Friday, October 22, 2010

Felipe Massa says he will stay at Ferrari for 2011

Felipe Massa has rejected claims he may leave Ferrari at the end of the season

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has demanded the Brazilian improve his performances to help team-mate Fernando Alonso's title challenge.

But Massa insisted his relationship with Ferrari was "still very great" and dismissed questions about his future.

"Every year it's the same," he said. "It doesn't change anything. It's never a problem for me. I'm still here and preparing everything for next year."

Rumours about Massa's future began to emerge after July's German Grand Prix, when Ferrari caused controversy by asking Massa to cede position to Fernando Alonso so the Spaniard could take the victory.

Unsettled by the fall-out from the incident - for which Ferrari were fined $100,000 (£65,100) - the 29-year-old Brazilian was linked with moves to Renault and his former Sauber team.

But team principal Stefano Domenicali told BBC Sport at the Japanese Grand Prix two weeks ago that he could "absolutely" confirm Massa would stay as Alonso's partner in 2011, and that reports to the contrary were "categorically wrong".

And now Massa, who was also talking in an exclusive BBC Sport interview, has now put a stop to the speculation, saying he has had to get used to his position being undermined ever since he joined Ferrari in 2006.

"At the beginning of the 2006 season, I remember [six-time Moto GP champion] Valentino Rossi was already signed for 2007," Massa said.

"Every year people were coming in my place. Alonso has raced for three years already in my seat, Sebastian Vettel came for my position and Rossi again.

"So, it's no problem. Every year is the same and I'm still here."

Massa, who briefly led the championship after the Malaysia Grand Prix in April, has found himself under increased pressure this season.

Alonso, who joined the team over the winter, has outpaced him all season and Massa has now accepted a supporting role to Alonso's bid for a third world title.

But Massa has a close relationship with Ferrari - a bond that intensified after his near-fatal accept in qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix - and he says that has not been unaffected by his tribulations this season.

"I always know what I want," Massa added. "The team always know what I want and that's important for me.

"But the year was not very fantastic in terms of results and little issues that I had.

"I'm not happy because I could not achieve what I want or what I can achieve.

"We still have three races left and I hope I can get a great result and be down in the front while preparing everything for next year as well."

Massa added ahead of the Korean Grand Prix that he would do all he could to support Alonso's championship push as the Spaniard aims to close a 14-point gap on leader Mark Webber of Red Bull.

"My interest is the best for the team," he said. "That is why the team is still fighting for the championship with Alonso.

"My interest definitely is to try and give the best for the team."

An exclusive interview with Felipe Massa will be run during BBC One's programme at the Brazilian Grand Prix which begins with first practice on 5 November.

Source: BBC Sport

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