Ferrari has a one-year extension to Felipe Massa’s contract, giving the Brazilian another year in which to prove that he deserves a future with a top-flight F1 team.
The deal seemed all but confirmed, according to comments attributed to Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali following Massa’s strong drive to fourth place at last weekend’s Korean Grand Prix.
Massa’s future has been on shaky ground for some time on the back of two very poor seasons with the Italian team, in which he failed to score a podium for almost two years until he finally broke his duck with a third-placed finish in Japan.
More recently, Massa has shown a considerable turnaround in form and started to deliver some solid points finishes for the team as it aims to cement second position in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
It was this improvement, Ferrari states, that has demanded Massa be re-signed with the team, with whom he started racing in 2006 and has managed to claim eleven Grand Prix victories, as well as finish runner-up to Lewis Hamilton in the 2008 championship season.
“He has been part of our family for more than 10 years and he has demonstrated, especially in this last part of the season, to be again competitive at the maximum levels, as is expected of every driver at the wheel of a Ferrari.
“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.”
More Massa, the relief was no doubt apparent.
“I’m extremely happy with this agreement,” he said.
“The team and every fan can be certain that I will do everything within my possibilities to help the Scuderia in reaching the goals it sets for itself every year.”
The one-year deal is a smart move by Ferrari, giving it a useful window in which to approach several frontline drivers who will be off-contract at the end of the 2013 season, including the likes of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.