Felipe Massa's return to form may have already secured the Brazilian another year in the Ferrari line-up in 2014.
Although results of fourth, fifth and sixth from the opening three grands prix have yet to deliver a podium, Massa has already qualified on the front row, in Malaysia, and headed team-mate Fernando Alonso in the standings prior to the Spaniard's victory in China last weekend. He remains fourth overall ahead of Sunday's Bahrain race.
Speculation that Massa will remain at Maranello was sparked by Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali suggesting that protégé Jules Bianchi could have a future with the Prancing Horse, but not before 2015 at the earliest.
Asked whether Ferrari was ready to take a chance on the 23-year old Frenchman, who has impressed on his three outings with Marussia this season, Domenicali told RMC Sport
that he could see Bianchi being a target for bigger teams at the end of the year.
“I think he has a bright future in F1,” Domenicali said of the Ferrari Academy prospect, “I am very happy because Jules has done three perfect races and I hope he keeps going like that. I don't know about [him being a Ferrari driver] next year but, in the future, yes of course.”
Massa's current deal sees him through to the end of 2013, while Alonso is on a multi-year contract that many expect to see the Spaniard retire as a Ferrari driver.