There is no question that Ferrari was rather keen to sign Mark Webber to be Fernando Alonso’s team-mate in 2013. It was a move that made sense. Alonso is the team leader and what is needed is someone who pushes him, works with him, scores points and could step up if Alonso was sidelined, but not someone who would be a threat to the Spaniard and destabilise the team. Massa has struggled to work with the new tyres and has not scored enough, although he has shown in the past that he is capable of winning and being a championship challenger.
In the end Webber decided to stay at Red Bull Racing. It was a logical step given that he is still in the running for the World Championship and to have signed for another team would have been a good reason for the Milton Keynes crew to concentrate more on Sebastian Vettel. Webber continues to lead Vettel in the World Championship and while Mark might liked to have moved to Ferrari with his pal Alonso, it made more sense to stay where he is, at least at the moment. Massa has been getting closer to Alonso in terms of lap time (no mean achievement) but he is still lagging miles behind in points. Alonso has 164, Massa 25. Felipe had a brief revival at Silverstone, but needs a lot more to keep the drive. Having said that, there really is no need for a quick decision as there is always demand for a Ferrari drive and so others are not committing while they wait to see what happens with Massa. One key point is that the 2013 season will be the last year of the current regulations and, following the disasters in 2009 when Massa was injured and Luca Badoer and then Giancarlo Fisichella failed spectacularly as his replacements. This suggested that it is clearly not that easy to get up to speed quickly, particularly as there is so little testing. That favours a status quo.
The team has considered Sergio Perez, but the signs are that Mexican still needs more time to develop. Other names have been thrown into the pot – such as Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen – but these cannot be taken too seriously. Kovalainen is keen to guarantee his future in F1, so wants to be talked about. Raikkonen has been at Ferrari as they know his strengths – and his weaknesses. Adrian Sutil has been to Ferrari, but he is going to struggle to find a drive because despite being quick, no-one is very keen on a driver who can get himself into that kind of trouble.
It could be that Massa will stay on for another year.