Earlier this year it seemed impossible to think that Felipe Massa would be at Ferrari next year. Now, though, his regained his form, notably with a second place at the Japanese Grand Prix, has earned him a one year extension, which gives him job security for 2013. As for 2014, well, not so much, we think.
Massa’s news was confirmed through this short statement from Ferrari:
Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its contract with the driver Felipe Massa to the end of the 2013 race season.
The Scuderia’s driver line-up for next year is therefore made up of Fernando Alonso and the aforementioned Felipe Massa.
Felipe managed to show a bit more emotion:
“I am very happy to have reached this agreement. Ferrari is my racing family and throughout my entire time in Formula 1, I have always driven cars powered by engines built in Maranello: I can’t see myself driving cars propelled by anything else!
“First and foremost, I want to thank President Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali, who had faith in me and who have always supported me, even at the most difficult moments. 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.”
Massa: “I am very happy, Ferrari is my racing family
Maranello, 16 October – The announcement should have been made next week, but then the two parties involved decided it was time to take the bull by the horns (no pun intended) and do it now: Felipe Massa will stay at Ferrari, at least until the end of 2013.
President Luca di Montezemolo met the Brazilian driver in Maranello this morning, Felipe having come here straight from Korea yesterday. It was a very friendly meeting, in which Montezemolo congratulated Felipe for the great performances he has produced recently, especially in the Far East.
Obviously, it did not take long to reach an agreement over renewing the contract: Ferrari knows Felipe from when he was little more than a boy and he has grown as a driver in Maranello, to the extent that he is beginning to be one of the “old boys” among the team at the track.
“I am very happy to have reached this agreement,” commented the Brazilian. “Ferrari is my racing family and throughout my entire time in Formula 1, I have always driven cars powered by engines built in Maranello: I can’t see myself driving cars propelled by anything else! First and foremost, I want to thank President Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali, who had faith in me and who have always supported me, even at the most difficult moments. 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 satisfaction is also clear from the comments of Stefano Domenicali, who on Sunday at the Yeongam circuit already lets slip that things were heading towards a confirmation. “We are pleased to have extended our relationship with Felipe for a further year,” declared the Team Principal. “He has been part of our family for over a decade and has shown, expecially 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.”
Now that Massa’s situation has been cleared up, maybe speculation surrounding Ferrari drivers will calm down for a few days, but that’s probably a vain hope: the rumour mill works round the clock, manned by people who, having said one thing and then the complete opposite, can congratulate themselves on having got it just right. Indeed, this was one of the reasons that pushed Montezemolo and Massa to decide on announcing the renewal today, to put an end to all the speculation.
One thing is certain: having finalised the 2013 driver line-up every single drop of energy can now be concentrated on preparing for the final four races of this still very open 2012 World Championship.
Everything is still possible and the men and women of the Scuderia are perfectly aware of that: everyone, starting with Fernando and Felipe, wants just one thing, to bring the world title back to Maranello.