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Force India men leading the chase to replace Massa at Ferrari

| 08.10.2012

Ferrari are one of the few F1 teams still to confirm their drivers for next season and, with the 2012 campaign entering its closing stages, it is reported that Brazilian racer Felipe Massa will be shown the door.

Massa remains 4/5 favourite to retain his place with the Italian behemoths and partner main man Fernando Alonso next year but, after several disappointing showings since suffering a serious head injury in 2009, his place has come under some scrutiny.

This price reflects the uncertainty surrounding his future as there are only two likely candidates to take his place. This should have seen his price fall far shorter than what it currently stands at, so it appears the bookies are not expecting him to be there in 2013.

The two men gunning for his position are Paul di Resta, who was recently overlooked for a place on the McLaren team, and Nico Hulkenberg of Germany, both of which are currently registered with Force India.

Both drivers are marked down as 3/1 shots to replace Massa, should Ferrari give him the boot, though it is the former who they would surely prefer.

Di Resta, who currently sits two places ahead of his Force India colleague in the Driver’s Championship standings, has enjoyed a steady third season on the F1 circuit. He’s racked up eight top-10 finishes and is yet to end a race outside the top-15 drivers, aside from a single retirement in Italy.

This form was what prompted speculation that he’d be the man to replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, yet their loss could easily become the Italian team’s gain.

Force India lack the resources the top teams have available to them and, as the Scottish driver has put in decent performances in the lesser car, he definitely has potential to make waves in the famous red of Ferrari.

Hulkenberg has also had a solid year with Force India, picking up seven top-10s and almost stole onto the podium in Belgium. He hasn’t been as consistent as teammate di Resta, but could still do a job if he made the switch as Massa’s replacement.

He was relegated to ‘test driver’ status for last season, whereas di Resta continued as the team’s second driver. This indicates who the Force India folks rate as the better driver and, based on this season, this appears vindicated.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Author

James Middleton