Silly season has gotten off to a sputtering start, but as the season’s end finally becomes visible on the horizon, a there’s finally a buzz in the air over possible moves for 2011. The latest rumor is concerning Robert Kubica. Kubica has professed to being reasonably satisfied with his current seat at Renault, but now there’s word filtering from the paddock that a fresh deal from Ferrari might be on offer.
According to the latest stories, Kubica will replace Felipe Massa in 2011. Or to be more precise, they’ll swap places, with Massa moving to Renault. While Massa recently signed a new contract for Ferrari, as most everyone knows in Formula 1 contracts are made to be broken — or at least terminated prematurely. Most contracts have a buy-out clause, with Kimi Raikkonen’s departure from the Scuderia at the end of last year being a case in point.
An ovious irony that hovers over the deal is the fact that Raikkonen has himself expressed an interest in driving for Renault next year. Should that come to pass, and should Massa also end up at Renault, it would reunite the two drivers who were team mates at Ferrari for three years. While Raikonnen managed to walk away with the F1 title during one of those years, on balance the Brazilian outperformed the Finn. It would be interesting to see how this pair got along on a new team. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see how Kimi gets along with anyone, anywhere. He wasn’t noted for being the most voluble or gregarious driver on the grid.
For his part, Kubica has admitted that he would love to driver for Ferrari some day, which seems to be a universal among all F1 drivers save the Brits, most of whom seem to be enchanted with McLaren. Kubica himself has admitted that he would love to drive for the Scuderia, although whether or not that’s a plausible reality is anyone’s guess.
Personally, I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see Kubica in red livery next year. Massa has worked too hard to cement his relationship within the Ferrari team ranks, and I don’t think he’d give it up easily. I suspect that Massa is one of those drivers who sees his current Ferrari gig as the pinnacle career, rather than as just a stepping stone on the way to the pinnacle.
Also, his manager is Nicolas Todt, son of FIA president Jean Todt, who was, as most everyone remembers, the team principal at Ferrari for a number of years. While Todt certainly maintains a position of neutrality in such matters, it’s at least crossed the minds of Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo that it couldn’t hurt to keep Jean’s son happy.