Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has left the door open to replace Luca Badoer after the Belgian Grand Prix if the Italian does not manage to raise his game.
Badoer, standing in for the injured Felipe Massa, struggled at the back of the field at the European Grand Prix this weekend.
The Ferrari test driver, who had not raced since 1999, qualified and finished last in the Valencia race, although he had made it clear the event was just a test for him and is hoping to do better at Spa.
Although there were suggestions this weekend that Badoer would keep the seat until Massa is back, Domenicali suggested things could change after the next race.
"What I said exactly, to be precise, is that for us the first priority is to understand when Felipe Massa will come back," Domenicali told reporters after the race. "For sure it is an important race for Luca Badoer next weekend. We are expecting a big jump from him and then we will see."
The Italian team boss admitted Ferrari cannot afford to have a car finishing at the bottom of the field, especially with the Maranello-based squad now in a close fight for third place with McLaren. He did praise Badoer's fitness, however, after the Italian finished the race without problems.
"As I have said before, Ferrari cannot be satisfied with a car in last position," he said. "That is pretty clear, but we need to consider all the circumstances and everything that has happened. I think if you look behind it, for sure it was a difficult weekend for him. In terms of race pace, if you look to compare to the other young drivers, you can make your opinion.
"He did a great start and then he was touched from behind so he lost a place, and then in terms of rhythm -- everyone was worried this morning about his health, worried about that it was not possible for him to get to the finish and that he would have to go to the hospital. But he was very good."