And, yes, as has been pointed out, Ferrari has broken such contracts in the past. Still, the team has sent out an e-mail today touting the contract, and Massa too is talking it up in his pre-Canada blog post:
As you have possibly heard already, I will be racing for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro until the end of the 2012 season. I am delighted that we have reached this agreement, as I really feel as though everyone in Maranello is part of my other family, with our relationship going much further than just a working partnership. From a purely professional point of view it is great to know what I am doing so early on in the current season, which means I can now concentrate a hundred percent on the rest of this yearâ€™s races.
I have arrived in Montreal, ready for this weekendâ€™s Grand Prix and I have to say itâ€™s nice to be back after Formula 1â€™s year away, because this is one of the nicest raceâ€™s of the year, with the whole city making all of us feel very welcome. After the race in Istanbul, I went back home to spend a few days in Sao Paolo and I have taken a few days to get here, as I had to attend some events for Ferrari team partners along the way. Thanks to Shell, I made my first ever visit to an off-shore oil rig, just over a hundred kilometres away from the Brazilian coast line. It was a very interesting experience and it was incredible to see how complicated is the extraction process and management of the crude oil on the platform. When I was at the control desk, it reminded me of looking at the telemetry from our cars when we are on track: every parameter can be studied in real time 24 hours a day. Here too, teamwork is the key and each individual has to work in harmony with everyone else to get the job done as well as possible. They are together almost all the time for at least two weeks at a time and itâ€™s vital that every member of the group feels responsible for what they do and is ready to help those around them. Itâ€™s the very same in a Formula 1 team. Instead of flying north to Canada after this unusual day, I had another stop over to make, this time in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, for a promotional appearance with our partner Philip Morris and from there, I finally took another long flight to Montreal.
Even though I like the circuit here, with the challenge of running in low downforce configuration on a narrow track that is an unusual mix of a race track and street circuit, I have not had much luck in Canada. In fact, my best result dates back to my final year with Sauber in 2005, when I finished fourth. The last two races here were particularly tough for me: in 2007, I was penalised for leaving pit lane when the red light was on and the last time we were here, in 2008, there was a problem with the refuelling at my pit stop, which cost me at least a podium finish, but my car was really working well and I managed to move up from the back of the pack to finish fifth at the flag. This year, I hope we have a better time and that should be possible, because I expect our F10 to be more competitive than in Turkey. A good race should be on the cards, as the track has some similarities to Melbourne and Sakhir, where we were front runners. But as usual, we wonâ€™t really know where we stand until the end of Fridayâ€™s two practice sessions.
Honestly, I’m not hearing Ferrari touted too much for this race, although there’s a little chatter. It’s mostly focused on McLaren, however.
My guess would be the team will finish in those mid-points spots that largely have defined its season, maybe in the Monaco range and better than at Turkey.
I will be interested to see how Massa does in this first race after securing his near-term future. Do you think it will help him — a calmer, better drive — or hurt — he’s got less to prove?