There’s a lot of speculation doing the rounds that Felipe Massa’s seat at Ferrari is under threat, with recent suggestions claiming that Mark Webber and Jenson Button are likely candidates to join the Scuderia in place of the Brazilian next year.
Both Webber and Button have contracts up for renewal at the end of this season, but what many media outlets seem to have forgotten is that Felipe Massa remains under contract until the end of 2012…
Massa’s contract extension was announced last year, and while one could certainly point out that not all Ferrari contracts are iron-clad.
Kimi Räikkönen is a case in point, although his departure at the end of 2009 stemmed from a lack of results / motivation from the Finn, and there was a certain Fernando Alonso waiting in the wings.
The real reason behind the Finn’s departure was a fistful of cash from Spanish banking and insurance giant Santander, whose sponsorship of the team was confirmed just weeks before Alonso’s arrival.
Neither Button nor Webber comes with sponsorship, and Massa will not be paid off in the same manner as Räikkönen.
The other key point that few seem to be considering is that Alonso will almost certainly have a clear requirement for a compliant team-mate so he can continue to enjoy his position as Ferrari’s de-facto number one driver.
Equally, one would struggle to imagine Button or Webber wanting to put themselves in the position of being Alonso’s whipping boy – although it could also be argued that their current positions within their respective teams is rather similar.
[Original image via Sutton Images]