Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says Giancarlo Fisichella could continue racing with another team in 2010 alongside his role as Ferrari's reserve driver.
Fisichella will stay on at Ferrari when his current stint deputising for the injured Felipe Massa comes to an end, having signed to become the team's third driver in 2010. This would potentially mean the end of his Formula 1 racing career unless one of Ferrari's drivers was indisposed again.
But Domenicali said Fisichella could dovetail racing for another squad with being on standby for Ferrari if he wished – and that such a deal could be to Ferrari's advantage as it would stop the Italian getting rusty while not competing.
"There are no clauses that prevent him from racing with others," Domenicali told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Quite the opposite, he could keep himself trained that way."
Domenicali added that Ferrari's existing test drivers Marc Gene and Luca Badoer were also likely to stay on alongside Fisichella, despite Badoer's disappointing performances when given the vacant race seat for Valencia and Spa.
"It's true that nowadays development is carried out by the race drivers, but we use test drivers also for promotional activities and for work on the road cars," said Domenicali when asked if Badoer would be retained. "We'll find a solution for him and for Marc Gene."
Domenicali expects Michael Schumacher – who had been set to make a sensational return in Massa's absence until lingering neck injuries from a motorcycle crash precluded his comeback – to continue in his consultancy role in 2010.
"The aim is to find a solution, because Schumacher and Ferrari are inseparable," he said.
The team boss did not rule out Schumacher eventually racing again, either.
"By the way Michael responded to our call, I think in his head the will to be a racing driver again is still there," said Domenicali. "Otherwise he would have hung up his helmet. So, never say never."
But he admitted that the chances of teams being allowed to run third cars – Schumacher's most likely route back into the F1 field – were looking slim at present.
"It's unlikely, unless the new teams take a step back," he said. "But for Ferrari the third car remains a winning solution that would only do good for F1. We'll discuss it with the FIA and [Bernie] Ecclestone."
Ferrari's bid to gain a testing ban exemption for Schumacher before his comeback was called off was denied, but Domenicali thinks the team will be able to get permission for Massa to test as soon as he is given medical clearance.
"We want to ask for a dispensation and I'm convinced the other teams will grant it to us," he said. "As soon as the doctors give the all clear, Massa will get back on track."