Massa abandons homecoming and heads to Ferrari HQ in bid to save career
10:01 GMT, 28 March 2012
Felipe Massa has abandoned plans to return home to his family in a bid to improve results and potentially save his Ferrari career.
Instead of returning home to Brazil as initially planned, Massa headed to Ferrari's base in Maranello to assess where it has all gone wrong for him in the first two races of the season.
In contrast to championship-leading team-mate Fernando Alonso, who took the chequered flag in Malaysia on Sunday, Massa has so far failed to score at the opening two grands prix.
Hard work ahead: Felipe Massa is desperate to reverse his poor form
That has sparked speculation the Brazilian, in the final year of his contract, could be replaced sooner rather than later.
But Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has offered some hope to his driver by comparing his current plight with his start to the 2008 season, when Massa ultimately came within seconds of being crowned world champion.
'I well remember four years ago, in fact right after a Malaysian Grand Prix won for us by Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe was more or less in the same situation as today,' said Domenicali.
'The papers were demanding his immediate replacement, but 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, with the Brazilian actually world champion, even if just for a few seconds, while we took our 16th constructors' title.'
Slipping away: Massa struggled in Sepang at the weekend
The difference now to then is that Massa could only qualify 12th in Malaysia, compared to pole four years ago, due to the overall uncompetitiveness of the current car.
Confirming Massa's mission in Maranello, Domenicali told his team's official website: 'Felipe has changed his plans.
'Instead of heading home to see his family in Brazil, he will be in Maranello 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 what he is capable of.
'That's the right spirit and we are here, ready to help him.'