F1 Winter Break
Massa gets 2013 contract renewal as Ferrari keep the faith
Scuderia Ferrari
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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and he apparently is honoured by the BIC (Buddh International Circuit) by them naming a kerb after him too. http://wp.me/p2HWOP-c1

Anyway, so Ferrari clearly doing their bit to quel the 2014 rumours by giving Massa a 2013 contract only.

He's scored more points in the last 2 races than the previous 11. So maybe the 'horse whisper' is wrong about what Ferrari require from a driver - in actuality you can turn up for a couple of races a year when under contracutal pressure 🙂


I agree 100%




I'm pleased for Massa. Up till recently his poor run of results looked like his demise was imminent, even mid-season! I think Ferrari have made the right decision for next year and maybe they can start planning for the longer term. I can't see an Alonso/ Vettel pairing working as it has been proven that Alonso doesn't like a team mate who can compete with him.


The remarks from Ferrari that this and that drivers are not ready to join them tell me that they do not want to have a teammate who is as fast or faster than Alonso. Massa better be careful not to excel his teammate and remembers to stay behind in races as the second driver.

Personally not only I like to see competition between drivers in different teams but also between teammates in the same team. This helps me to judge who is a better or faster driver. We are not going to see that in Ferrari.


Neither do Vettel or Hamilton. I don't know why everyone keeps harping on about Alonso not wanting someone too fast next to him. Apparently Vettel and Hamilton take it just as bad when beaten by teammates, if not even worse. You just need to look at Hamilton outbursts each time he is out-qualified by Button. I don't remember seeing something like that from Alonso.


Worse than Alonso took it in 2007? I don't think so.

Besides, maybe Alonso is right to take it so badly. The teams spend 200 million dollars to try and make the car go 2 tenths of a second quicker than the next team - and then some of them refuse to use their 2 cars like any other team on the planet - to achieve the team's goals: Championships (please, people, don't tell me that the WDC is not valued by the teams because it definitely is for very obvious and sound marketing/sponsorhsip reasons).

I think i'd be baffled by the logic of it all as well.



Your view of WDC is just what side of the coin. Please don't forget the driver can take that asset with him. Where as constructors means instant money from Bernie and asset the team gets to keep.

Ideally the way to approach things would be to treat both championships equally. But we know that's not always possible. Which is why I don't blame mclaren for choosing upfront money vs. potential marketing value of WDC for example.


Agree, however I think Vettel is the worst culprit. His body language changes whenever Webber gets the better of him in quali or the race.

I think there is likely to be some truth to this comment on Alonso, though he is hardly the only one and he doesnt tend to carry on like some others.


Should be upset being beaten but you learn and get on with it. I remember Prost said once in quali if anyone beats that time they deserve to be on pole. I don't think Vet would ever be respectful enough to say that. Love to hear him say wow a great lap by ??? He deserves to be on pole but ill aim to beat ?? In the race. That is what I would see as respect


Being PO'd about getting beaten by a teammate is good. If he wasn't upset he should be fired as a racing driver.


see 2007


How often has Button out qualified Hamilton? Can you count them on one finger? It's only when Hamilton makes wrong set up choices that he struggles. In Korea, Button was 11th! Maybe Hamilton is frustrated with his setup mistake which is why he's demeanour isn't the best after a race?


He's done it a fair few times in the 3 years together, and legitimately at times too, such as Japan last year and Australia 2010, I recall. And anyone who qualifies poorly will invariably say the setup was wrong, it's often their fault if that is the case; it's part of the skill of being a top driver.

Not that I'm saying Hamilton isn't easily the better qualifier but people still deserve their credit.

Button should have done better in Korea but the yellow flag played a significant factor. Of course if he hadn't have messed up the first lap it wouldn't have mattered.


How about parking his car in front of Lewis so he couldn't do a final run. remember that?


To my knowledge, neither Vetter nor Hamilton tried to blackmail their boss into slowing the other driver down.




You've obviously got a short memory. Do a quick Google search on his antics any time truli outqualified him at Renault or him blocking Hamilton in the pits in Hungary so Hamilton couldn't get pole. You sure you've been watching F1 longer than a year?


