Just one week into the new F1 season and Massa is in danger of losing his Ferrari seat.
When Felipe Massa started his 2012 F1 campaign he knew that his time driving for Ferrari was temporary. His chances for survival are resting mainly on the quality of the Ferrari F2012 rather on his own skills. So when the car failed to deliver and he spectacularly failed in qualifying for the Australian GP, started the race from 16th spot on the grid and retired with a damaged car 12 laps from the end, the rumors mill began to churn out stories about his future and names of his possible replacements.
After the race ended Massa conceded it was "a poor weekend for me" and explained that from qualifying his car "was badly balanced". Massa had a good start, better even than Alonso's, but his tires degraded too fast and an early pit stop left him unable to make places. He retired after a collision with his fellow countryman, Bruno Senna in a Williams, fighting over 12th place. "A Toro Rosso tried to pass me on the outside of Turn 3 and Bruno had better traction on the inside, so we went into Turn 4 side by side: that's where we tangled and it ended as you saw it did," explained Massa who was blamed by pundits for the altercation.
In order to sort out the Massa problem, Ferrari is shipping a new car for him from Italy for this weekend's Malaysian GP. And if he fails that test, according to the rumors, there are a few ex-F1 drivers waiting in the wings to take his place. One is Jarno Trulli, the veteran Italian who was dropped by Lotus last year. However at age 37, with more the 200 hundred races under his belt, Trulli's future is in the past. A better prospect is Adrian Sutil who was dropped by Force India. With his driving style he can bring some flair to the Ferrari team. A third candidate for the seat is Sergio Perez who drives the Sauber-Ferrari car and is connected to the Maranello manufacturer.
There's also an outside chance for Rubens Barrichello, who is on the verge of a career in IndyCar. Though an old Ferrari hand, his presence on the team might help to steady the ship. It's going to be a crucial weekend for Massa.