Ferrari hand Felipe Massa new two-year contract
Felipe Massa has signed a two-year contract extension with Ferrari to remain with the Italian team until 2012.
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali had told reporters at the Turkish Grand Prix that the team’s line-up would remain the same in 2011 and today’s announcement finally confirms that.
Massa’s place was the subject of speculation after a poor start to the season alongside Fernando Alonso, with championship leader Mark Webber and Renault’s Robert Kubica linked with a move in 2011.
Massa’s new contract will see his time with the team stretch beyond a decade next season after first signing with the Scuderia in 2001.
He spent one year driving for Sauber before going back to Ferrari as a test driver in 2002. He then moved back to Sauber for two years, finally becoming a Ferrari driver in 2006 alongside Michael Schumacher.
“I am happy to be given the opportunity to drive for Ferrari for a further two seasons,” Massa said in a statement released by Ferrari.
“Throughout my entire Formula One 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.”
The formal announcement from Ferrari comes soon after Red Bull confirmed Webber had signed a new one-year extension to drive for them in 2011. Two of the “big four” teams now confirmed for next year and McLaren are expected to confirm Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will continue for 2011 as well.
“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,” Domenicali said.
“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.”
Ferrari now have both drivers contracted to 2012, all but ending any talk of Vettel switching to them for 2012.