Domenicali: My choice…’keep Felipe’

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As Formula One slides into the second half of the season, it is at this point, back in 2012, that Felipe Massa managed to up his game and secure a 12-month extension on his contract. Many are wondering if the Brazilian can repeat his 2012 performance and gain yet another 12-months as the teammate of Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.

If It were up to team boss Stefano Domenicali, Massa would be the man for the 2014 season as he told F1.com:

“My favourite choice would be, of course, to keep Felipe (Massa) because Felipe is a very good guy – very dedicated to the team – and when you look around there are not so many drivers out there that you swap and they immediately deliver. But, of course, we need good results from Felipe, so that’s why we will not rush as we have to make the right decision for the team. As soon as we have made up our minds we will announce it officially to silence the rumours once and for all. When we are ready”

While Domenicali suggests that there are not a lot of drivers who can jump in a seat and be competitive, he does also admit that there are many options for the seat in 2014:

“We have no rush in taking a decision. There are plenty of opportunities.”

Massa has survived at Ferrari when other, more successful drivers have not. Massa remained at Ferrari when the team forced 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher out in favor of Kimi Raikkonen. The Fin would later win a world title for the team in 2007.

Then in 2010, Massa survived the chopping block again when the team paid Kimi Raikkonen to go away so they could make room for Fernando Alonso. Would the team have fared better with a Schumacher/Raikkonen combination or a Raikkonen/Alonso combination? IF rumors are true, the latter could possibly happen as some suggest the Fin could return to replace Massa in 2014.

Massa has 11 wins, 36 podiums and 771 career points. His first race was in 2002. His teammate, Fernando Alonso, has 32 wins, 92 podiums and 1,515 points while Raikkonen has 20 wins, 75 podiums and 920 career points.

It’s clear that Massa is a team player and very much steeped in the Ferrari culture and milieu. Is that enough to keep a ride? Is it enough to keep a ride even though the team isn’t winning the Constructor’s Championship?

Even if Massa does pick his game up in the second half of the season, is that enough to continue at Ferrari? A duplicate performance in 2014 would once again place the team in difficulty trying to secure the constructor’s title. Every point counts and right now, Alonso has over twice the points as Massa with 151 to 67.

The team is nearly 100 points behind Red Bull for the Constructor’s Championship but second place is just shy of 20-points away and it is worth millions. The team needs every point they can get and Alonso, for now, is the man hauling those points home each race weekend.

At some point Domenicali has to ask himself if Massa is the best option for Ferrari regardless of if he is on song or not. When that day comes, it’s nice to know they have options.

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