The ongoing speculation surrounding Giancarlo Fisichella's expected parachuting into the second Ferrari continues apace, with sections of the Italian's current team, Force India F1, apparently offering conflicting views on the situation.
While commercial director Ian Phillips told the BBC's Radio 5 Live
that confirmation of the move could be expected by the end of Tuesday, the team itself countered with a statement denying that it had had any approach from either Ferrari or Fisichella regarding the rumoured switch to Maranello.
The Italian's second place in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps came at just the right time as the rumour mill cranked into top gear and propelled his name to the top of the Scuderia's expected shopping list. While Fisichella has made no secret of the fact that driving for the Prancing Horse would be little short of 'a dream', however, sources close to both him and the two teams involved - with the apparent exception of Phillips - have been attempting to fan the flames of speculation.
Fisichella's manager Enrico Zanarini insisted immediately after the race that he had not been approached by Ferrari, while the Maranello concern itself insisted that it would take time to evaluate Luca Badoer's latest lacklustre performance, as well as wait for the latest medical update on the injured Felipe Massa - before embarking on the search for a replacement [read story here
Team principal Stefano Domenicali's claim that nothing would be done before Tuesday, however, coincides nicely with Phillips own assessment of the situation.
"Nobody's asked us yet, but I think it's pretty likely that somebody will make a phone call to Vijay Mallya over the next 24 hours or so, asking if we would release [Fisichella] to Ferrari," Phillips claimed on Monday.
"I don't think they have really got any options. Ferrari being Ferrari, it's their home race at Monza, which is a place with a cauldron-like atmosphere, particularly for the Italians - seats will be thrown on the track if Ferrari aren't doing well. They're going to have to put somebody in there who can basically run around with [Kimi] Raikkonen at the front of the field."
While Fisichella kept tabs on the 2007 world champion at Spa, despite the Ferrari being equipped with the KERS system that helped propel it to the front of the field, Badoer finished nearly a minute down on the car in front of him - Kazuki Nakajima's Williams - having qualified slowest of all for the second race in a row.
Despite speculation that Force India would promote official reserve Vitantonio Liuzzi for his first race in nearly two years should Fisichella move on, the Silverstone-based team countered Phillips' comments with a statement denying that its Spa hero was poised to move on for Monza.