SEPTEMBER 1, 2009
Luca Badoer's career at Ferrari is unlikely to continue after two rather unimpressive weekends in Valencia and Spa. Ferrari knows that it cannot wait for Badoer to get up to speed - if indeed he can - as McLaren is in hot pursuit in the Constructors' World Championship. Kimi Raikkonen's victory at Spa obviously helped but the trend has been in McLaren's favour and it has two drivers capable of scoring points at each race, which Ferrari cannot hope to do with Badoer.
There is intense irony in that Ferrari has not got enough drivers this year, but appears to have rather too many for next year with Kimi Raikkonen insisting that he is going nowhere, Fernando Alonso expected to arrive and Felipe Massa coming back from his injuries. In addition to that Giancarlo Fisichella is reportedly very keen to become the team's test driver in 2010 if there are no racing options left open to him.
The problem this year is that Massa and Michael Schumacher cannot race because of their various injuries, Marc Gene is judged to be too much of risk, given Badoer's troubled times, and the best choice would for next week would seem to be Fisichella, although he knows that he has a very good car for Monza and might even believe that he could win the race in a Force India. Certainly his team boss Vijay Mallya is not wanting to give Fisichella away although his bargaining position is somewhat weakened by the fact that he owes the Italians money for his 2008 engine supply. He also has the luxury of having a very good test driver in Tonio Liuzzi, who is ready to step in for Fisichella if that is necessary. Ferrari might choose to go with Liuzzi if Mallya holds on to Fisichella but we hear that Maranello is not keen on that idea in case Tonio gets a drive elsewhere as he will then know secrets that Ferrari does not want other teams to know. The other option is Nelson Piquet Jr but that seems rather unlikely in the current circumstances, although we are told that Nelson was spotted visiting the Ferrari factory recently.
The problem for Ferrari is that it needs a fast driver who is going nowhere in the future. Fisichella fits the bill perfectly in this respect. He can still be quick when he finds the motivation as was seen in Spa and he will do a decent job and will probably be able to score points straight away.