Massa not ruling out return to Sauber next year

Nick Heidfeld (GER), Peter Sauber (SUI) and Felipe Massa (BRA) Sauber Petronas C21 Launch, 25 January 2002, Dubendorf, Switzerland.Jun.22 (GMM) Felipe Massa has not ruled out returning to Sauber, the team that gave him his F1 debut,  if he is forced to leave Ferrari at the end of the season.

Brazilian Massa, now 31, made his break into F1 with the Swiss team in 2002 and then returned for the 2004-5 seasons following an interlude as Ferrari’s official test driver.

He moved to the famous Maranello based team to be Michael Schumacher’s teammate in 2006, but intense speculation this year suggests that he could be replaced at the end of the season by Ferrari’s top development driver, Sergio Perez.

Mexican Perez’s promotion would create a key vacancy at Sauber, the Swiss team with political links to Ferrari and a customer of the fabled Italian squad’s engine, gearbox and KERS.

Fernando Alonso on Thursday revealed that he will have a say on whether or not Massa is retained in 2013.

“Fernando is very respected within Ferrari because of his results so it’s natural that he participates in the decision about the drivers,” Massa is quoted by Brazil’s O Estado de S.Paulo on Thursday.

“We have a good relationship, I know he supports me, but what really matters is my results,” he insisted.

“That is what will make Ferrari either keep me or whether I will have to go to another team.”

Massa refused to say if he has been in contact with McLaren, whose Lewis Hamilton is yet to renew his deal for 2013.

“My best option now is to get results,” he insisted.

Massa said recently he would rather “do something else” rather than sign with a “small” team in 2013.

Is Sauber ‘small’? Massa answered in Valencia: “Medium.”

Journalist Livio Oricchio commented: ” Sauber could be an option, but I don’t think so.

“I have great relationships with the team, we travel together on Swissair – from what I hear, it would be surprising to see Massa there.”

Subbed by AJN.