Formula One Paddock: Latest Gossip and Rumours

Fraser MasefieldContributor IAugust 6, 2013

NUERBURG, GERMANY - JULY 05:  Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari prepares to drive during practice for the German Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring on July 5, 2013 in Nuerburg, Germany.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

In this week's look at F1 gossip our attention is turned on the second seats at both Ferrari and Force India.


Sutil set for Force India exit?

With most of the midseason gossip still surrounding who is going where in 2014, Adrian Sutil says he remains uncertain whether or not he will be on the F1 grid in 2014. Sutil returned to Formula One this season with Force India after missing 2012 following a GBH conviction for a nightclub assault on Lotus shareholder Eric Lux. 

According to Autosport, Sutil has certain "goals" and "plans for the future" that may not involve his current team.

Let's see what the future brings, I don't know. There are some interesting seats available but it depends on certain drivers moving, and then the carousel turns. It's a bit too early. I have my goals, I know where I want to go; I have my plans for the future. I won't tell it now of course, it would make things too easy. But I'm a loyal person to this team, and whatever I do I will speak to Vijay first.

Because Force India is a privateer team needing considerable funding to survive, Sutil realises that a driver with a more attractive sponsorship package could force team boss Vijay Mallya's hand.

It's difficult - in F1 the money is not really there. The top teams are doing very well, but the teams outside that are struggling to survive. They need drivers with sponsorship because they can't get it themselves, so sometimes with rare nationalities it is easier to get sponsors and that's why teams are looking for these kinds of drivers. The best package would be a great driver, able to be world champion, with a big sponsorship; then you have no problems.


Calado closing in on reserve driver role

Staying on the Force India subject, rising GP2 star James Calado told Sky Sports that he is in talks with the team over a potential role as a reserve driver after impressing at the recent young driver test.

Doing the Force India test was fantastic. It was amazing to get in a Formula One car. I was getting evaluated by the team and I'd like to say I did a fantastic job! I got to grips with it quicker than I expected actually and was able to give good feedback. I can't hide that we're having discussions with Force India, my manager Nicolas Todt is talking to them now, and it's hopefully likely that things will happen in the near future.

Ferrari warns Massa over performances

I reported last week in my midseason evaluation of Felipe Massa that I would not be surprised if he left the team in 2014, and his boss at Maranello seems to share my opinion. It emerged over the weekend that president Luca di Montezemolo has warned Massa his future is under threat unless he picks up his performances. 

"Felipe is a quick driver and a great guy," Montezemolo said in an interview with Corriere della Sera. "But in the past days, we were very clear with him: both he and us need results and points. Then, at some point, we will look one another in the eye and decide what to do."

"Sooner or later, every driver sends messages to Ferrari, a dream to be made reality for every champion. Even Ayrton Senna did it. However, even if I have lots of problems, finding drivers for the future is not one of them. Fernando Alonso is a true great, as I've said before. He has proved it and will prove it again, very soon."


Ecclestone's legal problems deepen

Not even F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone can escape rumours surrounding the depth of his legal problems after the Financial Times reported that he is facing a claim from German Media Group Constantin Medien for damages of at least $171 million.

The media group claims that Formula One was undervalued when it was sold to CVC from previous owners BayernLB and that it has a contractual right to receive a contribution from the sale of BayernLB's stake in F1.

"The stake was sold for $820m when CVC completed the purchase of F1 in April 2006. But CVC's refinancing of F1 a year later implied a valuation of the stake of $2.8bn."

Ecclestone has already been indicted in Germany following allegations of bribery.