The Italian press are reporting that Rubens Barrichello has been ordered to take a wage cut by his Ferrari paymasters - or leave the team.

The Brazilian - who has yet to open his account this season after two mechanical failures and a first lap accident - has allegedly been told that he must accept a cut in salary for 2003, after the Maranello team began to search for younger talent to partner world champion Michael Schumacher. Barrichello joined Ferrari in 2000 as number two to the German, but has increasingly shown that he wants equal status in the team.

Schumacher has longer to run on his current deal with the team, which is now looking to partner the German with a young charger - much as McLaren has with David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen. It is widely accepted that Ferrari helped place Brazilian hotshoe Felipe Massa with engine customer Sauber for grooming in 2002, and the reigning Euro F3000 champion is tipped to be the next Schumacher subordinate.