Di Montezemolo: Massa rejuvenated

Tuesday 12-March-2013 13:49

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is confident Felipe Massa will repay the team this season, saying they "were right not to replace him".

Massa appeared to be on his way out at Maranello during the early stages of the 2012 season, but he pulled things together during the latter half of the campaign and the team eventually decided to hand him a new one-year deal for 2013.

With his seat secure, the Brazilian's performances picked up in the final few races of the season and everyone at Ferrari is optimistic that he will carry that form over to this campaign.

"He'll be back as a driver of use to Ferrari with ambitions," di Montezemolo told Gazzetta dello Sport. "We were right not to replace him, he's rejuvenated.

"Apart from that, where were we to find his successor? Do you see many superdrivers these days? Look at this message on my mobile; Felipe sent it: Fernando [Alonso] feels just like I do: positive. This is a great comfort to me."

Massa's team-mate Alonso has finished runner-up twice since joining Ferrari from Renault three years ago and he will no doubt be looking to go one better this year.

The vibe at the Italian camp is generally positive and Di Montezemolo believes the Spaniard will eventually win a title with the team.

"His contract runs until the end of 2015 and he'll respect it," he said. "I was always being asked the same question with every World Championship we won when [Michael] Schumacher was here... Alonso knows he'll have to win with us and we want to win with him. He was right to skip the Jerez tests and prepare himself to perfection. Now he's on top form, ready for the green light. Here we go..."

Ferrari started very slowly in 2012 and were well off the pace especially in qualifying, but the team made progress throughout the year and eventually caught up with the leading cars.

The team, though, want to be among the front-runners right from the word go in Melbourne this year.

"Our main objective is to begin by getting in among the top three teams, aware that we are making preparations and developing ideas for the GPs to follow," he said.

"Even if we finish slightly behind in Melbourne we'll be able to make it up easily, because we'll be working on the gap that existed between ourselves and Red Bull at the end of 2012.

"Our second target is to maintain this correlation between the wind tunnel and the asphalt, in the knowledge that every adjustment we make to the F138 will be effective."

© 2014 - 365 Media Group

Any reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of 365 Media Group is strictly forbidden.