Stefano Domenicali has expressed a desire to retain Felipe Massa for yet another season at Ferrari, despite rumours once again resurfacing surrounding the Brazilian’s future at the Scuderia. Felipe Massa has yet to return to his winning says since 2008, but has finished consistently within the points so far this season.
With the driver market in Formula 1 continuing to dominate the headlines with the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg all rumored to be on the move during the winter break, Stefano Domenicali has spoken out in defense of Felipe Massa. The Brazilian ace has had a shadow once again cast over his future with the Scuderia, as he struggles to match the pace of his Spanish team-mate. Despite a recent run of uncompetitiveness for the 32-year-old, which included incidences at both the Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix, he has managed to secure Ferrari’s best qualifying result of the season and has also finished on the podium at the Spanish Grand Prix.
However, with Ferrari always aiming for the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championship crowns, victory on a regular basis is imperative for a Ferrari driver. Fernando Alonso has already secured two race victories and four podium finishes so far this season, which has enabled the two-time Champion to head to Ferrari’s home race at Monza 2nd in the Championship behind the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. Although Alonso has managed to clearly overshadow is team-mate since joining the team in 2010, Stefano Domenicali has insisted his team will not rush their 2014 line-up.
“We have no rush in taking a decision. There are plenty of opportunities,” explained Stefano Domenicali, in an interview with Formula1.com. “Don’t forget, everybody wants to drive for Ferrari. We have to wait and see. My favourite choice would be, of course, to keep Felipe [Massa] because Felipe is a very good guy – very dedicated to the team – and when you look around there are not so many drivers out there that you swap and they immediately deliver. But, of course, we need good results from Felipe, so that’s why we will not rush as we have to make the right decision for the team. As soon as we have made up our minds we will announce it officially to silence the rumours once and for all.”
With the Formula 1 fraternity now preparing to head to Italy for the final European race of the season, many teams up and down the paddock are preparing to switch their focus to the development of their 2014 machines. With such a change in the technical side for the new season, Stefano Domenicali will not be surprised if there is a shake-up in the pecking order come the new season. For Ferrari, work will truly begin on their 2014 car in September, depending on whether they remain true Championship contenders this year when the sport returns to Asia. For the remainder of the season Ferrari’s main aim is to offer their drivers with a competitive car, in the hope of taking the fight with Sebastian Vettel to the end of the season.
“September is the month where we will basically start to shift, as the 2014 project is very complex.” Continued Stefano Domenicali, “At the end of September we will then basically switch everyone, depending, of course, on how the situation is with the Championship.”
Ferrari’s last taste of Championship success was way back in 2008, when the team won the Constructors’ Championship despite Lewis Hamilton securing the Drivers’ Crown for McLaren. During that season Felipe Massa won six races for the Scuderia, an amount which has yet to be surpassed. With the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg linked to the outfit for next season, Felipe Massa will once again be heading into the latter half of the season with a large question mark over his continuation with Ferrari. Stefano Domenicali may seem keen to retain him, but it’s unquestionable that his results will need to improve to warrant his continuation as a Ferrari driver.
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