Daily Archives: June 9, 2010

Massa’s Ferrari contract extended until 2012

Felipe Massa will continue to drive for Ferrari until the end of the 2012 season

Felipe Massa will continue to drive for Ferrari until the end of the 2012 season

Felipe Massa’s contract with the Ferrari team has been extended until the 2012 season. In an announcement today, the Brazilian said that he is able to continue racing with his “second family”. This is despite him being out-performed in many races this year by team-mate Fernando Alonso.

Felipe spoke today about his new deal with Ferrari:

"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."

Also, team principal Stefano Domenicali added:

"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."

While this isn’t totally unexpected, I’m a little bit surprised by this news. Felipe has been beaten by Fernando 4 times out of 7 races so far this year, and it would have been more if it wasn’t for Fernando’s crash in Monaco, Massa holding him up in Australia, and Alonso’s engine failure in Malaysia.

With Ferrari having an unchanged line-up for the next 2 years, McLaren not going to change drivers any time soon, and Renault and Mercedes looking solid as well, this means that there will be very little driver transfers for next season. More on this later.

Di Montezemolo blasts new teams (again) in latest rant

Luca di Montezemolo, president of Ferrari

Luca di Montezemolo, president of Ferrari

Once again, Lucas di Montezemolo, the boss of Ferrari, has blasted Formula 1’s new teams, calling them “a joke”. In an interview with Autocar, he also expressed his will for 3-car teams, the return of in-season testing, and changes to the layout of a Grand Prix race.

Regarding the new teams, he said:

"There is a need to have competitive teams. F1 is like soccer. It
needs heroes and it needs big teams. You cannot equalize everything.
We need to avoid having too many small teams as it means too many
compromises."

Luca has made these sort of statements before, but since then, the new teams have made good progress to catch up, and are now only about a second behind the midfield. Why he finds the need to attack them when they have done nothing wrong, I don’t know.
He also suggested revisons to Formula 1, such as introducing 3-car teams (yet again) and bringing back in-season testing:

3-car teams: "Giving this car to a good young driver or Valentino
Rossi would be better than a team being four seconds behind."
Changes to race weekends: "Do we need to race at two in the
afternoon when everyone is at the sea. Could we have two races per
meeting? Do races need to last so long? F1 is not an endurance
race. We need races to be short and tough."
In-season testing: "F1 is the only sport in the world where there
is no training."

We all know by now that Di Montezemolo wants the intorduction of 3-car teams, as he has said it many times before. However, FOTA have never really discussed it, and few people are in favour of it, so I can’t see it happening.

The in-season testing ban has really hurt Ferrari, as they now cannot use their Mugello circit for most of the year. I would be in favour of reintroducing testing, but only when given to young drivers at specific points across the year. But, what he says about F1 testing is wrong, in my opinion. There is time for training in Formula 1, and it’s called Friday Practice.

I have said in the past that I’m not in favour of Di Montezemolo’s suggestions, and this time it’s (mostly) no different. Also, I think it’s disgraceful that he can attack the new teams like he did. Ferrari have never started off as a new team in a developed grid like Lotus, Virgin and HRT have, and these teams have done great work in increasing their pace and improving reliability. Luca should learn this, and actually respect the teams that will be racing him in a few years time.

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