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Massa to work during F1 break

2012-03-28 08:56

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: Massa will spend his time off working with engineers to figure out why he has been off pace for two years.


MARANELLO, Italy - Ferrari's Felipe Massa ripped up his travel plans and headed for his team's Maranello factory instead of home to Brazil after failing to score any points in the first two races of the 2012 Formula 1 season.

Massa has not stood on the podium since 2010. He finished 15th in Sunday's rain-hit 2012 Malaysian GP which was won by Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso.

He retired from the Australian season-opener the previous weekend.


Speculation has mounted that Massa could be replaced at Ferrari well before the season is out but team boss Stefano Domenicali has been publicly supportive.

The Ferrari website quoted him as saying: "I well remember that, four years ago, in fact right after a Malaysian GP which was won for us by Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe was more or less in the same situation as today.

"The papers were demanding his immediate replacement and he managed to react in the best way possible, thanks to support from the team, which saw him win two of the next three races. We remember how that particular season ended... he was World champion, even if it was only for a few seconds, while we took our 16th Constructors' title," he said.

"Felipe has changed his plans and, instead of heading home to see his family in Brazil, he will be in Maranello tomorrow to work alongside the engineers to calmly analyse everything that happened in these past two races, trying to identify why he was not able to deliver that of which he is capable," said Massa.

"That's the right spirit and we are here, ready to help him," he said.

The next race will be in China on April 15.

Massa failed to win a point in the first two races of 2008, despite being on pole in Malaysia. He then won in Bahrain, was second in Spain and won again in Turkey.

The Brazilian would have been champion that year had McLaren's Lewis Hamilton not beaten him by a single point after securing the fifth place he needed by overtaking Toyota's Timo Glock through the final curve of the last lap in Brazil after Massa had won the race.

Alonso's win at Sepang was against the odds, with Ferrari's new car uncompetitive in Australia, and Domenicali said having the Spaniard leading the championship meant nothing and the problems had not gone away.

Alonso was in Maranello after arriving there from Malaysia on Monday.


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