Ferrari extends Massa’s contract through to next year
Associated Press in Maranello, Italy
Ferrari extended Felipe Massa’s contract for one more season on Tuesday, a move that keeps pressure on the Brazilian to perform for the Formula One team.
A brief statement from Ferrari said it had renewed the Brazilian’s deal “to the end of the next year race season.”
“Ferrari is my sporting family and I’ve always raced in F1 with motors built in Maranello,” said Massa, who previously competed with the Sauber team supplied by Ferrari. “I can’t see myself at the wheel of a car powered by anyone else.”
The announcement came two days after Massa’s fourth-place finish in the Korean Grand Prix.
Massa also finished fourth in the Italian GP last month, then took second in the Japanese GP nine days ago for his first podium result in nearly two years.
The 31-year-old Massa hasn’t won a race since a life-threatening accident at the Hungarian GP in 2009. He is currently ninth in the drivers’ standings.
“He has shown himself to be competitive again and at his best recently, which is what we expect from every Ferrari driver,” team principal Stefano Domenicali said. “We’ve always supported Felipe, even in the toughest times of his career. We’re sure of his worth and that he’ll know how to repay the confidence we’ve renewed in him.”
Massa’s previous deal – a two-year agreement – was set to expire at the end of this season.
Massa won a combined 11 races in his first three seasons with Ferrari. Next year will be his eighth season with the team.
Lead Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso is currently in a tight championship battle with Red Bull rival Sebastian Vettel, who hasn’t hid his desire to drive for Ferrari one day.
Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo addressed the Vettel situation on Monday.
“I don’t want to have two roosters in the same henhouse,” Montezemolo said. “[I prefer] two drivers who race for Ferrari and not for themselves. I don’t want problems and rivalries, which we didn’t have between [Michael] Schumacher and [Eddie] Irvine, between Schumacher and [Rubens] Barrichello, between Alonso and Massa or Massa and Schumi or Massa and [Kimi] Raikkonen.”