The team have three reserve drivers on their books in addition to Massa’s team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, in Luca Badoer, Marc Gené and Schumacher, the seven-times world champion.
With neither Badoer nor Gené thought likely to be given the seat, there was immediate speculation that Schumacher might make a sensational comeback, which was initially ruled out by his manager. However, Ferrari sources say all options are open.
The problem with Schumacher — if, indeed, he is prepared to consider a return to racing — is that he is suffering from lower back and shoulder injuries that resulted from a fall off a motorbike during a test in Spain in February. It is not known whether these injuries are serious enough to prevent him returning to race driving, although one positive sign was that he was able to complete two days of karting during an event in Germany this month.