How do you solve a problem like Felipe?

As the season begins, fans lay praise upon the Petrov fluke and write off Quick Nick and a Stick in the mud, the only issue worth talking about is the second Ferrari seat of 2012.

I’ve had a lot of mocking as I dared to hint at Quick Nick going toe to toe with Fernando next year, but let’s look at the options and situation overall.

Quick Nick is my prime candidate to take over. I feel if he can produce a good haul of points, scoring over 1/3 more than a resurgent Petrov , steal a win or a succession of podiums and maybe get ahead of Massa at some noticeable points of the year, he’d stand a chance.

Come 2012 he would be booted by Renault as they welcome back Kubica and if Ferrari wanted to replace a demoralised Massa Nick is the ONLY proven option when you consider, the Alonso Factor.

Select in your mind any driver on the current grid with over two years of experience, who would consider being Alonso’s wing man. Taking into consideration they’d be knowingly walking into Ferrari as the ‘other driver’, but would also need to have pace not to put the second Ferrari on the back end of the grid.

Unfortunately, the shortlist is very, very short. Aside from Heidfeld I can see two options.

Swapping Massa. His last year of contract needs to be honoured, but as ever he can be ‘placed’ somewhere else, much like we’ve seen in the past.

So how do you solve a problem like Felipe?

Sauber, a team he knows, a team who likes him, and more importantly a team who has KobayBASHi to send in return. Ticks a few boxes, but would KobayBASHi be ok next to Alonso? With no Japanese manufacturers, I think so.

Toro Rosso? Well their Italian, they run Ferrari Engines and there after money. They wouldn’t mind playing host to Massa and giving rising star Ricciardo a competitive yard stick to race against.

Buemi and Alguersuari have struggled to prove themselves against each other. But again, having one of the drivers to send back the other way is a bonus. Jaime is still young and if he bode his time learning at Alonso’s knee and polishing his shoes, he could have a shot in the future.

The last, final, desperate option, is to keep a very unhappy, demoralised off-form Massa and watch a championship winning car trundle round in 6th place.

2012 Silly Season

Now let’s not mince our words. What happened to Bobby K was horrific. He was very lucky to survive, but the sudden upturn in media attention the week following can’t be ignored. F1 is only popular when it’s dangerous. That’s why WSBK and MotoGP get bigger crowds, the excitement the crashes. YouTube ‘F1 highlights’ and the views will be in the thousands, then YouTube ‘F1 Crashes’ the views are in the Millions. Crashes and unpredictability create interest, why else is Bernie wanting a sprinkler system on every corner?

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to explain my big movers for 2012. Lots of seats are set in stone. Williams will stay with the South American contingent. Force India will finally get rid of Sutil and he’ll end up at Team Lotus/Malaysia1 with Hiekki. Lower down the grid there may not be many developments, except I do hope Senna lands a seat somewhere in a half decent car. Force India will retain Di Resta and possibly sign Glock after he proves the ‘best of the new-ish teams’.

The big seats may see a famous helmet roll off the grid like Kimi Raikkonnen before them. But first Mclaren, who will remain as is, unless Button really messes up. Red Bull and Ferrari will stick with their Number 1 drivers [and we know who they’ll be] but the second seats will be very much up for grabs.

And this is where it gets interesting.

Lotus/Renault will welcome back Bobby K with open arms in the winter testing, sending Quick Nick and his beard packing. That leaves open one slot at each Lotus/Renault, Red Bull and Ferrari; with Massa, Webber, Petrov, KobayBASHi and Heidfeld having the best chances of securing a ride.

So, Red Bull, after having had a great 2011 season, winning the Constructors but not the Drivers [that will go to Alonso]; Will be looking at ‘refreshing’ their line up and to outrage from me, myself and I won’t promote anyone from Toro Rosso. I bet they’ll strike a deal for KobayBASHi with Sauber, sending Webber the other way or into retirement. Lotus/Renault have Kubica and Petrov under contract, but with a shakey-looking Bobby K comeback in testing, I think they’ll seriously be looking to get a unhappy Massa away from Ferrari and hopefully back to his best.

So you guessed it folks. Ferrari, and this is the team I’m making the big reputation gamble on, will after winning the Drivers Championship with Alonso, destroying Massa’s confidence, losing out on the Constructors (rightly) to Red Bull, will be looking around for a consistent Number Two who doesn’t mind taking on Alonso with three wheels on the car and last month’s upgrades.

Ferrari will sign the old German ‘Comeback King’ himself, the man Mercedes always wanted but only recently signed, the only man to consistently out perform Bobby K, Kimi Raikkonnen, Nico Rosberg, Rubens Barrichello, and Pedro De La Rosa, the one and only, the fastest beard wearer in the world, known as Quick Nick Heidfeld!

Oh yeah, I forgot those other German guys, Mercedes? Well, I guess they could hire The Hulk if finally Schumi gives in.