All the news coming out about Felipe Massa‘s recovery is very encouraging, but everyone’s still getting over-excited about who might drive his Ferrari at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, should he be unable to.
Ferrari’s test drivers – Luca Badoer and Marc Gene – have, naturally, been mentioned in relation to the drive. James Allen thinks they are “unlikely” to get the opportunity, but I think Gene is the obvious choice, having raced more recently than Badoer.
The most fanciful rumour is that Fernando Alonso, assuming he’s set to move to Ferrari next year anyway, could make that move earlier. It sounds implausible, but if Flavio Briatore “only thinks about money,” as Nelson Piquet said recently, then maybe it could happen. Renault could have two brand new drivers in Valencia!
The BBC’s Andrew Benson mentions a few other rumours. David Coulthard would be a surprise, but a fairly sensible choice. Mirko Bortolotti won the Italian Formula 3 championship last year, has tested for Ferrari, and is competing in Formula Two, so would seem like no crazier an option for Ferrari than Jaime Alguersuari was for Toro Rosso, and that’s not backfired horribly yet. But Sebastien Bourdais would be a ludicrous leap of faith for Ferrari.
If we’re going to stretch to Bourdais, then why not go for an outright comedy option and put someone like Mark Blundell in the car?
More genuinely, it’s always nice to see Anthony Davidson in a Formula 1 car. And I’m sure his old team-mate Takuma Sato would jump at the chance.
Or Jacques Villeneuve? He’s looking likely to be in a USF1 car next season, so he could do with the practice. Not that Ferrari make a habit of charitable acts for other teams.
In short: there are lots of drivers who could stand in for Massa should he be unable to drive in Valencia. I still reckon it’ll be Gene though.
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