Exclusive: Karthikeyan replaces Massa at Ferrari with immediate effect

Narain Karthikeyan tries out his new Ferrari race suit at Maranello

Narain Karthikeyan tries out his new Ferrari race suit at Maranello

Apr.1 (Grand Prix 247) In a stunning development over the last 48 hours Ferrari are set to confirm that Narain Karthikeyan has been drafted in to the team to replace under performing Felipe Massa with immediate effect, in a move that is said to have been orchestrated by from ‘high up the Prancing Horse hierarchy’.

Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team. Formula One World Championship, Australian Grand Prix, Rd1, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday 14 March 2012.

Very happy Narain at Maranello on the day of his seat fitting

Massa’s struggles with the team’s new F2012 have been well documented and it is understood that the order to replace Massa came from up high up after the Brazilian’s woeful display in Malaysia.

Speculation was rife that Sepang hero Sergio Perez would be drafted into the Maranello squad alongside Malaysian GP winner Fernando Alonso, but both Perez and Sauber denied this.

Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, a flurry of high level negotiations between Ferrari and Tata (Karthikeyan’s backers) secured one of the most coveted seats in the sport for the Indian driver.

Money is said to have changed hands – although nothing like the amount that Santander brought to the table to secure a seat for Alonso in 2010 – and it appears that Massa’s F1 career is still alive as he will take up Karthikeyan’s vacated HRT seat alongside veteran Pedro de la Rosa.

It took several hours for Narain to feel fully comfortable in the Ferrari F2012

It took several hours for Narain to feel fully comfortable in the Ferrari F2012

A source close to Karthikeyan said, “Boy is he thrilled. He is now contracted to drive for Ferrari alongside Fernando for the rest of the season and will be able to prove his true talent.”

The same source was at Karthikeyan’s seat fitting at Maranello where he took the pictures illustrating this story with his iPhone. (Editor: Thanks Rajeev)

The source added, “Ferrari is amazing, in no time at all they had Narain in a red race suit, Ferrari branding all over his helmet and did a seat fitting to ensure that our man is comfortable in the cockpit. It was an awesome experience for Narain… and me.”

Karthikeyan is taller than Massa, thus there were some substantial mods which took several hours to complete before the Indian driver was fully comfortable in the F2012.

During a chat with Ferrari engineers Karthikeyan was asked if he was apprehensive about driving  a car that has not been very competitive despite Alonso’s win in Malaysia. Karthikeyan is believed to have replied: “It can’t be as bad as the bucket of shit HRT gave me to drive….”

Felipe Massa leaves Maranello with Nicolas Todt

Felipe Massa leaves Maranello with his manager Nicolas Todt

A friend of Massa, speaking anonymously to YallaF1.com said, “Felipe was disappointed with the decision, but accepts the challenge of HRT which he says is better than having to go to Indycars like Rubinho.”

Ferrari, Karthikeyan and Massa were unavailable for comment when contacted by YallaF1.com, however a team representative did confirm the driver swap and said “we are announcing exciting plans on Monday.”

When pressed for the reason behind the move, he responded by saying: “Narain had the balls to tell Vettel to shut up and that impressed the Ferrari boss. Also – off the record – no one can be as bad as Massa has been these past two races” and then shut off his phone.

A full official announcement is expected at Maranello at 12 GMT on Monday.

Note: This article was an April Fools spoof. Thanks!

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