As ever during F1’s annual stop in Budapest, the Hungaroring paddock is not disappointing when it comes to ‘silly season’ rumours. The cream of the crop is that Ferrari, who let a 2013 option on Felipe Massa’s current deal expire recently, has approached McLaren’s Jenson Button.
Livio Oricchio, the Brazilian correspondent for O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, might have heard the same rumblings, revealing that he had “arrived in Budapest thinking the chances of a renewal for Massa were good”.
“Today they (Massa’s chances) are smaller,” Oricchio admitted, revealing he had talked in the paddock with “many people” close to Ferrari.
Italy’s Autosprint said Button did not even deny the Ferrari rumour, although he did say the Italian team “know about my contractual situation”.
32-year-old Button is firmly under contract to McLaren for 2013. But Autosprint quoted Button as adding in Hungary: “Never say never”.
Another fascinating rumour in Hungary is that Kimi Raikkonen is regarded by Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali as a viable alternative to Massa. The Finnish broadcaster MTV3 quoted Domenicali as saying on Saturday that Ferrari’s 2007 world champion, and the team’s current number one Fernando Alonso, share “a lot of similarities”.
“He never complained to the outside,” said Domenicali, referring to Raikkonen, who left Ferrari at the end of 2009 and went rallying. “He could have easily said that this is not the kind of car (in 2009) that I need to achieve my goals, but he remained calm and supported the team.
“I think it was important,” he added. “He was always trying to push the team and maximise everything.”