Ferrari interested in Sutil as replacement for Massa

By on Friday, December 16, 2011

Sutil is reportedly under consideration by Ferrari to replace Massa

It was announced today by Force India that Nico Hulkenberg, who had been their reserve driver in 2011, will be promoted to a race seat next season alongside Paul di Resta. Hulkenberg will replace Adrian Sutil, who had been expected to leave the team for some months.

According to respected German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, there are rumours in the Formula 1 paddock suggesting that Ferrari is interested in hiring Sutil to replace the struggling Felipe Massa. Massa endured one of his worst seasons ever in 2011 and it is widely known that next year is his last chance to prove himself if he is to remain with Ferrari in the future. Massa did not get a single podium in 2011, becoming the first regular Ferrari driver since Ivan Capelli in 1992 to fail to make it into the top three during a season.

However, Massa has a contract with Ferrari until the end of 2012 and the contract will be difficult to break. Massa's situation is different from Kimi Raikkonen in 2009, where Ferrari managed to convince the 2007 Formula 1 world champion to accept a $19 million payoff to end his contract one year early for Fernando Alonso take his place in 2010.

It is less likely that Massa will be willing to accept a financial settlement to give up his seat next year. Massa will most likely insist on seeing out the remainder of his contract at Ferrari and the team will not want a contract dispute to be brought to the FIA Contract Recognition Board.

Sutil is reportedly only interested in a one-year contract with Williams, since Massa will no longer have a contract with Ferrari in 2013. Williams are reportedly wanting a two year deal but the former Force India driver wants to be free to switch to a bigger team in 2013. However, if Sutil waits too long before signing with Williams, the team could suddenly decide to continue with Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian driver has put together a sponsorship package of five million euros and he would be satisfied with a one-year contract with Williams.

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