Friday, September 13, 2013

Massa in with a chance for 2014 Lotus switch

Felipe Massa is entering into what will be his life after Ferrari, and he is one of two top contenders to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus, ironically the man who took his seat.

“What is certain is that other teams are interested in Felipe,” said Nicholas Todt, Massa's manager, a day after the Brazilian revealed that he will not be driving for Ferrari in 2014.

“Felipe will never play second fiddle in a small team, so what we need to do is find him a car that allows him to play a leading role in Formula 1.

“For sure, the best team today, the most interesting seat, is the one left behind by Raikkonen.

“After that, is it the only interesting seat? We’ll see,” added Todt. “It will be important to pay attention and be responsive in the coming weeks.”

Ever since speculation started that Kimi might be moving from Lotus, the favourite to replace him has been Nico Hulkenberg, who was also in with a short for the second seat at Ferrari.

Eric Boullier told RMC Sport: “Felipe Massa is also available, so he is … on the list.

“But let’s not go too fast in activating the ‘plan B’,” said Boullier. “We are the only team left with a good seat available, and … this will affect many people.”

The second Lotus seat of Romain Grosjean was always in doubt, but Kimi's move might just have helped the Frenchman, in the interests of continuity at the Enstone squad.

“[Raikkonen's departure] can be good for him [Grosjean],” Boullier said, “because after growing for two years next to a world champion, he can unite the team and build it around him and prove [that] he can be the leader. It can be an opportunity for him. but he must finish the championship well.”

Former Ferrari driver and Massa's friend and compatriot Rubens Barrichello said that he was sad to hear that his 32 year old friend had lost his Ferrari seat.

“But there is life after Ferrari, and I’m proof of that,” he said to Globo. “To race for Ferrari is the most sensational thing there is, but afterwards there is a release, a little less pressure.

“There is a moment of pain, but then life afterwards, and even things in life that are better,” Barrichello added.

The other option that could open up for the Brazilian would be to return to Sauber, the team with which he started his Formula 1 racing career. He joined the Swiss team in 2002 to replace Kimi Raikkonen who was moving to McLaren.

It is interesting to note that Felipe has only driven Ferrari powered cars in his entire Formula 1 career.

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