Breaking: Ferrari signs Massa through 2012

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Take another spot off the Silly Season wall: Ferrari has signed Felipe Massa through the end of 2012.

The team made the announcement today:

Maranello, 9 June – Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro announces that it has extended its contract with Felipe Massa, who will now drive for the team until the end of the 2012 racing season.

Felipe has been with the Scuderia since 2001. To date, he has competed in 69 Grands Prix for the team: he has taken eleven wins, 30 podium placings, 51 points finishes, fifteen pole positions and twelve fastest race laps, scoring a total of 360 championship points.

“I am happy to be given the opportunity to drive for Ferrari for a further two seasons,” said Felipe. “Throughout my entire Formula 1 career, I have always raced with an engine made in Maranello and it is a matter of pride for me to be able to continue working with a team that I regard as a second family.”

“Felipe has been part of Ferrari for almost a decade and together with us, he has grown as a driver and as a man, going through some very difficult times as well as giving us moments of great happiness,” commented Stefano Domenicali. “We wanted to show proof of stability for the future, believing in the worth of a driver pairing that is without equal in terms of talent, speed and its ability to work together for the good of the team.”

If you look at his results, it seems pretty solid. A win in more than one out of every seven races. Points in more than five of seven.

At F1B, we tend to value a team’s having a consistent set of drivers and engineers and bosses. It enables growth, development and a rightward trajectory. So while Ferrari seems to be a bit down this year (much like last year), having Massa along with Fernando Alonso for the next couple of years seems to be a strong and solid foundation.

Massa does have his detractors. Fairly or not, he has a reputation for not being the best driver in the rain. And he’s considered in some circles “too nice” to be a champion one day.

Arguably, he’s just set himself up in the best position to put those questions to rest.

The obvious question is: Do you think this is a good move for both Ferrari and for Massa? Perhaps a less obvious question is: Am I right that this sets Ferrari up to snatch up Sebastian Vettel for the 2013 season?

I guess I also expect to hear Robert Kubica has re-signed with Renault in fairly short order.

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