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Massa unlikely to be replacd in Hungary


Ferrari is not planning to find a substitute for the injured Felipe Massa ahead of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, despite the rumour mill suggesting that Michael Schumacher may be tempted out of retirement to stand in for the Brazilian.

Ferrari has only confirmed that Massa would not be lining up on the grid for round ten of the season, causing some speculation about possible replacements, but the regulations insist that any driver change would have had to have been confirmed prior to the session in which Massa suffered his freak, but potentially life-threatening, accident.

According to rule 19.1 of the F1 sporting regulations, under the heading of driver changes, replacements 'may be made at any time before the start of the qualifying practice session, provided any change proposed after 1600hrs on the day of scrutineering receives the consent of the stewards'. The rulebook does add, however, that 'additional changes for reasons of force majeure will be considered separately'.

With the seven-time world champion spending a lot of his retirement on the pit-wall with Ferrari, speculation has naturally suggested that Schumacher may replace Massa in Hungary - the scene of one of his more famous F1 victories with the Scuderia. The German, however, has been out of competitive F1 action since announcing his retirement at the end of 2006, although he has completed various test duties interspersed with his new-found interest in superbike racing and occasional kart outings.

While the more likely scenario will see Kimi Raikkonen running solo in Budapest, Massa's injuries will raise questions about who will replace the Brazilian in the longer term.

Marc Gene has been the nominated substitute in recent seasons, but has not been called on by the Scuderia. His last race appearance came while fulfilling a similar role at Williams in 2004, where he filled in for the injured Ralf Schumacher at both the French and British grands prix. The Spaniard has instead turned his attention to sportscar racing, winning this year's Le Mans 24 Hours for Peugeot alongside Alex Wurz and David Brabham.

Luca Badoer also remains contracted to Ferrari, but has not raced for a longer period than Gene and, with the attention falling on the suggestion that Fernando Alonso will be Maranello-bound next season, the Scuderia has not been linked with other talent that could fill in for Massa from next month's European GP in Valencia.

With the summer break commencing as soon as Hungary is over, however, the team at least has time to ponder its options - even if it will not necessarily be able to give any replacement decent track time in preparation.



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race fan - Unregistered

July 26, 2009 8:47 AM

Total non story, no one will be replacing Massa today. This rumour about Schumacher is completely baseless gossip (wishful thinking by some fan?). Also, please correct me if I'm wrong, but a driver cannot occupy a place on the starting grid without having ran qualifying, so this automatically disallow Ferrari from racing another driver besides Kimi, today.

eric victor - Unregistered

July 26, 2009 11:17 AM

Its interesting to see so many people just wanting to view MS behind the wheel of an F1 car again. It shows what the sport has lost after he left. If Ferrari want a long term replacement, they ought to look no further than these two driver. In no particular order, 1 Nicolas Hulkenberg or 2 Vettel. I hope massa does a speedy recovery. He is one of the best characters on the F1 races these days.



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