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Massa gets 2013 contract renewal as Ferrari keep the faith
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Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Oct 2012   |  6:02 pm GMT  |  119 comments

Felipe Massa’s Ferrari career will move into an eighth season after the team today awarded the Brazilian driver a one-year contract extension.

The announcement had been expected for several weeks in light of the 31-year-old’s timely return to form, which has seen him finish in the points in each of the last six grands prix and help Ferrari move ahead of McLaren into second place in the constructors’ championship.

Luca di Montezemolo had said yesterday that he would sit down with Massa at Maranello for a meeting today to discuss his future before making a final decision on it, and the expected confirmation that the Brazilian will continue driving alongside Fernando Alonso into 2013 duly arrived this afternoon.

Speaking in wake of the announcement on Ferrari’s website, team principal Stefano Domenicali strongly hinted that Massa’s revival had been imperative to securing his future and that he was certain the long-serving driver would repay the faith placed in him.

“We are pleased to have extended our relationship with Felipe for a further year,” he said “He has been part of our family for over a decade and has shown, especially in this recent part of the season, that he is once again competitive at the highest level, which is what is expected of every driver who gets behind the wheel of a Ferrari.

“We have always supported Felipe, even in the most difficult moments of his career and we are certain of his worth and are sure he will know how to repay the confidence this renewal proves we have in him.”

Massa himself described Ferrari as his “racing family” and vowed that “the team and also all the fans can rest assured that I will do all in my power to help the Scuderia reach the targets it sets itself each year.”

The short-term nature of the deal comes as little surprise with Ferrari clearly wanting to keep its longer-term options open, with Italian sources likely to take this as further indication that the door is very much firmly open for Sebastian Vettel in 2014.

Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta were thought to have been put under consideration by Ferrari over recent months but the team had clearly wanted to give Massa, a driver they have been steadfastly loyal to over a decade since they first signed him as a test driver, the opportunity to prove he deserved one more season at Maranello.

Alonso had been particularly vocal in recent weeks in support of Massa’s case for a renewal, describing the drivers who had been linked to the Brazilian’s seat as “little names” in comparison to the 11-time grand prix winner. In reference to all the speculation that has surrounded the second Ferrari seat this season, the Spaniard has since tweeted: “After 8 different teammates.. Felipe staying is another example of what I always say; Do not believe anything you read, unless it’s official.”

The Massa announcement means that both Ferrari and Red Bull will field unchanged driver line-ups once more next season, while McLaren and Mercedes will have to bed in new arrivals following Lewis Hamilton’s decision to move to the latter.

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119comments

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1

hehehehe… Mr. Alonso… you chicken 🙂

2

Why not take up the challenge with another team such as Sauber…in the same way that Lewis Hamilton has moved to Mercedes?

3

Why does Montezemolo pushes FIA for 3 Ferrari cars on the grid, when even only having 2, he gives one of the seats to a below average point score driver?

4

It seems like the common sense thing to do as it’s harder to find and bed in a new “No.2” driver then simply sticking with the current “No.2” driver who seems to be finding his form whilst bringing in valuable constuctor points.

A one year contract also seems the sensible option. Massa’s form may dwindle below Ferrari’s “No.2 driver” standard. Let’s face it, Ferrari are a pretty impressive team, Alonso is a pretty impressive “No.1” driver, wouldn’t it make sense to have an equally impressive “No.2” driver? Impressive No.2 driver meaning a driver who is impressive at being a No.2 wingman who can ably support the No.1 and when necessary haul in the points should the No.1 DNF. Nothing more nothing less.

5

In 2013 Massa will outscore Alonso, whos used up all his luck during loosing the 2012 Battle! And then Vettel & Newey will replace Alonso to pair Massa in 2014! 🙂

6

Perfect timing from the Scuderia. It just fuels the fire that Vettel is joining them in 2014 thus destabilising Red Bull for the remainder of the season and possibly next year aswell. Red Bull won’t want to share technical secrets with Vettel if he is off to Ferrari.

