Rubens Barrichello has suggested that Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen's impassioned pleas to the FIA that it would be 'difficult to think of a Formula 1 without Ferrari' were simply a product of 'pressure' from within the team to toe the party line.

In the wake of the Scuderia's shock assertion that it will walk away from the top flight - having been the only competitor to enter every season since the official inception of the world championship all the way back in 1950 - over the inflammatory budget cap row, an item was posted on the official Ferrari website entitled 'The pride of making F1 great' and eulogising about the manner in which the scarlet brigade 'is loved and respected all over the world - loved by many of its friends and fans, respected by its competitors'.

Raikkonen subsequently expressed his understanding that the Maranello-based outfit is considering plying its trade elsewhere should Max Mosley's controversial ?40 million cost cap be implemented for next year, with Massa for his part admitting: "For a driver, racing a Ferrari in Formula 1 is a dream - and I made mine come true. Since I was a child Ferrari has been the synonym for racing for me; that's why I'm convinced that even if the Scuderia is forced to leave Formula 1, there will be other competitions where it will be possible to admire the Reds on the track."

Indeed, both drivers have gone so far as to intimate that they would be willing to follow Ferrari out of F1 and possibly into another discipline in accordance with their 2010 contracts, but Brawn GP star Barrichello - who himself raced for the famous Italian marque from 2000 to 2005, achieving nine grand prix victories along the way as team-mate to the legendary Michael Schumacher throughout that period - reckons the duo's comments should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt.

"With Ferrari the pressure was enormous," the veteran Brazilian told spox.com. "Often it was even laid out for me what I had to say in interviews. I enjoyed my six years there, but sometimes I felt far too pressurised."