Date: 10th May 2012 at 9:23am
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It’s pretty clear that unless Felipe Massa can turn his season around, he will be out of the Ferrari door come the end of 2012.

The media certainly see it as a foregone conclusion and have been writing up a list of prospective candidates to sit alongside Fernando Alonso since before the start of the current season.

At first it was Robert Kubica, but his long road to recovery from injury appears to have quietened down that rumour, then it was Jenson Button, before the McLaren driver signed a new long-term contract with the team, then after a couple of decent performances for Sauber, Sergio Perez was linked primarily due to his links with the Ferrari drivers programme.

Then during the testing sessions at the Italian circuit of Mugello, Red Bull’s Mark Webber was so heavily linked, that some reports even speculated that he has already signed a pre-contract agreement with Ferrari.

That was firmly denied by Mark Webber, while Red Bull team principal joked that everyone in the Formula One paddock will end up being linked with the seat at some stage.

Thanks to former three-time Formula One World champion Jackie Stewart, the next driver linked his Force India’s Paul di Resta.

If there was so such a thing as a rookie of the season award in Formula One the Scottish driver would have claimed it last season and he is highly thought of amongst the paddock, so it’s not a surprise he is being tipped for a move to one of the top teams.

‘Paul di Resta would be a very good target for Ferrari, Alonso probably has the best toolkit of knowledge and physically is one of the best drivers in the world.’ Stewart told the BBC, before adding ‘Alonso is almost at his peak and to have a young driver such as Di Resta be an understudy to Alonso is something I’d consider if I was at Ferrari.’

He continued: ‘He has got an enormous amount of talent. I hope Scotland doesn’t ask too much too soon from him.

‘You’ve got to be with a top-class team in order to win. You can’t do that with a second-rate team.

‘Force India are trying hard to be a first-rate team but they’re not there yet.