Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has moved quickly to counter suggestions that Felipe Massa’s seat is under threat from Nico Rosberg for 2012.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was also keen to put an end to the rumours when the pair met the media at a Ferrari event in Mugello today.
Speaking about Massa, Domenicali said: “As for the rumours regarding all the drivers who are due to arrive in Maranello to replace him, I can only repeat my words and indeed those only recently uttered by our President, in every possible way, Felipe will also be with us in 2012 and that should make you understand how much faith we have in him.”
The team boss admitted that returning to Abu Dhabi next weekend – where last year’s title slipped out his hands – will be hard for Fernando Alonso.
“I am sure that, in the next few days, going back to Abu Dhabi will have an effect on Fernando, given what happened there last year, but this negative emotion will be a further incentive for him to turn things around in 2012. I am also counting heavily on Felipe’s will to fight back as he knows next year will be a key one in which, and I’m convinced of it, he will be able to show his true worth.”
Meanwhile he insisted that Ferrari would bounce back after its disappointing 2011 season.
“Clearly, we are not pleased, as we have said so often. In the remaining two races, we want to try and get on the podium and try all we can to get Fernando to second place in the Drivers’ classification.
“Meanwhile, everyone at Maranello is working to produce a car that is competitive right from the start of next season, when, as we are well aware, we can have only one goal, which is victory.
“We started very badly but then, coming into summer, we staged a good recovery which, among other things, saw us take the significant win at Silverstone. Then we had a programme of further development on the car, which should have brought us much closer to the front runners.
“Unfortunately, the updates introduced in Spa did not produce the results we hoped for and so we took a step backwards, partly because by then, we had interrupted the development of the 150 Italia to concentrate all our energies on next year’s car. In the last few races we also tested a few ideas and parts which will be useful in the near future and we will continue to do that in Abu Dhabi and Brazil.”