Ferrari pilot Filipe Massa has ended speculation that he might be replaced by either Red Bull’s Mark Webber or Renault’s Robert Kubica by signing a two-year extension to his current deal. Massa’s new contract will see him continue with the Scuderia through the end of the 2012 season.
Speculation that Massa might leave Ferrari had been exacerbated by Massa’s lackluster performance during the opening races of this season. The Brazilian was sidelined last year during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend after he received a head injury from an errant spring that had been launched from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn, who was in front of him during a practice session.
Paddock gossips had suggested that Massa had failed to recapture the form that he’d displayed prior to his crash at Hungary, and therefore was ripe for replacement by the aforementioned drivers who were reputedly seeking higher ground. But both Webber and Kuibca have recently confirmed their commitments to their respective teams at least through 2011, which left few options for Ferrari if they were seriously considering replacing Massa.
In official statement from Massa, he said of his new contract extension, “I am happy to be given the opportunity to drive for Ferrari for a further two season. Throughout my entire Formula 1 career, I have always raced with an engine made in Maranello and it is a matter of pride for me to be able to continue working with a team that I regard as a second family.”
Team principal Stefano Domenicali echoed Massa’s sentiments by saying, “Felipe has been part of Ferrari for almost a decade and together with us, he has grown as a driver and as a man, going through some very difficult times as well as giving us moments of great happiness. We wanted to show proof of stability for the future, believing in the worth of a driver pairing that is without equal in terms of talent, speed and its ability to work together for the good of the team.”