The Twitterverse was going crazy this week with speculation that Felipe Massa will soon be out at Ferrari and replaced by — are you ready? — Rubens Barrichello.
If that’s not all, Jean Alesi confirmed that he will — indeed — enter the Indianapolis 500 this year and do it in a car powered by a Lotus engine and entered by Newman-Haas Racing.
Now, I am the first to admit that stranger things have happened. But let’s take a closer look.
The Indianapolis Star reported last week that the deal for Alesi to race at Indy in a car entered by Keith Wiggins’ HVM Racing (which runs Simona de Silvestro in the IZOD IndyCar Series) was off because, according to Wiggins, there wasn’t enough money.
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard immediately countered that Alesi would — indeed — be racing at Indianapolis, although he was a little vague on specifics.
There then followed a story on the Autosport website that quoted Alesi as saying he would go to Indy with Newman-Haas Racing. Newman-Haas, of course, announced late last year that it wouldn’t contest the 2012 IndyCar season because it didn’t have the money. That threw James Hinchcliffe and Oriol Servia out of work, although they’ve both since bounced back.
Now, I suppose Newman-Haas could run a car at Indy. And I suppose Lotus could build an engine for Alesi’s car (although they’ve been having trouble building enough of them to power the teams they’re already contracted to and none other than Roger Penske has suggested they are not long for the racing business). And I suppose the 47-year-old Alesi, who’s been out of open wheel racing for years, might be able to get up to speed to race at Indy (although it’s a lot harder than it looks).
But there are an awful lot of “I supposes” in there, aren’t there?
I think, frankly, that this is just a lot of smoke to cover up the fact that Lotus is in serious trouble as an engine builder and that IndyCar made a mistake by deciding to include it with Honda and Chevrolet.
Re: Barrichello and Massa.
Why would Ferrari give the boot to an under-achieving Brazilian in order to replace him with another Brazilian who would also under-achieve?
If Massa has to go, I can’t see Ferrari hiring Barrichello — can you? Wouldn’t it be better to make a deal now for Sergio Perez and move another young Ferrari development driver into the Sauber program?
But, as I said, stranger things have happened.