Bear in mind that LH had blocked FA in qualifying even after the team told him to let him past.

In case you have forgotten, they qualified with fuel in the car and burnt off as much as they could before their final run. The rules allowed the teams to refuel the car with what they had started the session with.

Lewis knew Alonso was carrying more fuel for the race start and impeded him.


I agree - definitely the right choice - however their key focus at the moment must be ensuring that Alonso wins the title, not to build for the future.

I think once they get one under the belt with Alonso (which is well overdue) they will begin to look towards the future again. Until that time - best not to rock the boat with another "rooster"


Overdue? Great joke. I am afraid that Alonso will leave Ferrari without another title.


no.2 thats it


Good decision. He quite honestly sucked much of 2011 and 2012, but the last few races have proved why he almost won the title in 2008, and was a better driver than Kimi in 08 and 09. I wish the little brazilian goodluck and i hope he'll continue to impress.


If Massa was a better driver he should have beaten Kimi in 07 and won the world championship which was not the case. History speaks of championships won not lost.


Two flaws with that argument. One, zombie referred to 2008 and 2009, seasons in which Massa quite clearly had the edge, and in 2007 Massa had the lion's share of reliability problems (and resultant retirements or grid demotions) which blunted his 2007 challenge. Two, no one regards Sir Stirling Moss as a worse driver simply because he didn't win the title...


@Nusratholla : You are talking about 2008, Fillipe had outscored Kimi and had a better chance of winning the title, and hence it would be obvious for Ferrari to concentrate on Massa for the rest of the season. Nothing changes the fact that Kimi wouldn't have won in 2007 had Massa not gifted him the win in Brazil, and that Massa was a better driver of the 2 in 2008 and much of 2009 until his crash.


If my memory serves me right, Kimi wouldn't have won in 2007 had Massa not gifted him the position in Brazil. I'm not saying he was a better driver than Kimi, but during Kimi's years at Ferrari, Massa had the measure of Kimi.


By Schumacher's own admission while consulting for Ferrari in 2008 post French GP was that Ferrari had swung development towards Massa and away from Kimi and that was the only way he could match Kimi's pace, REMEMBER MASSA's SPIN IN MALAYSIA trying to emulate Kimi's Speed??? Case Rested.


I am sure RBR will be reasking Vettel what his plans are and what he has signed, making things just a tad more uncomfortable in the RBR garage at the next race. I am equally sure that will suit Alonso just fine. If Alonso gets the chance in ear shot of Newey and Horner he could just say to Vettel "See you at Ferrari in 2014!" Does not matter if it is true or not, the pain and uncertianty is being inflicted on RBR.


do you really think Massa is better than Alonso? if not, than what's the problem? if you are not as good as the no.1, then you are naturally the no.2


No surprise that Massa is willing to continue in the now customary role as the Ferrari patsy for their #1 driver. Massa's motivation to stay with Ferrari must be "for the money" since it is unlikely to based on winning the WDC while Ferrari are fully backing his team mate.

And for Alonso, 2013 will be another year where his performance is flattered by the performance of his support driver and without having to fight for #1 status, which would surely be the case if Ferrari signed up a more competitive driver.


Felipe maybe asked for advice from his fellow country man and friend Rubens what it was like driving for a second tier team after Ferrari.

Rubens even though he was a number 2 driver to Michael and complained a lot. Said it was hell at Honda till the one good year with Brawn GP compared to being a Ferrari driver. But he did have Fun at Williams being truly a number one driver even though he did not do well at the last stages of his F1 Career.

At Ferrari he was consistently getting podiums and wins with Ferrari and it was worth it.

Plus he told him the money is not great with other teams and the grass is not greener on the other side of being a Ferrari Driver. Plus the respect you get of being a Ferrari driver.

Most people Don't like Rubens because of his complaining. But you have to remember all teams he drove for.He is the most experienced racer in formula one and has continued to Race in Indy cars and now super V8 Saloon cars in Brazil because he loves racing.

I really think Runbens great year at Brawn Gp was the reason Michael Shumacher came out of retirement. Because he saw how well his old friend and teammate was doing with Brawn GP.



If he can't win a title in Ferrari, where should he go to achieve it?

