Fernando Alonso says he expects Felipe Massa to be stronger in 2013 to aid Ferrari in the F1 title race.
While Alonso picked up 278 points to finish second in the championship last year, Massa could only manage 122 – with most of those coming in the coming in the second half of the year.
Massa has already vowed to improve this year while Ferrari insists it was the right decision to retain the Brazilian despite his struggles in the early part of 2012 – with Alonso confident that his long-time partner would be on form during the year ahead.
“I have always said that Felipe was one of the best drivers around and I still remember that some people smiled when I said this last year,” he said. “He and I have always helped one another, day by day and I expect him to always be very close to me in terms of performance.
“What was not normal was the difference between us over the past two years, but now I don't think that will be the case. That will be a very positive factor for me and especially for the team.”
Alonso also said that Ferrari would benefit from the arrival of Pedro de la Rosa, who will lend his experience to the team with work on the simulator away from the circuit.
“When there are new arrivals in high level teams, it is always important,” he said. “Pedro will work mainly on the simulator, an area where we were not at the same level as the best and his experience will be useful.
“Having said that, it's not the case that a new driver can change things or can do it in the simulator: there are and there will be further and more significant new arrivals that can make the team grow.”