Felipe Massa has Ferrari’s full support in spite of the Brazilian’s recent run of disappointing results, according to team boss Stefano Domenicali.
After a promising start to the season, Massa has scored just 12 points in the last four grands prix, having been involved in several incidents. The Brazilian retired from the German Grand Prix on Sunday after spinning when he was running in sixth place four laps into the race. Domenicali insists, however that Ferrari is still 100 percent behind its driver.
“For sure,” Domenicali said when asked if the team was still backing Massa. “I always said that we have a lot of confidence in Felipe.
“I know this is a very critical, very tough moment because he is the first to be disappointed. The only thing to do is to stay always behind him and work hard with him because we need him to make sure we are fighting for the constructors’ and the others are very close. He will feel that the team is close to him at 100 percent.”
Massa, whose contract with Ferrari runs out this year, said earlier this month that he was optimistic of securing a new deal.
“I am confident I will be here [in Formula 1],” said Massa. “I think I have a good chance to stay at Ferrari, so we wait and see. I think I will just concentrate on the races, because the result is what counts for me.”
Massa is 100 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel and 66 behind team-mate Fernando Alonso.
OPINION: Slipping backward
Pablo Elizalde, @EliGP
Felipe Massa seems to be doing the opposite of what he did last year.
Early in 2012, the Brazilian was under fire for his lack of competitiveness in comparison with teammate Fernando Alonso, but after the August break Massa rediscovered his form and became a factor once more, thus securing a new contract with Ferrari.
Massa kept his momentum going at the start of 2013, and it was not until the Chinese Grand Prix that Alonso started a race ahead of the Brazilian. Although his race performances were not quite on par with Alonso’s, Massa looked like a solid driver Ferrari could count on to stay in the constructors’ championship fight.
Since Monaco, however, Massa’s season has taken a turn for the worse. He crashed twice in Monte Carlo, and that was followed by accidents in Canada, Britain and a costly spin in Germany.
While his pace has not been something to be particularly worried about, Ferrari still needs results from Massa to stay in the championship fight and, with his contract up for renewal, he will do himself a big favor if he can rediscover the consistency that secured him a new deal last year.
If he can’t do that, however, the questions marks hanging over his future will be even bigger than last year.