Grayzee (Australia)

Maybe he has simply accepted the fact that he is not quite good enough to be WDC, so being number 2 at Ferrari is not a bad place to be........most drivers would give their left leg to drive a Ferrari.


congrats rubens err, massa another year as the number 2 driver


Very pleased for Felipe, just hope he keeps the recent run of results up and doesnt get too complacent now he has a deal in place.


I am very happy for Massa. I don't agree with the 'timely return to form' comment. The form was always there but the car is designed for Alonso's driving style and Massa had to adopt. May be they did some tweaks to suit Massa's driving style recently.

The one year contract clearly says that they don't have full faith in Massa and they are looking for a better driver.

I can't imagine a driver calling his fellow drivers 'little names'. He shouldn't forget that he was beaten by a little rookie fair and square at McLaren. That is the reason he vetoed Hamilton joining Ferrari this year. He will never allow Vettel to join Ferrari but will he still have a voice in 2013?

If anyone noticed Alonso's face after the Singapore grand prix, it clearly showed that he fears Vettel.


I think Schumacher and Kimi - The Last Two World Champions of Ferrari were Jean Todt World Champions... He knew whom to back and which driver possesses the capacity to deliver... I don't think Stefano has the same pedigree as Jean Todt... so, it would be safe to assume that Kimi - The Jean Todt World Champion will remain the last Ferrari World Champion for some years.

I am glad Vetel is leading the World Championship now.

Black & Gold is the new colours of passion in the new F1 and not the colour Red and the favorite snack - ICE-CREAMS !!!! 🙂


As usual, I'll correct your errors.

1) Alonso was referring to the drivers that have no race winning pedigree as "little names" not a World Champion and multiple race winner.

2) As Mocho replied, Alonso fears the RBR car as both drivers are at the front of the field with it.

3) No team designs a car to suit both it's drivers. They design the car to be the best possible package.

To look back at Ferrari itself, when the 1996 Ferrari was on track, it was only MSC who could access the speed in the car, because it was so knife edge.

By the time of 1998-1999, Irvine was on par with MSC in races or qualifying too.

Throughout 2000-2004, there were occasions that Rubens had the measure of Schumi, certainly not over a championship season, because MSC would never have allowed that, but certainly in some races.

The point is, the worse a car is, the bigger the difference between merely good and truly great.

This is one of the reason's I question how good Vettel truly is. When the RBR is not the dominant car, Webber has the measure of him. As the car improves and becomes dominant, Vettel begins to edge away.


Alonso fearing vettel ? good joke


He fears Newey and the RB8, but he knows he beats Sev in equal machinery.




The 2007 car was designed for Massa.


and the 2007 championship was Massas to take if Glock did not let Lewis through on the last corner, and let Lewis win his championship. Whoops, did I just say something against Lewis, bring on the onslaught!!!


That moronic myth is old, just let it go.


Yep..they just decided it would be "fun" to pay Kimi $25m a season, but make sure the team is set around a No.2 driver on less than 1/4th Kimi's pay ! Wow!


It's like Groundhog Day.... Massa's default setting of banging in a few good races in the months before his contract is renewed... thankfully Ferrari have only given him a one year extension this time!

I think Massa also has to thank Señor Alonso for insisting on having a subservient No. 2 driver at his beck and call.



Agree, sounded more like Alonso has appointed Massa to be his wingman in Ferrari for another year.


I reckon Ferrari had hobbled his performance to justify getting rid if him, then when the drivers they wanted fell thru, they gave him a fast car again so the tifosi could see his worth.

Grayzee (Australia)

WTF! you conspiracy theorists have way too much imagination............


imagination is normally a good thing..


Also Enzo Ferrari was on the grassy noll with a candlestick in the observatory.


Very happy for Massa.

I haven't really had much of an opinion of him previously, but he has handled himself well throughout all the speculation over his seat and has really made improvements in the last few races.

True professional.


Who would've ever predicted Massa staying at Ferrari longer than Hamilton at McLaren!

Anyway, good for Massa, hopefully he can continue his momentum through the rest of 2012 and into 2013.


"Who would’ve ever predicted Massa staying at Ferrari longer than Hamilton at McLaren!"


