Montezemolo: Massa needs to prove himself

Felipe Massa has not had the best of seasons in 2011

Felipe Massa has not had the best of seasons in 2011

Nov.23 (Reuters) Felipe Massa, looking forward to his 100th Formula 1 race for Ferrari, knows he will have to raise his game to stay with the team after next season.

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.  Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday 9 September 2011.

Felipe under pressure

The Brazilian, twice a winner of his home grand prix at Interlagos and championship runner-up in 2008, has not stood on the podium this year and is sixth in a championship won by Red Bull‘s Sebastian Vettel.

“I have a contract with Ferrari until (the end of) next year and this is not the only moment (in my career) that I have to do a good job to renew,” Massa told reporters at a mall appearance in Sao Paulo on Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s season-ending race.

“Other times it has happened. I need a good year to continue,” he added.

Massa, whose position at Ferrari has been under constant speculation almost since he arrived as a race driver in 2006, has already received a veiled warning from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

“We expect great things from him in 2012 and then decide how to proceed. Let’s say he needs to prove himself next season,” he told Italian media this week.

Luca di Montezemolo with Felipe Massa

Luca di Montezemolo with Felipe

Massa said he also hoped to have a more competitive car.

“It was not a very good year, it was not an easy year,” said the 30-year-old whose team mate Fernando Alonso is third overall and won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The Spanish double world champion has 245 points to Massa’s 108 with 25 still to be won.

“To have a competitive car…the work is not only now but a few months ago. We wish to have a car more competitive so that we can play for the championship from the beginning to the end and not just some races,” said Massa.

“Although my year was not good, I rely on the strength of the fans, as always…the excitement is always high when I go home,” said Massa, winner in Brazil in 2006 and 2008.

  • Evel

    I like Massa but I think he has occupied himself so much with making excuses why he cannot perform, whereas he needs to just buckle down, stop this petty fighting with Hamilton and really focus on his performance, especially seeing as though he’s paired with a driver like Alonso.
    His little run in with Hamilton did his reputation no good and he needs to now put in some impressive, faultless performances.
    After all it’s a seat at Ferrari and his career he’s fighting for.

  • Edman

    I’m just surprised that Webber hasn’t come under as much scrutiny as Massa.
    Webber’s performances, in what is the fastest car, have been underwhelming to say the least.
    He hasn’t won a single race ….. not a single race!!!! in the RB7??!!!!!
    Never mind Alonso and Massa, the real whipping of one team mate by another is going on over at Red Bull!!!
    Sulky Webber deserves his seat even less than Massa, far, far less!!!!!!
    Vergne supposedly said that he could do no worse than to match Webber and I believe him!
    And talking about making excuses! – if there was a championship for making excuses and whinging, Webber would have walked away with it multiple times.
    He blew his only chance at ever winning a WDC in 2010 when he injured his shoulder mountain biking (what a fool) and this year he’s really gone downhill, not that he was ever terribly far up the hill in the first place.
    I remember when Vettel went into the back of him in 2007, what a performance he made.Really nasty, uncalled for comments and language about Vettel.
    I’m so glad Vettel is walking all over him now.
    Horner is always talking about Webber’s motivation, which I can’t understand.
    He has the best car of the field and the chance of a lifetime, yet he’s not motivated?
    Sulky, miserable bastard. Please Horner kick him out and get someone that can actually bring a bit of the fight to Vettel.
    With a decent team mate, winning the WDC won’t be such a walk in the park for Vettel.

  • Butterfly

    Ferrari may say they want Massa to up his game, but they’re not going to find a better driver than Felipe in 2013. If the car is good, Alonso will bring in both titles. There’s no point in throwing him out.

  • Sennauno

    @ Edman

    All in all I agree with the majority of what you said but as ive said in the past either A) Webber drove above himself in 2010 or B) RB7 was a shoe in for Vettel

    I’d take a punt on A…although I do think its a little strange that Webber always gets the bad starts…arent their starting/traction systems supposed to be the same? why does Webber always go backwards at the start of races whilst Vettel never loses a place?

    Vergne said he could do no worse than Webber…judging the year Webber has had, dont think Vergne’s statement has much merit…half the grid would have done ‘no worse’ I say

  • GrandPrix Fanatic

    @ Sennauno

    I believe both A & B is the reason. Last year the car maybe designed for both of them to fight. But for this year, I think the car was surrounded with engineers and designers with Vettel on the cockpit. I’m not saying that is wrong because they achieve their goals with flying colors…

    But hopefully Webber should be given the last chance of a lifetime next season because he is old and Vettel is still so young…

    As for Massa I don’t believe that he still has a few tenths in him. But as always at ferrari there is always number 1 and number 4…