7

The truth is that those of us on the outside can only speculate about what is really happening at Ferrari. What ‘appears’ to be obvious, is that Ferrari have built the team around Fernando’s wishes. So I would speculate that he has taken them down the wrong development path, with his feedback during testing. Early in the season the car appeared to suit Fernando, whilst being slow, but poor Felipe looked like he was driving on ice. Maybe the announcement about the wind-tunnel is a clue to the wrong development path. I find it hard to believe that Felipe just woke up one morning last week, and became a faster driver.

8

Could Newey be coming with Vettel to Ferrari in 2014?

9

Even if next year Ferrari can manage to win the Driver’s World title, it has assured themself’s of not winning the Constructor’s Title by signing with Massa again

If it’s true that Massa’s race result’s have improved in the last few GP’s, let’s not forget that the main reason for him to get those results where because others had DNF’s or some sort of problem

When the racing weekend’s resumes to it’s normal course, Massa will again average 7th or 8th position, it’s been this way for 3 years in a row

How can this guy be in a top team?

10

Perfect for Philipe, and a strong move for Ferrari. I continue to think that he has had a mental confidence issue since Hugary’s accident, not a car issue. Whichever it was, it obviously has been put aside, as there is no way to be faster (which he legitimately was in Stint 3) than Alonso with either one. There is something to be said for loyalty. Now if Ferrari will only let him go and attack the Red Bulls and use up their tyres so that Alonso can attack later, this could get interesting…

11

While I applaud loyalty in a world where it now a rarity, I am slightly amazed by the amount of second chances this man has had. It is also unsurprising that Alonso is his biggest supporter – Massa clearly knows his place and as we saw in 2007, Fernando doesn’t take kindly to racey teammates.

12

Massa may be the clear number two at ferrari but did ne have any other options for a race seat next season?

13

This just solidifies the rumours of Vettel going to Ferrari in 2014. They would of had to have secured DiResta or Hulkenberg for multiple seasons which would have meant no place for Vettel in 2014. Makes complete sense for them to keep Massa for another season to try and secure Vettel.

14

Excellent news. Pleased for Felipe and Ferrari.

15
Lachlan Mackinnon

Massa has put in some pretty ordinary performances over the past two years. I am surprised that two, possibly three improved performances warrant an extension. Is this signing simply a reflection of the limited opportunities available to a potential replacement driver……..assigned number 2 status no matter what potential they show in the first part of 2013. I can’t help but think that Ferrari would be more competitive providing equal status to both drivers for at least the first half of any given season??

16

Obviously great for Felipe. I wouldn’t be surprised if his remuneration is smaller and with a greater focus on performance bonuses.

Not so great for the other drivers and fans who like comparing a with b and b with c to say c is better than a. I think there’s been 8 full time Ferrari F1 drivers in the last two decades, so it is being kept an elite club.

Possibly a small direct benefit for Alonso too in that the car does not need to accommodate a large driver and that might help some of the packaging.

17

Mr Allen – pleased other readers are of my opinion that Alonso came to Ferrari with Santander money and has had Ferrari running after him ever since!? Massa’s recent results prove this – finally with an equal car to Alonso, rather than running as a test driver to Alonso he is a match and possibly faster than Alonso….Transparency must surely be key to F1 as a serious sport? Rhuairi Macleod

18

This may well be the first race since Alonso joined that Massa was faster, so now he has been faster all along?

Alonso was saving tires to go at Webber late in the race, it is also the circuit that is hardest on the front right tire, so hardly representable of all races.

19

Not the first time we’ve seen this either.

Remember Monaco, when Alonso was holding up Massa, but actually saving his tyres for a proper push later…

20

It has to do with timing. Based on his form of last 3 years he surely did not deserve the seat. Just because he had a couple of good races, one should not judge that this will be the future form of his. As I am a Ferrari fan, obviously I wish that he continues like that.

But given that Webber did the smart thing and remained in Red Bull, and Perez was picked up by Mclaren, Massa became a viable option and Alonso is right that Massa is a better short term fit relative to the other names we heard in the past months.

21

better the devil you know !

22

This is a bit of a strange situation for Massa.

Yes I am sure he is happy to continue with Ferrari for another year as his options to move to another team looks like it was near impossible, so is this just a 1 year stay of excusion.

I have been in the camp that said he should have gone long ago, that he didnt deserve to be in a Ferrari car. (And am not a Ferrari Fan) but he has pulled his socks up and started to perform, and for all the last few races I would say that the last race was his best as he got that result on his own merit, (4th) as with the 2nd in Japan and other races he only finished higher through other peoples mis-fortune.

