Felipe Massa signs new Ferrari contract but Sebastian Vettel speculation persists

 

Felipe Massa has signed an extended contract to drive for Ferrari for the 2013 season, although speculation remains that Sebastian Vettel will join the Italian side the following year.

Massa has been under pressure ever since returning from a serious injury he sustained at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009. Red Bull's Mark Webber was reportedly in talks to replace him before opting to stay at Red Bull while Force India's Nico Hulkenberg had been linked with the Brazilian's seat.

Earlier this week, the BBC claimed reigning world champion Vettel will usurp the 31-year-old Brazilian in 2014. That remains a possibility despite today's announcement that Massa will partner Fernando Alonso next season.

A short statement from Ferrari read: "Scuderia Ferrari announces it has renewed its contract with the driver Felipe Massa to the end of the 2013 race season.

"The Scuderia's driver line-up for next year is therefore made up of Fernando Alonso and the aforementioned Felipe Massa."

There was no mention of the Italian outfit's intentions beyond next season.

Following the reports that Vettel would leave Red Bull, the reigning constructors champions said: "The BBC article is factually incorrect. Sebastian will be with the team in 2014."

Ferrari have also distanced themselves from the report, as well as claims that Red Bull designer Adrian Newey could also join them.

Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo was quoted as saying: "Today the problem is not with drivers. 2013 is still to come but I don't want to have two roosters in the same henhouse, rather two drivers who race for Ferrari and not for themselves," he said.

"I don't want problems and rivalries, which we didn't have between [Michael] Schumacher and [Eddie] Irvine, between Schumacher and [Rubens] Barrichello, between [Fernando] Alonso and Massa or Massa and Schumi or Massa and [Kimi] Raikkonen. As for Newey, I can say that he is very good at his job but we also managed to win eight constructors' titles in the last 13 championships without him: I have huge faith in our own engineers."

After the Korean Grand Prix, and before today's announcement, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali indicated that Massa would remain next season.

"I am very happy [with Felipe]. He did an excellent race and qualifying, but he has done an excellent job over the last couple of races and this is very promising for the end of the season," he said.

"I think he is understanding the car better, understanding the tyres better.

"Felipe we believe is a very strong driver, otherwise we would already have taken a different decision [for 2013], and now Felipe has the understanding of the car and the tyres under his control, he is performing at the level he should."

Massa endured a dreadful start to the season, collecting just 11 points from the first eight races. However, since the British Grand Prix, Massa has only finished out of the points once in the subsequent eight races to claw his way up to ninth in the drivers' championship with four races of the season left.

The Brazilian, who narrowly missed out on the world title to Lewis Hamilton in 2008, is delighted to be continuing his Ferrari career.

"Ferrari is my sports family. First, I want to thank President Montezemolo and (team principal) Stefano Domenicali, who gave me confidence which I have always maintained, even in the most difficult moments.

"Both the team and the fans can be assured I will do all that is in my power to help the Scuderia to achieve the goals that arise every year."

Domenicali said: "We are pleased to have extended our relationship with Felipe for another year.

"He has shown, especially in the latter part of the season, to be competitive at the highest level, as we expect from every driver behind the wheel of a Ferrari.

"We have always supported Felipe, even in the most difficult moments of his career. We are confident of its value, and that he will repay the trust that has been renewed."

Alonso also declared his delight at the news: "I am so happy to continue another year with Felipe1Massa as a teammate! I'm sure we are the best team! #ForzaFerrari," he wrote on Twitter.

Seemingly in response to the Vettel speculation, Alonso added: "After 8 different teammates.. Felipe staying is another example of what I always say; Do not believe anything you read, unless it's official."

Ferrari moved above McLaren in the constructors' world championship on Sunday and trail Red Bull by 77 points.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal
football
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own