Felipe Massa insists that he will not be distracted by speculation linking Robert Kubica to his seat at Ferrari next season, preferring to concentrate on extending his Formula One world championship lead in China this weekend.
The Brazilian holds a tenuous two-point advantage over Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso after three races but, unlike the Spaniard, has yet to win a race in 2010, and the paddock rumour mill has ground into action early after Kubica hauled the Renault R30 into top four positions in both Australia and Malaysia. The Pole was rated as a future Ferrari target shortly after arriving in F1 with BMW Sauber but, after a disappointing 2009 campaign - and with Alonso already heading for Maranello - he wound up at Renault this season.
Massa is currently in the final year of his contract with the Scuderia, and his position had been rumoured to be under threat for 2010 following his life-threatening accident in Hungary last July. Instead, it was team-mate Kimi Raikkonen - who also had a year left on his deal - who made way for Alonso, but the Spaniard's pace has now cast further doubt on Massa's continued relationship with the Prancing Horse, which began with a testing contract in 2003 and included a narrow title miss in 2008.
"I am very happy with my condition and the way we are working," the Brazilian claimed when pressed on the subject by journalists in Shanghai, "Even before my accident last year, some talks started over a new contract - and the talks have started again.
"However, I'm not really in a rush to [agree a new deal]. I'm in a rush to do better racing and to fight for the championship - that is more on my mind and the contract is something that I'm not in the rush for at the moment."
Kubica also avoided the matter, claiming that he too was keen to focus on the matter at hand.
"There were rumours last year about Ferrari and rumours this year," he pointed out, "Up to now, the rumours have only been rumours. It's too early to discuss. I don't think for any seconds or any minutes about next year."
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was unwilling to discuss the driver situation when questioned by journalists at the marque's new 599 GTO.
“Let's not start with talking about contracts,” he told the Italian media, “This world championship has just started, I am very happy with Felipe, from his total recovery from the incident of last year to now leading the championship. And I am very happy with Alonso, on the track, off the track, with his determination, optimism and high concentration. I am very, very happy with both of them, and I hope to see on Sunday a Ferrari that is highly competitive, although there will be a close fight.”