Hulkenberg to Replace Massa at Ferrari?

Once the F1 season has come to an end last weekend, the next topic on the media's list of interests is the drivers' lineups for the 2011 season of Formula One. And since nobody started confirming anything on that subject, speculation is the word of the day within the international press.

One of those rumors regards Ferrari. Well, to be more precise, the allegation is actually centered on former Williams F1 racer Nico Hulkenberg, the man which many regard to as the best rookie of 2010. We won't go over and over the impressive highlights of Hulkenberg's campaign this year – as his pole position in Brazil should be informational enough – but the fact that the young German is linked to a Ferrari seat from as early as 2011.

According to media reports in Italy's La Stampa and the highly informative Autosprint, some sources from within the Scuderia have hinted that Hulkenberg may be signed by the Italians to replace Felipe Massa.

Massa is currently on an ongoing deal with Ferrari, which was signed earlier this year for until the end of 2012. Which means his seat at Maranello should be secured. However, his struggling campaign in 2010, along with the fact that he was unable to provide a decent help for Alonso in his title quest this season, may lead to some thinking within the Scuderia's managerial team.

Ferrari have a recent history of cutting ongoing deals, with Kimi Raikkonen being paid off his remaining one year of contract with the team to make room for Alonso at the end of last year.

Of course, while some sources suggest Hulkenberg could benefit from his manager Willi Weber's strong connections with Ferrari – from the days he represented Michael Schumacher – others say Massa's presence at Maranello is “untouchable” for the remainder of his contract.

The same La Stampa newspaper added, however, that the rumor could have in fact been generated by Weber himself, in his efforts to keep his 23-year old client on the drivers' market this winter. The German has recently been ousted by Frank Williams on financial basis and is currently searching for a team for next season.
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