Felipe Massa has admitted that he wants to continue racing for Ferrari next season, despite the persistent rumours that the Scuderia may be looking for his replacement after a series of disappointing results.
Although Massa's form has taken an upswing in the past couple of races, he still remains without a podium since late 2010 and, following the life-threatening accident he suffered in Hungary in 2009, has never recaptured the performances that took him to within an ace of the world title the previous season. He remains 13th in this year's championship standings after recording just four points finishes in nine races, but recorded his best result of 2012 with fourth place at Silverstone last time out.
Several drivers have been linked to his seat at Maranello in recent weeks, although Mark Webber took himself off the market by re-signing with Red Bull immediately after winning the British Grand Prix, but Massa insists that he remains focused on doing a sufficiently good job to remain in contention for another season on the Prancing Horse.
“I'm sure it's not just Mark, but a big number of drivers have been in touch, have called Ferrari,” he told journalists in the Hockenheim paddock, “That's because I would say most of the drivers would love to drive for Ferrari!
"It's not a problem for me - all I have to do is think about my job, the direction I am going in and the results I achieve. Ferrari is a great team and it would be nice to stay with them but, whatever the situation, it is always important to get good results on track.
"Once you race for Ferrari, you never want to change: it's an important team and it's always a great pleasure to race for Ferrari. If I didn't feel okay, I would look around at other teams, but I do feel okay here and I feel I can do a lot for this team, so let's work on that. Of course, if you are in a situation where you have a long contract, then that means you have no worries, but it is always going to happen at some point that you are in the last year of your current contract. A driver always has pressure, especially in a big team, but it is part of our life.”
While his own championship ambitions are on hold, Massa knows that he can still play an important part in Ferrari's bid to turning a seemingly uncompetitive pre-season into constructors' title glory. With two races in as many weekends to bring F1 to its summer break, the Brazilian is keen to keep producing.
“These next two races, one week apart before the summer break, are going to be very important, especially when you look at the current situation in the championship,” he stressed, “It is so competitive between many drivers and many teams, which means that one result carries a lot of importance. So, we must keep fighting to get good results in these next two races, as this could be a championship where just one point can make the difference when it comes to winning the title at the end of the year.
"In fact, every race from now to the end of the season will be very important and, if you want to be successful, you need to have both
cars scoring points all