Monza this year has had some pretty silly stories with almost every possible combination spouted forth by someone or other, including Michael Schumacher going back to Ferrari, Nico Rosberg going to McLaren, Nico Hulkenberg going to Maranello and so on.
Let’s rewind a little and look at some realities. Lewis Hamilton has yet to re-sign for McLaren. Felipe Massa has yet to re-sign for Ferrari. Ferrari tried hard to get Mark Webber for 2013.
The knock-on from the about three facts is that Hamilton has been linked with Mercedes. The story makes little sense for Hamilton, unless he is after money alone, which he says he is not. The entire story seems little more than a crude attempt at a bargaining position by his management, which seems to be a little out of its depth in the F1 world. McLaren will inevitably call Lewis’s bluff and make him a “take it or leave it” offer. Accepting the offer might require a certain amount of pride-swallowing, but that is probably better than taking the risk of racing for Mercedes in 2013. Lewis is a special talent, but here are nonetheless half a dozen drivers who are good enough to do a decent job for the team if they lose faith in Lewis.
Massa’s situation is less complicated. Ferrari wants a number two for Fernando Alonso. He must be quick enough to keep Fernando on his toes and get points, but not quick enough to destabilise the Spanish star. Massa has not scored much this year. One can construct an argument that Felipe’s results are worse than they appear because of the close nature of the racing this year, but the fact remains that he has not produced enough points. The question that Ferrari needs to address is whether it is better to get in someone new for 2013 or whether they want to hold on with Massa until the end of 2013 and then get Mark Webber – or a youngster – into the team.
The what-ifs do provide a certain amount of entertainment but F1 teams these days are risk-averse and so they tend to go for the safe options.