|© AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
Although Felipe Massa's future at Ferrari still has a question mark, team principal Stefano Domenicali insisted that there was no question regarding the Brazilian's talent.
Massa has been at the centre of speculations which have named several drivers to replace him not just next year but also in the middle of the current season, rumours which eased off after decent performances in the last two races.
"There is a lot of pressure, but I remember well in 2008, when Felipe had problems in the first two races and then fought right to the end for the title," Domenicali said on the Ferrari website. "This year, it’s not that different: after Felipe drove a great race in Monaco, the same journalists who had been criticising him, began to ask me why he did not yet have a contract for next year. One thing is certain: as team principal, I have always encouraged and protected him.”
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone too had faith in Massa.
“The media exert pressure and try to influence decisions, not just in Italy. Some drivers worry a lot less about these things, others more so: Felipe is a sensible lad," Ecclestone said. "It is not very correct of some of the media when you see how they want to destabilise him.”
The 31-year-old Ferrari driver not only qualified in the top ten in the last two Grands Prix but scored valuable points for the team as well.
“Every driver has his own style, the way he turns the steering wheel, or uses the throttle pedal and if you don’t feel comfortable with something then it definitely doesn’t help," Massa explained why he struggled in the first five races where he finished in the points just once.
"You know how it is with Formula 1 and in fact, not just Formula 1 but all sports at the top level, it involves working on the very small details," he pointed out.