x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Ferrari hope Felipe Massa will repay faith in F1 driver

Brazilian will continue with Italian outfit for at least a year more.

Felipe Massa, the Ferrari driver, has had better fortune on a Formula One track in recent months. Mark Baker / AP Photo
Felipe Massa, the Ferrari driver, has had better fortune on a Formula One track in recent months. Mark Baker / AP Photo

It was an announcement that had grown so inevitable it warranted only 41 words.

Ferrari confirmed today by way of a short, sharp statement that Felipe Massa will remain with the Italian manufacturers for the 2013 season after signing a one-year contract extension.

The Brazilian has endured a disappointing past two seasons and saw his race seat come under increasing scrutiny this year after he collected just 11 points from the opening eight grands prix.

Yet in recent months his performances have improved and he secured his first podium in two years earlier this month in Japan.

The 31 year old followed it up with a fourth-place finish in South Korea last weekend.

Ferrari confirmed Massa's renewed deal will keep him in Maranello until "the end of the 2013 race season".

The former Sauber driver later added he is "extremely happy with this agreement".

"Ferrari is my sporting family and I've always raced in Formula One with engines built in Maranello.

"I can't see myself at the wheel of a single-seater powered by other engines."

Stefano Domenicali, the Ferrari team principal, said he was convinced Massa would repay the faith the Italian marque were putting in a driver who has managed just six podiums in 54 races since the arrival of his teammate Fernando Alonso in 2010.

"We have always supported Felipe, even during the most difficult moments of his career, and we are certain of his worth and that he will be able to repay the faith that has again been put on him," he said.

While the announcement will settle Massa's nerves, it will do little to quell speculation of a Ferrari plan to sign the reigning two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull for 2014.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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