So will 2013, be another year where he is under the same stress because wether it is true about Vettal joining or not, he has to know that his chances of staying for 2014 are slim at best and the only way I can see him staying on past 2013, is if he performs the same as in the last race, ie looking and racing better than Mr Team Ferrari ‘Alonso’, and what are the chances that will happen??

Also he must know that no matter what happens at Ferrari next year and “IF” he drives better than Alonso, he will never be giving the chance to race for the championship, as he is well and truly No. 2 at that team.

As for the last race I think it was not the right way Ferrari went once Massa got on Alonso. In this day and age of team orders, if Massa had gone past Alonso he might have been able to attack Webber it give him something to think about and if it didnt work Massa to slow down and let Alonso repast him, easy from where I was sat. At least as far as I am concerned that would have been the better way to use your Team skills at that moment.

On a final note, what must be his mind set now?

Does he go into 2013, knowing that his time at Ferrari is in its twlight, so he makes huge improvements to show case his skills for another seat else where, or does he continue at Ferrari hoping that the dream continues and if it does end at the end of 2013, does he go into retirement as an F1 racing driver and hold on to the 30 seconds HE WAS WORLD CHAMPION……

23

hi James !

i wonder : good/bad material (or mechanics) for 1st/2nd driver…does this actually still happen in modern F1? And in which degree could this actually be the reason for the sudden rise in Felipe’s performance ?

I am happy for Felipe, the pressure must have been enormous, poor guy. And indeed, he acted as a true professional. It’s only a pitty it took soooo long and now all of te sudden..I really don’t understand where his sudden form comes from ?

Massa had no podiums in 2011, he admitted it was his worst season in F1. Everybody knows what happened so far in 2012. All this time Ferrari supported this underperforming driver..I find this very strange, since we all know what happened to Kimi back in 2009. Now it’s clear to me who put his veto on Kimi’s staying, just as he seems to have put his veto on Hamilton’s arrival. And i am very very sure that there will never be a Vettel-Alonso line up at Ferrari.

Being italian, I am a tifoso by birth, as my father and grandfather were. No discussion about that. But i also know my people very well. Above all they are true masters in orchestrating the show. And in case of F1 everybody knows there is so much that plays behind the curtains of the greatest show on the planet.

Thank you for your incredible website James !

24

Sort of off topic, James, do you think the DTM and Japanese Super GT tie-up, with a possible U.S. series, will influence future manufacturer participation and allow drivers with little cash a chance to prove themselves?

Money plays just as big a role in junior formulae as in F1.

Personally, if I were Merc I would be pushing for 1.6l v6 turbo’s in that series to pressure FOM.

25

Sorry, to clarify, manufacturer participation in F1 and driver participation in DTM/Super GT

26

A good move for all concerned, I think. For much of 2011 and the first half of 2012, Massa really didn’t look up to the job and was clearly not scoring the points the car was capable of. Maybe it was ongoing fallout from his accident (although his results were respectable in 2010) or maybe Alonso’s muscular approach to establishing himself in the team damaged Massa’s headspace, but if you’d asked me at Valencia whether Ferrari should retain Felipe I probably would’ve laughed. It’s all changed since Spa though and he’s looking like the Felipe Massa of old – hungry and quick, especially so on circuits he favours.

For Ferrari, they now know they’ll have a fast driver to pick up points towards the WCC, and one who is already popular with the team, so won’t require an adjustment period. For Alonso, he now has teammate strong enough to support him in races and take points off his rivals. For Massa himself, he will be in a position to win races again and potentially even have another shot at the title. He may or may not have had that back at Sauber.

27

Can’t help but feel that his results are the same that Nico or Paul would get in his car. He will never win a championship in that car as long as Alonso is there. Also off topic James but was wondering if you could do a bit about Mercedes? After a raft of hirings last year their form after the China win has hit rock bottom, why is that? Too many designers pulling the team in different directions?

28

Massa has proved me and a lot of other people wrong by upping his game. A whole lot of us had written him off time and again, but he has stuck with it and delivered. Good on him, and hopefully he can have a better start to next year in a better car.

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