Felipe Massa has reflected that he is now a far more complete driver than the one he used to be in F1 – and revealed his desire to continue competing in the top flight 'for many years to come'.
Massa might be well out of the title fight as F1 2011 enters its final 'flyaway' home straight, and he might have been comprehensively outperformed by Ferrari team-mate and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso for the second season in succession – currently languishing a gaping 90 points adrift of the Spaniard in the standings – but he insists he is fully intent on prolonging his career on the grand prix grid for some time yet.
The Brazilian's seat at the Scuderia
has been the subject of continuous speculation for several years, but Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has assured that Massa will remain at Maranello for 2012 – his seventh consecutive campaign there. Despite his distinctly patchy form over the past two seasons, the 2008 F1 World Championship runner-up is adamant that he is a stronger competitor now than he used to be.
“Felipe now, compared to Felipe then?” he mused of his fast-approaching decade in F1. “I am much more experienced, which is important. The early Felipe always wanted to be quickest on every lap, whereas experience teaches you to know when to push and when it's better to conserve the car and save the tyres. I don't know about doing another ten years, but I hope to continue for many years to come.”