Perhaps you could run a competition for the most spurious link to get Lewis Hamilton mentioned.


Haha, and I'm not even a Lewis fan by any means! I just thought it was interesting to show how quickly things can change in F1.


I want the two fastest men in the world - Kimi & Lewis in one team.... maybe Kimi to Mercedes in 2014 ?


It's a pity Massa couldn't secure a drive at Sauber or such like. I honestly believe with some team support he could be a lot more competitive and consistant.

Perhaps not a WDC but you never know....

Anyway, best of luck to him. I just wish Ferrari would treat the 2nd driver with more respect.

The main reason why I have not been a fan in the past 10 years or so...


I hate Ferrari post-Kimi days.... nothing passionate about them anymore.... They have a complete driver in Alonso but he fails to invoke the pure speed passion which Schumacher and Raikkonen had during their respective eras.

I don't know why Ferrari favours Massa, they swung the development towards Massa in 2008, stopped development when he crashed in Hungary in 2009..... This made Kimi lose interest.... How could any team swing the development away from a man who won WDC in his debut year for them is beyond me to understand.

As things stand.... Kimi is still the Last Ferrari World Champion and by the look of things in these recent races he will remain so years beyond.

Passion is one thing... common sense is another.... maybe Ferrari ought to adopt the later.


which team are you supporting? Just want to know who is out there so fair and pure.


Well most of them, but I think what Ferrari do to Massa is unfair. More or less messing with his head and Barichello was the same.

I have been watching Formula 1 since the late 70's and I still don't like the team orders business, ESPECIALLY when you pretend you are backing the no 2 guy as ferrari do yet pull the rug from underneath at the drop of a hat.

Then berate him publicly for lack of performance and no self confidence....

At least other teams attempt to maintain a veneer of sportsmanship....

Anyway, thanks for your sarcasm.


I'd rather other teams actually behaved honestly instead of applying the veneer.

RBR are supposedly sporting people, yet how many times has Vettel had the full backing of the team, including him driving into Webber in Turkey 2010, yet calling him crazy and the team backing the fingerboy's reasoning fully?

What about Heikki being told in Germany 2008, a full 2 years before Massa & Alonso,

"Heikki, Lewis is faster than you"

Or Mclaren and Williams working together to stop Irvine from playing his part in the team tactics in Jerez 1997. Once MSC had commited his crime, Williams allowed DC and Hakkinen in to win as thanks. Then Ron told DC to move over...

Or 1998, Hakkinen makes a mistake in a dominant car, and DC, once again, has to make way for him.

I could go on, but it seems that Ferrari are the only culpable team in F1. Everything else is glossed over.

Tornillo Amarillo

This is a shame for F1, who could hire an obedient driver who accept "back off" orders like a kid?

I have sympathies for Massa, but I cannot really believe Ferrari keeping him for another year, after 3 disappointing seasons. Ferrari had Perez, Hulk, Di Resta as candidates for supporting Alonso and getting experience for the future, but they stick with Massa, I think a bad decision just have to backfire...

Anyway, teams are playing cards, and while Red Bull keeps Webber motivated, we can see some weakness like:

-Ferrari gets Massa, again

-McLaren lost Hamilton

Maybe the 2013 championship will be only between Red Bull, Lotus and Sauber?


It appears Massa has been honoured by the Buddh International Ciruit (BIC) as the have named a kerb after him. http://wp.me/p2HWOP-c1


Ferrari need a stable driver lineup since they need to fix their managerial, organizational, engineering and facility problems first. Ferrari 2009-2012 has not been worthy of their legend and status.


Are you mixing Ferrari with Schumi and Brown? Not much success really since then. Unless second is success in F 1.


Schumi "retired" at the end of 2006

Brown, or his brother Brawn, took a sabbatical at the same time.

So Ferrari winning in 2007 had nothing to do with them.

Ferrari winning the WCC in 2008, again was done without their input.

Anyway, since 2007 the stats look like this,

RBR : 2 WDC & 2 WCC

Ferrari : 1 WDC & 2 WCC

Brawn : 1 WDC & 1 WCC

Mclaren : 1 WDC


Good for him bad, for us fans of the sport... unless your a Massa fan ofcourse. We know what will happen next year.

