Felipe Massa says he will be able to count on the backing of both Ferrari and Fernando Alonso if required during the 2013 F1 season.
The Brazilian has played second fiddle to the two time champion since he joined the Maranello-based team and goes into the new campaign with something of a point to prove having endured a difficult season in 2012.
Massa will hope to return to the top step of the podium this year and said he knew he could count on the support of team-mate Alonso if he were to find himself in a position where he was heading the team's title challenge.
“I can't imagine a team not wanting two competitive drivers,” he said. “We are fighting for two titles and I am sure the team will help me if it turns out that my situation was the same as the one that meant Fernando was a contender these past years. I remember when Kimi was my team-mate and how much we helped one another from one season to the next. It's the same with Fernando, it's team work, while the harmony between us is a help, as it would be in any job.
“In Australia we start over from zero and it will all depend on my ability and on the way the championship pans out. I hope to get off to the best possible start and my aim is always to carry the Brazilian flag onto the highest step of the podium. This year, I am the only Brazilian in Formula 1 and it was an emotional time on the podium in Interlagos last year, hearing the fans cheering my name: it's a sign of the affection and closeness I feel from my country and that is fundamental for me.”
Massa did admit however that he would only know what to expect from the season ahead when the teams have hit the track for pre-season testing in Spain – when the Scuderia
will see what its rivals have been working on over the winter.
“We must wait and see the new car on track and right from the second test, we will have some indication, but it won't be until Australia that we will know if we have done a good job,” he said. “Vettel is definitely one of our main rivals, but McLaren also finished last year with a very quick car and the stability of the regulations means they too will be contenders. In any case, I am confident in my team and I am sure Ferrari will be in the hunt.”