By Alan Baldwin
MONZA, Italy (Reuters) - The Formula One rumor mill, trundling faster at every race, linked Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg with glamour team Ferrari on Thursday and the German had no complaints.
"It's good. It's positive press if you are linked to a team like that because it means you've done something right," he told reporters at the Italian Grand Prix when asked about a report in Germany's leading 'Auto, Motor und Sport' magazine.
Hulkenberg finished fourth in Belgium last weekend and also earned a memorable 2010 Brazil pole position with Williams.
He has also been talked of as a possible replacement for compatriot Michael Schumacher at Mercedes should the 43-year-old decide to retire again.
With the championship now past the halfway point, the 'silly season' is in full swing with steady speculation about possible driver moves.
Much of the focus is on Britain's 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton, out of contract with McLaren at the end of the year, and whether he will stay or move to Mercedes in place of Schumacher.
Champions Red Bull are the only team among the frontrunners with a confirmed line-up for 2013 - Germany's double champion Sebastian Vettel and Australian Mark Webber.
Ferrari have championship leader Fernando Alonso signed up until the end of 2016 but Brazilian Felipe Massa looks headed for the exit after scoring just 35 points in 12 races compared to the Spaniard's 164.
Ferrari have already had talks with Webber, as the Australian revealed when he subsequently signed a new one-year deal with Red Bull, and Massa has put his own chances of staying at 50-50.
He indicated on Thursday that he had not given up hope.
"I hope it will not take very long but let's concentrate on the races, try to do the best, having a good result and that's the most important thing," said the Brazilian when asked about any decision on his future.
"I didn't sign anything for next year yet but I think we have the possibility to sign and let's wait and see."
Hulkenberg, who partnered Brazilian Rubens Barrichello at Williams, said he would relish the chance to drive alongside Alonso.
"We all agree he is one of the best drivers at the moment, maybe of all time," he said.
"So if I am to fight against him, he is a good benchmark, a good measurement because you pretty much know how good you are when you drive alongside him. He is someone I could learn from, like with Rubens...that was a good experience."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Josh Reich)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp