Could Mark Webber find himself a berth alongside twice World Champion Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F1 squad next season if Maranello decides, in the end, not to extend Felipe Massa’s deal with the team?
It’s a fascinating possibility which was being kicked around the F1 community last week and it’s certainly a prospect which I feel would provide the perfect ‘fit’ in terms of harmony and sensible relations.
Alonso has not always been the easiest of customers for his team-mate to deal with, as Lewis Hamilton will testify as he reflects on their time together at McLaren in 2007, but Webber is a philosophical and pragmatic soul with broad shoulders and would surely leap at the chance of a Ferrari driver if Red Bull eventually opts for a younger contender in 2012.
For the Ferrari management, forming a definitive view on whether Massa has regained the spark which initially seemed to have been extinguished – or certainly dimmed – as he struggled back to fitness after his 2009 shunt at the Hungaroring is certainly an extremely challenging task. Massa has certainly had his moments over the past two seasons, although it’s difficult to judge just how psychologically humiliated he felt after being told to move over for Fernando at Hockenheim last year. My gut feeling is that we’ve probably seen the best of this immensely likeable Brazilian driver and if Ferrari does in fact call time on their relationship at the end of the year, then I can envisage Webber donning a set of red overalls, no trouble at all.
Webber last week reportedly admitted to the Italian newspaper La Stampa that neither he nor Red Bull Racing had started to finalise their plans for 2012.
"I have my flaws, but I'm determined," he said. "Last year I fought for the title, and I want to go for it again. I'm relaxed and I feel I can do it, until the end.
"When the season ends my contract with Red Bull will expire. I don't think a possible renewal depends on the results. I want to win for myself, too. We'll see.
"If the team doesn't want me anymore, I will have to respond to a good question: to hang up the helmet, or to change teams?"
Hopefully it won’t be the former.