Despite a comeback that has led to cruel criticism in the media and on fans forums and message boards, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali has given his support to Luca Badoer, assuring the Italian that he will be back in the car this weekend at Spa.
At a post race press conference at which his team faced mounting criticism for running Badoer, Domenicali defended the Italian.
"I'm sure that we have seen a Luca that has not really shown up, but he has real potential," he said. "Apart from the fact he was racing for the first time in a long time, also from a psychological point of view the pressure on him was very high.
"We will speak together," he added. "I think we will discuss it tonight but I think it is important to keep Luca because he is a real team player and this is important in Ferrari."
Asked whether Badoer, who before yesterday last raced an F1 car in 1999, will be in the second car at Spa this weekend, Domenicali replied: "Yes, I think so."
While Friday and Saturday had been difficult, things went from bad to worse on Sunday. Though he made up several positions at the start, courtesy of the KERS device on his car, the Italian inexplicably pulled over when leaving the pits following his pit-stop, thereby handing a race position to Romain Grosjean. The Italian subsequently crossed the white line at the end of the pitlane, thus earning a drive-through penalty, before ending the day with an unforced error which saw him spin. Up front, Kimi Raikkonen was bringing the other Ferrari home in third.
The uncertainty over Badoer's future has prompted a number of drivers to offer their services to the Maranello outfit, not so much out of a desire to help the Italian team but more a chance to demonstrate their ability at a time when teams are seeking to plan their line ups for 2010 and beyond. It is reported that Brawn test driver Anthony Davidson is among those offering to 'help out'.