Felipe Massa in the familiar position of needing results to save his Ferrari career
German media claim Scuderia have held talks with Nico Hulkenberg
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 22/08/13 1:24pm
Massa has struggled to impress so far in 2013
Ferrari are understood to be 'divided' on the prospect of rehiring Kimi Raikkonen, with the perennially under-pressure Felipe Massa reported to have been given two races - starting with this week's Belgian GP - in which to save his F1 career.
Having narrowly avoided being dropped at the end of the 2012 campaign, Massa will return to action in the Ardennes this weekend once again striving to prove he deserves a reprieve after another underwhelming season. The Brazilian currently sits seventh in the World Championship standings, with less than half the points that Fernando Alonso has accrued in the sister Ferrari.
With rumours abounding that Ferrari are considering an approach for Raikkonen, just four years after he departed the team, and the German media claiming that the Scuderia have also opened talks with Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg, time is running out for Massa to save his seat.
According to The Guardian, 'Ferrari will not make a decision about his future until after next month's Italian Grand Prix in Monza, at the earliest, which gives the Brazilian at least two races to make his claim for a fresh contract.'
Last season, Massa was handed a one-year contract extension in mid-October after an improved run of form saw him finish on the podium at Japan and then finish in fourth in Korea.
With Red Bull expected to name Daniel Ricciardo as Mark Webber's replacement for 2014, Massa has emerged as the pivotal player in the driver market, with a surplus of candidates in the frame to replace the Brazilian were his lacklustre form to continue.
But is the suggestions that Raikkonen, out of contract with Lotus and apparently overlooked by Red Bull, could return to Ferrari that is particularly intriguing. Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta and Jules Bianchi all have their virtues, but none would provide the sort of mouthwatering duel that Raikkonen's appointment alongside Alonso would undoubtedly deliver.
However, The Guardian describes the team as 'divided over the notion' or bringing the former World Champion back to Maranello and suggests that 'the most likely outcome for the Finn is to remain with Lotus'.