Early contenders for Felipe Massa’s 2013 Ferrari seat may have been ruled out because they are too tall, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports.
Ultimately, Mark Webber is staying at Red Bull next year, while German Nico Hulkenberg has signed to switch from Force India to the Ferrari-powered Sauber team. But earlier, rumours linked them with Ferrari, who in the end decided to re-sign the resurgent Brazilian Massa for 2013.
Auto Motor und Sport said Webber and Hulkenberg’s height might have been the problem. The pair are both 184 centimetres, or just over 6 foot.
Massa and Alonso, on the other hand, are considerably smaller; Alonso is 13cm shorter than Webber and Hulkenberg, while Massa is a diminutive 1.66m, or 5 foot 5. The German magazine said Webber confirmed in India that he would not have fit at the wheel of this year’s Ferrari.
And with the 2013 regulations staying essentially the same as this year’s, most teams will not be making fundamental changes to their chassis layouts for next season, due to the radical changes set to debut just a year later in 2014.
Hulkenberg did not comment on whether he would fit in this year’s Ferrari, but Auto Motor und Sport said the German admitted that his height is an issue.
He is quoted as saying designers “need to make compromises in the chassis” to accomodate tall drivers, like himself or his 2012 Force India teammate Paul di Resta, who like Webber and Hulkenberg also stands at over 6 feet.