Felipe Massa has revealed he will not be racing a Ferrari in 2014.
The news, announced personally by the Brazilian driver via his Twitter and Instagram accounts, clears the way for the Maranello based team to confirm Kimi Raikkonen as his successor.
“For next year, I want to find a team that can give me a competitive car to win many more races and challenge for the championship which remains my greatest objective,” said Massa, 32.
Massa is being linked with a possible move to the German touring car series.
“I do not like endurance races,” O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper quoted Massa as saying recently in Hungary.
“DTM is something I see as possible for me.”
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, however, was silent on the subject of Massa and Raikkonen when he appeared at the Frankfurt motor show on Tuesday.
“When there’s news we’ll let you know,” said the Italian, joking that he is in talks with Michael Schumacher.
But there remains little doubt that former team driver Raikkonen has been signed, with an announcement now imminent.
It has been rumoured Fernando Alonso is so angry at the prospect of his roost being unsettled by Raikkonen that he has looked into switching to Red Bull, Lotus and even McLaren, where he had such an unhappy campaign in 2007.
But the Spaniard said on Twitter: “Whatever decision the team will take will be good for me, and we will keep working to give Ferrari the best results possible.”
Christian Horner, team boss at Red Bull, thinks Alonso threw some toys out of the pram until it became clear Ferrari really was intent on signing Raikkonen.
“It is unusual for Ferrari,” he said on Austrian television Servus TV, “because they have always had a clear leader and a clear number 2.
“Now they are going to have two number ones.”
Some, however, believe the term ‘number 1’ is not really applicable to the odd and aloof Raikkonen.
Indeed, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali was quoted by EFE news agency on Tuesday as saying there is “no doubt” Alonso “is a leader” who can “move mountains” for the Italian team.
Triple world champion Niki Lauda, however, thinks Alonso was lucky to survive his Monza qualifying outburst, when he either called his Ferrari colleagues “stupid”, or – sarcastically – “geniuses”.
“Let’s say that (as a Ferrari driver) I would not have had the chance to say it a second time,” the great Austrian is quoted by La Rebubblica.
With Raikkonen heading to Ferrari, then, the next matter to be resolved in the 2014 ‘silly season’ is who will replace him at Lotus.
The smart money is on Nico Hulkenberg.
“He has had a good weekend,” team boss Eric Boullier said at Monza, “but we already knew that Nico is a fast driver.
“I’ve known him since he raced in formula BMW; a long time. From what I understand, Nico is also on Ferrari’s list, so we all have plans.
“If the first one fails, you have a plan B,” the Lotus chief is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace.
© RIF | GMM