Ferrari chief warns Felipe Massa

 

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has warned Felipe Massa he will need to prove himself next year if he is to remain with the Scuderia.

Massa will go into 2012 with just one year left on his contract, and with the likelihood he will be replaced unless the Brazilian has an exceptional campaign.

Massa heads into this season's final race on home soil this weekend trailing team-mate Fernando Alonso by 137 points, and without a podium finish to his name compared to the Spaniard's 10.

It is no wonder Di Montezemolo is already piling the pressure on to the 30-yeear-old, who is coming towards the end of his sixth season at Ferrari.

Assessing his drivers, Di Montezemolo said: "We have a contract with Fernando until 2016 and he's the best driver in the world.

"Massa's contract will run for the whole of next season. He's been with us for quite a few years.

"Even if he didn't have such a great season or much luck, we can't question the ability of a driver who was winning the title three years ago, and who has always been fast and competitive.

"Let's hope he can finish the season with a good result in Brazil.

"We expect great things from him in 2012, and then we'll decide how to proceed. Let's say he'll have to prove himself next season."

By Ferrari's high standards it has been another mediocre season, undermined by a poor start with a car that was not up to scratch.

Asked for a mark out of 10 on Italian radio programme La Politica nel Pallone, Di Montezemolo added: "I'd give a five, which I'll raise to six considering the effort and the victory at Silverstone exactly 60 years after Ferrari's first win in F1.

"But the season started badly, we didn't interpret the regulations well and we didn't take risks in the technology of our project.

"Let's hope next year goes well. I have great confidence in our drivers and there seems to have been a clarification as regards the regulations.

"I'm sure we'll have a more competitive car."

PA

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