Ferrari has revealed that Felipe Massa will run with a new chassis during the second round of the F1 season this weekend in Malaysia.
The Brazilian endured a tough weekend in Australia, qualifying down in 16th place and then being forced to retire from the race late on while running outside the points after a clash with countryman Bruno Senna.
Ferrari has struggled during pre-season running with its new F2012, although Fernando Alonso recovered from a spin into the gravel in qualifying to bring his car home to the finish in fifth place at Albert Park.
However, the team is preparing a fresh chassis for Massa to use at Sepang in order to try and help the Brazilian bounce back from his difficult start to the year as he seeks to score for the first time in 2012.
“Felipe has certainly been the target of criticism after the race in Albert Park,” a statement on the Ferrari website read. “But the Brazilian driver is used to this situation and remembers well 2008 when after two races – Australia and Malaysia – he had a zero in the points column and many of the media were calling for him to be fired on the spot. Many of those commentators had to change their minds given that only a few exceptional circumstances – from the piston in Budapest to the pit stop in Singapore to cite the most striking examples – denied him the world championship.
“Felipe knows he can count on the team to do everything, both from the technical and the operational point of view, to put him in a better state to show off his talents – even at the cost of extra work in these few days that separate the Australian race from the one in Malaysia. For example work has already begun in the Sepang pits to prepare chassis number 294, which replaces the number 293 and will be used by the Brazilian in the second race of the season.
“This choice was taken to clear up any doubts about the unusual performance of his car during the weekend at Albert Park.”