Mar.21 (GMM/ One race into the 2012 season, the Italian press has already named a candidate for beleaguered Ferrari driver Felipe Massa’s seat.

On notice by the famous team and with an expiring contract, the Brazilian driver had a nightmare 2012 opener in Australia.

Mika Salo, the 1999 Ferrari substitute driver, told broadcaster MTV3 that Massa’s performance, “compared to Alonso’s, was very poor”.

Autosprint, the Italian weekly, has suggested the out-of-work grand prix winner Jarno Trulli is available to step in immediately to replace Massa.

The Maranello based team appeared to immediately react in the form of a report on its official website, acknowledging its 30-year-old driver “has certainly been the target of criticism” after Melbourne.

Indeed, so poor was Massa’s performance last weekend that Ferrari has agreed to scrap his chassis and replace it with a brand new one for Sepang, despite the one-week turnaround between the flyaway back-to-back races.

“This choice was taken to clear up any doubts about the unusual performance of his car during the weekend at Albert Park,” said the team.

Ferrari also revealed that team boss Stefano Domenicali and technical director Pat Fry returned to Maranello after Australia rather than make the much-shorter trek to Malaysia.

“The fifth position of Fernando Alonso in Australia was a distortion,” argued former Ferrari engineer Joan Villadelprat in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

“Actually, I see a much harsher reality for them.”

Another Spanish newspaper, AS, reports that Ferrari is pressing the throttle on a ‘plan B’, involving a substantial redesign of the F2012 chassis for China that will involve a new FIA crash test.

  • Dr Tony Moffett

    I think Massa would be getting a raw deal! Shame on Ferrari, as Trulli's ONE win in F1 is certanly NOT impressive at all! Personally I think its an Italian thing! Massa missed the world championship by ONE POINT, and Trulli hasn't even come close to that!
    Had that jerk Glock not let Hamilton by, Massa WOULD HAVE been the world champion!
    Had Glock been a "true competetor" and held his position, things would have been a lot different! If Glock drove for me, I would have FIRED HIM ON THE SPOT!

  • quattro_1988

    Glock was on slick tyres in the wet, there was nothing more he could do to stop hamilton (though i wish massa had won too). Him and jarno trulli his teammate set identical times on their last laps.
    Regarding this season, i think trulli would give fernando a good run for his money in qualifying and score decent points during the races. Plus they were good friends at renault and were involved in developing quick cars.