Niki Lauda has urged former employers Ferrari to drop Luca Badoer in favour of Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella for next week’s Italian Grand Prix.
“Ferrari must absolutely get Fisichella into the cockpit at Monza,” Lauda asserted in an interview with Switzerland’s Sonntagsblick.
“They can’t afford to muck about with Badoer any longer. If Force India have financial concerns, then surely the transfer sum paid by Ferrari would help.”
These “financial concerns” consist primarily of money owed to the Scuderia after terminating their engine deal a year early to swap to Mercedes power, and also a row with their Motorhome suppliers over payments.
Rumours of a Fisi switch intensified after a brilliant Pole Position and 2nd place finish at the Belgian GP, scoring the team’s first points of the year.
With Fisichella rumored to be replaced by current Force India tester Vitantonio Liuzzi for next year, a final few races and a possible Test Driver role at Ferrari could be an attractive proposition for the Italian, not to mention the rare opportunity to race a Ferrari in front of the loyal Tifosi in his home race at Monza. A win there would likely be the highlight of his entire career.
But is it really the right thing to do, from Fisichella’s point of view? Minus KERS, the Force India was clearly the fastest car at Spa, with Fisichella on race winner Kimi Raikkonen‘s tail for the entire race, and also demonstrated by Adrian Sutil‘s ability to pass cars exiting Eau Rouge, before even reaching the hard braking zone of Les Combes.
The other most likely candidate to replace Badoer is fellow Ferrari tester, and winner of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, Marc GenÃ©.