Ferrari has the resources to get who they need. I think it’s time too. They shouldn’t wait for another year to go by. If they do, they will just get further behind.

  • fawxx

    get bianchi in. or do a swap with perez.

  • smith

    they should bring kimi back in their garage! he is trolling all other drivers in that marginally slower lotus! And moreover he can very well handle Alonso ;)

  • Stewy33

    Why not bring in Trulli, he was the guy that kept saying the Caterham steering system sucked last year! Now look, both Caterhams DNF because of steering issues.

    Trulli is capable of scoring in the points he just hasn’t had a great car under him in years. The Ferrari might be struggling but trulli can drive a bad car fairly well…

  • Taz

    true truilli train an drive bad car well and stick it on the first row
    but thos days r gone. Ferrari need fresh face.i like parez massa swap?
    no disrepect to truili,ive enjoys his racing over the decade

  • Psych4191

    Bringing in Trulli would be a good idea. He’s different from 2009 because of simple things: 1. He’s faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar better than both Fisichella and Luca Badoer. 2. He won’t run into everything like a magnet, which means they make less repairs, costs less money. 3. He’s a relaxed, mellow person in the paddock, they need that.

  • John

    In defence of Viz, Alonso did have a driver who showed him up – the rookie Hamilton.

    And if you read the story Alonso’s result was a “distortion”. He should have finished lower, but gained at the start while others were bashing each other around.

    Massa is in a difficult position because he’s not allowed to race but only to support Alonso. Finding a genuine racer who would accept this condition is going to be difficult.

    Although I did find it funny that it isn’t just Hamilton that Massa likes to crash in to. Senna will do too!

  • http://yahoo.com ride me sideways

    how about kobayashi

  • me262

    @John

    when did hamilton show alonso up? I know that they were team mates in hamiltons rookie year at mclaren….but they ended up on 109 points a piece that season?

  • neevo

    Massa to Sauber, Perez to Ferrari.

  • Maranealo

    Mika Hakkinen…

  • Alex

    Trulli is not an option, Trulli is good all around driver, but Ferrari needs someone to bring more out of the car. Trulli was given plenty of chances in decent machinery, hes good in qualifying but just dont have that edge Ferrari driver must have.

    Kobayashi would be a perfect option for Ferrari, that guy have been impressive ever since he joined F1. Plus Ferrari would benefit a lot from having a Japaneese driver, marketing wise.

  • tsongkitits

    why not Jaime Alguesari?

  • Tamburello_1994

    Hey! I got one! What about Rubens Barrichello for the rest of the year? Then Ferrari can snag Webber when his contract runs out, 2013.

    Just throwin it out there. . . . . . .

  • visz963

    I cant wait to see this happen. Sorry for Massa, but Alonso would be finally a second driver as he should be.

  • Lol.

    @Visz963

    Trolling only works for so long before it becomes stale ;)

  • visz963

    Correct, but it is you who is trolling, so please sovle this with yourself.

  • daz

    what about villeneuve? lol
    or couthard? get all that era’s driver’s back in