Alonso again will get a car build for him (nothing wrong with that) and Fillipe will have to come to grips with it and will not be allowed to endanger Alonso's championship chances starting race one... We have been seeing this for decades now at Ferrari.

It would have been nice for us fans of the sport to have some new blood in there and see how he would fare against Alonso.




I'd agree if you had said years, but Ferrari have only been like that during the 1996 to 2006 years.(Basically the Schumacher years)

2007 to 2009, both Kimi and Massa won races throughout the seasons. Kimi had a brilliant end of year in 2007 which won him the WDC. He won three of the last four races.

Yet, after the 9th race, in Britain, Kimi had 52 points versus Massa with 51. There was practically nothing between them.

2008 and 2009, Kimi seemed to lose interest, Massa had better runs and was ahead generally.

2010, Alonso proved quicker over the course of the season, and whether people like it or not, he was the only choice to win the German GP, Massa was too far behind in the standings.

2011 and 2012 have proved that even more so. Massa finally managed a podium finish after the best part of 2 years. If thats not obvious enough, Alonso, in 2011 managed 10 podiums in the 5th fastest car on the grid. Massa managed 5th.

If as some people suggest, the team orders affected him for over 2 years, then he shouldn't be in top line sports, full stop.

Alonso is simply one of the greats.

Pre Schumacher, Ferrari always ran their cars equally. Enzo couldn't give a damn about the drivers, he only loved his cars.

If you want to understand it a little better, look at Frank Williams.

He is the closest embodiment of Enzo that we have today.

Throughout Williams history, he only cared about the cars, any driver could win in them.

Mansell, Prost and Hill were gotten rid of after their winning season.

Or maybe it's easier to use Manchester United as an example.

Alex Ferguson has been in charge and successful for over 25 years. How many of the players that have passed through his fingers do you really think he cares about? Not one, it's all about the team.


Hmmm....has car gotten more competitive lately? I'd say so. And suddenly in this good car Massa is challenging Alonso? Either someone is underrated or someone else is overrated.


You always seem knowledgeable to me sebee, but then you make remarks like that.

Using your example, does that mean that as Ferrari got better in the late 90's and Irvine was closer in performance to Schumi, this made Schumacher over-rated or Irvine under-rated?

Are we to believe that Rubens was as good as Schumi, except for team orders?

I'm sorry my friend, but as cars get easier to drive, the mere mortals can access more of it's speed. When the car has serious problems, only the greats have the innate ability to overcome the shortcomings.


Ferrari is so conservative. Alonso needed a slower teammate. Ferrari is willing to overlook all Massa's poor results as long as Massa remains Alonso's loyal dog! haha....

Ferrari is the same for 2013 as they had been for last three years. So my guess is that they will have similar results as they were in the last three years.


Congratulations Felipe. You may not have a WDC but, you've conducted and deported yourself a helluva lot classier than many who do! Trophies/titles/$$$ do not prove the measure of a man. Perhaps someday, I'm laughing as I write this, an annual award could be given to the driver who exhibits the ideal of SPORTSMANSHIP, fat chance! This might help to curb the sick actions of some drivers. It should be named in your honor. Anyways, your still a young man with a lot of talent. Best wishes,



Got a feeling Massa will do very well for 2013. Seems the car has come to his hand and it'll be the same car for next season. And if he starts beating Alonso......All the best to him and hope to see him more often at the podium.


It's very disappointing to see the same driver.

This has Fernando written all over it.

DanWilliams from Aust

Ferrari have only signed him cos he's a true No2 driver, whereas no one else in F1 would ever want to do that.

However I wish him all the best and just really hope he can find the mental strength and mental capacity to push through the whole 'No2 driver' status and drive hard and fast like he did when hes SHU and RAI's team amtes and give ALO a hard time. I really beleive that if he was to drive like he did in 2008 he would prob beat ALO. Wouldn't Ferrari be in a pickle then? Their No2 at least matching ALO... Would be highly entertaining to watch 🙂


Dream on...


