Massa likely to return to Sauber

Formula 1's 'silly season' traditionally turns serious in June and much of the rumour in the Nurburgring paddock was prompted by stories that Ferrari could be considering replacing Rubens Barrichello with Felipe Massa in 2004

Massa likely to return to Sauber

There are two basic flaws with that. Firstly, Barrichello is under contract with the Scuderia until the end of 2004, and secondly, our sources say that a deal for Massa to return to the Sauber race squad next year has been inked at Nurburgring this weekend.

Ferrari is anxious to start preparing for life after Michael, and Massa's speed in the Sauber last year was impressive even if, on occasion, his maturity was not. Jordan was keen to do a deal with the 22-year-old Brazilian for this season but discovered during the course of their negotiations that Ferrari's Jean Todt was the controlling influence behind Massa.

The issue here is if Jordan would be prepared to keep Massa 'match fit' given that they would have had to agree to releasing him if Ferrari required him at any time during the year. The intrigue continues...

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