Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari presented to Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa – Click above for high-res image gallery
We don't know about you, but when we were 11 years old, most of us here at Autoblog were dreaming about one day driving a Ferrari. Never in our wildest dreams could never have imagined being signed to a contract with the Scuderia. Not at that age, anyway. But that's exactly what's happened for Lance Stroll.
The 2010 Formula One season isn't even halfway through, and already speculation has been ramping up for next year's line-up. The biggest piece of the puzzle revolves around Felipe Massa, the Brazilian driver who has – notwithstanding a few seasons spent farmed out to Ferrari-powered Sauber – been with the Scuderia since advancing to the series in 2002 with the European Formula 3000 title under his belt.
After winning three out of the seven races so far this season and topping both championship standings, Red Bull's dynamic duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber must be looking mighty tempting to any number of rival teams on the grid. But the most alluring, according to recent reports, could be Ferrari.
Last week, we all watched in collective awe as a $1.8 million Bugatti Veyron drove into a pond. While the driver claimed that he was attacked by a pelican, close examination of the video would appear to reveal... no pelican whatsoever. Instead, there's just a supercar inexplicably jumping into a marsh. Today, we've got another head scratcher for you – Luca Montezemolo beaching a Ferrari California.
First thing this morning, no one knew who'd be replacing Luca Badoer in the second Ferrari alongside Kimi Raikkonen – in addition to Williams test driver Nico Hulkenberg and former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Bourdais, the likes of current BMW driver Robert Kubica had been mentioned. Force India driver Giancarlo Fisichella's name has also been persistently mooted, but the scuttlebutt was consistently shot down by team principal Vijay Mallya.
When Felipe Massa was taken out of commission at the Hungarian Grand Prix last month, the questions on everyone's mind was who would replace him and when he'd be back. With regards to the former, Ferrari is one of the few teams on the grid that doesn't have a junior driver development program in place. The team doesn't usually have a problem getting the best drivers, but when disaster (literally) struck, the Scuderia was left without options.
Ferrari has had plenty of time to get its hands on Giancarlo Fisichella. The Italian driver has been on the grid since 1995 when he started as a test driver for Minardi, and later driving for Jordan, Benetton, Sauber, Renault and now Force India. But the Scuderia wasn't interested. Not until its fortunes were down, and Fisico's were up.
It's anything but business as usual this year in Formula One, and this past week has been no exception, with one team scrambling to secure its future, another receiving the go-ahead to continue racing, and others re-submitting applications in the hope of joining the grid for next year.
With Michael Schumacher now confirmed to have canceled his comeback due to a neck injury sustained in a motorcycle accident, Ferrari has been left with no choice but to put one of its veteran test drivers into Felipe Massa's seat until the injured Brazilian is ready to return to active duty. The trouble is that while other teams use the test driver position to groom up-and-coming drivers for the race seat, Ferrari's approach has been to use older, more experienced drivers past their prime.
Sour grapes much? Both of Italy's Formula One teams had to switch drivers mid-season during the year: Scuderia Toro Rosso (because Sebastien Bourdais wasn't working out) and Scuderia Ferrari (due to Felipe Massa injury). However, due to the comprehensive ban on in-season testing, neither could put their replacements into the cockpits of their F1 cars until the following grand prix weekend. So STR's newcomer Jaime Alguersuari was thrown straight into the deep end to sink or swim, while Ferrari, f
According to a report from German newspaper Die Tageszeitung, Michael Schumacher – already one of the richest athletes in the world – will earn a cool million Euros (that's $1.44M USD to us Yanks) for each race in which he's substituting for injured Ferrari factory driver Felipe Massa.