Will he go back into his shell or will he be inspired to constantly challenge for a podium ?? These are the big questions. I truly hope he makes Ferrari think twice about letting he & Fernando race ,if not it will be just another dire year for Ferrari- where they will continue to be the jokers in the paddock


Could be interesting to see if Ferrari will pull a 2008, when Alonso will have bad first six races and Massa will end up on podiums all the time. But I guess Santander will never let this happen 🙂


Hello this is not KIMI RAIKKONEN nor 2008

[Two of your comments have been deleted because they break the rules and add nothing to the discussion. This one likewise. Please don't do that again - Mod]


wounder if Massa will slow down again now that he has been handed the contract.

no reason to push so hard if you are not allowed to win if your team mate is still running.


What a joke.


I don't know why he wanted to stay with them, they talked to other drivers (Web, Hulk, Di Resta), waited until the last possible moment, even called him a chicken (not literally but anyway), Alonso got a 4 year contract and Massa 1?? wake up Felipe you should've left when you had the chance, rebuild your career with a good midfield team don't throw it all away wasting another season with them.

Warren Groenewald

I genuinely hope he gets to grips with next years car much earlier in the season, Ferrari need the second driver to score regular points and it would be nice to see two chaps in red on the podium again at the same time.


I've really grown to like Ferrari. During the Schumacher era they seemed pretty arrogant, but now they do genuinely come across as a "family". They really have stuck by Massa, and shown great faith in him. It now looks like it's paying off.


I wish I could get away with doing my job as poorly as Massa has for the past 2 years, pull a couple of flukes out of the hat and get my contract renewed!


I'm surprised Ferrari gave Massa a new contract. In the last few races he looked like he could have the pace to beat Alonso, and we know how the big red team feel about their number 1 being beaten!

As a lover of the Hollywood silly season I was hoping for big change, but I guess this was the logical move for all parties involved. Who knows maybe we'll get a final bit of Hollywood in the next few hours.


Very pleased for Massa, not sure but hope he'll outdo selfish team mate.


Good for Massa!

There certainly was no other drive available as good as this one.

As for this No.2 status: it's no so simple.

Ferrari have a long tradition of using during races their second driver as a guinea pig for new strategies, set-ups, etc. Especially now, when regular testing is not allowed. With this kind of race plans it would be surprising to see Massa ahead of Alonso.

I also believe in case Massa could turn around the situation, and next year after 10 races or so lead Alonso by a significant margin, Ferrari will support him and will make Alonso support him just as Massa is now supporting Alonso.

The problem with this scenario is that Massa has rarely been consistent enough over a season to be in this kind of position. He is very much like Rubinho was: amazing on his day (when feeling happy with himself and the car), but fading when unhappy. And of course, Alonso might start to play psychological games if he feels threatened.

So, can Massa do it - beat Alonso fair and square over a season? I doubt it, still I would dearly love to hear one day: "Alonso, Massa is faster than you!... " 🙂


Good luck to Massa. One thing I dont understand is how he can be so devoted to be a number 2 driver. It looks to me that he only wants to be in F1 and not to challenge for the WDC. He could've jumped ship long time ago but chose to stay at Ferrari(look at Rubens).

Next year will be the same old story with Massa. Going through the same thing as this year. He really thinks he is going to drive for Ferrari till his 40.


I maintain that given equal treatment in terms of car development and strategy Massa could challenge Alonso. I think over the course of a season Alonso would out perform him, but Massa could certainly run him close. It is a shame Ferrari can't give him that equal treatment but I can't crucify them for it because it is an understandable strategy.

James, Alonso seems to have gone through a complete PR rehabilitation since he joined Ferrari, with hardly any controversial outbursts and generally keeping a clean profile. Has this been a concious effort from Ferrari to distance him from Spygate, Crashgate etc?

Either way, it was much needed and I far prefer the modern Alonso to his younger counterpart.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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


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 !


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......


better the devil you know !


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.


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


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.


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...


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.

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??


Excellent news. Pleased for Felipe and Ferrari.


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.


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


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.


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...


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?


Could Newey be coming with Vettel to Ferrari in 2014?


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.


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.


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! 🙂


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.


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?


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


hehehehe... Mr. Alonso... you chicken 🙂

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