Felipe Massa’s untimely-vacated seat at Ferrari has become a revolving door, of sorts. Following unspectacular performances at both Valencia and Spa, Luca Badoer has now been shunted aside in favour of a new driver for Monza. World motorsports fans know this new driver quite well, as he’s not new in general—just in this position.
Although rumours about him possibly driving for Ferrari have raged for years, MotoGP multi-champion and Italian national hero Valentino Rossi is not Ferrari’s new man. Rossi spoke with Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport and said,
“I talked with Ferrari about racing at Monza. But without testing… it would not have been logical. We already decided that to enter Formula One without testing is more risky than fun. You can’t go there and do everything to understand the car in three days. I also don’t know if I could have finished the race with my neck. And also, because we’re fighting for the MotoGP championship, the race at Monza would definitely have been a big stress and it’s better to stay in MotoGP.”
A perfectly logical decision, though somewhere inside him, Rossi has to be thinking that it’s not every day anyone gets the chance to choose between going for yet another MotoGP championship or driving for Ferrari in F1. That does, however, mean Ferrari had to find someone else who was interested in fulfilling a lifelong dream of driving for the Scuderia.
Who is that someone? None other than Giancarlo Fisichella. “But he’s a ForceIndia driver!” you say? Not anymore. Vijay Mallya graciously allowed Fisi to break his contract so that he could race the remaining 5 races of the 2009 season with Ferrari, starting with Monza. In 2010, Fisi will go on to become Ferrari’s reserve driver.
Understandably, Fisi was overjoyed at this prospect, but that didn’t mean that he was inconsiderate of others. Said Fisi, “I want to say that I’m very sorry for Luca. I know how much he cared to race in Monza behind the wheel of a Ferrari, because this is the best thing that can happen to an Italian driver, to drive a red car in front of our fans.”