Take this however you want: Ferrari previews Japan with Massa

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Ferrari’s big preview of this weekend’s grand prix in Japan is heavy on …

Felipe Massa.

Can you read into that that he is, in fact, leading in the race to … er… replace himself? You judge. The headline is: “Massa: ‘To race without worrying about the future.'” OK, then.

Here’s a bit from Ferrari and then Felipe:

3×2=6 is a very simple mathematical equation, but when you look at those numbers in terms of the final part of the Formula 1 season, it represents a very complex and demanding run of three sets of two races held on consecutive weekends. Each event involves unpacking and repacking everything sent as sea and air freight in as short a time as possible, not to mention the actual sporting challenge of trying to keep developing this year’s cars for those teams involved in the very close battle to win both driver and constructor championships. This final factor means that the men and women back at the factories also face a busy time, albeit without the joys of commercial air travel!

We really need to lobby Ferrari to get whoever does their press pieces to write a book. Working title: “50 Shades of Red.”

OK, Massa now, with the Ferrari lead-in, which tells you everything you need to know about the team’s hierarchy:

Fernando first and Felipe second in 2006: what would that result mean in 2012 to our Brazilian driver? “It would be fantastic of course and also very good for our situation in both championships. Even if it will be tough, this weekend, I would love to be fighting for pole and victory again. Our car can be competitive at Suzuka, because there are plenty of high speed corners which suits the F2012, as can be seen from the fact we were competitive in Silverstone back in the summer and these two tracks have some characteristics in common, in terms of the required levels of downforce and how you set-up the car. In fact, I hope we can be more competitive at all the remaining tracks, as every race now is very important for the team and for Fernando and also for me of course! We all know that we need to work hard in order to be as competitive as possible at every track.” Felipe’s future has been a hot topic for what seems like months now, but there are no signs that the pressure is getting to the Brazilian. “Of course my future is important, but right now it’s the results that are the most important thing, which means I have to concentrate on each race as it comes. I know what I can do, what I can give to the team and what are my talents. The team also knows this, because I’ve been here with them for rather longer than a day or even a year! The best plan is to race without worrying about the future.”

Can’t get much plainer than that, can you? I wonder if Massa has an edge on staying with Ferrari solely because he knows his place and Nico Hulkenberg or Paul di Resta might try to be faster than Fernando Alonso?

And I wonder just how well Ferrari will do this weekend. A bad weekend for the team, and Alonso especially, would really make things interesting.

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