Tag Archives: massa

Unites States Grand Prix 2012: Ferrari bend rules with Felipe Massa gearbox change

Ferrari bend rules to seal Alonso advance after hitting their own driver with five-place penalty

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UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 18 November 2012

Ferrari bent the rules and rode their luck to keep Fernando Alonso's title challenge alive by the slenderest of margins with one race remaining.

The team broke the seal on Felipe Massa's gearbox before the race to incur a five-place grid penalty, thus promoting his tem-mate Alonso to seventh on the grid, and the clean side of the track.

The Spaniard, who made the most of the dubious tactic to catapult himself to fourth place by Turn One, said: 'We know our championship is still alive thanks to the first lap. It was not possible to challenge these two guys – they were too far ahead but this podium, after a difficult weekend, is like a victory for us. Only Sebastian is in a better position than us so we should be proud of ourselves.'

Podium finish: Alonso finished third after making three places off the start-line

Podium finish: Alonso finished third after gaining three places off the start-line

Fortune then favoured the brave when Mark Webber was forced to retire on lap 17 with yet another alternator issue, a failure which moved Alonso into third.

Even a tardy pit stop was not enough to end Alonso hopes as Lewis Hamilton did his former McLaren sparring partner a huge favour by grabbing the lead from Sebastian Vettel on lap 42 before fending off the German.

Recovery drive: Massa started in 11th after Ferrari changed his gearbox

Recovery drive: Massa started in 11th after Ferrari changed his gearbox

Delighted at earning a victory for McLaren before departing for Mercedes next season, Hamilton said: 'I am so happy. It has been a long, long time since we had a win. It gives me a huge amount of satisfaction to be able to beat Red Bull and Sebastian. They were incredibly strong but we were able to do it. It was very difficult to get past. I knew that lap was going to be our chance so I turned the engine up and I got past. I rubbed the car and said, “Come on baby, we can make it”. To finish on a high is really special. Hopefully we can go to Brazil with the same pace.'

Vettel needs to finish inside the top four to be guaranteed of a third successive world title in Brazil next weekend.

He said: 'We have been very quick in Brazil in the last few years and we have increased the lead in the championship so I think we are in a very good position.'

Lewis Hamilton has his sights on Fernando Alonso as Sergio Perez eyes McLaren spot

Lewis has his sights on Alonso as ambitious Perez eyes Hamilton's seat at McLaren

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UPDATED:

20:49 GMT, 20 September 2012

Lewis Hamilton and Sergio
Perez have launched charm
offensives ahead of the Singapore
Grand Prix with the future of both
drivers still in doubt.

Hamilton, who is considering a
move to Mercedes next year,
refused to talk about his contract
but did discuss McLaren's
strengths.

Silent treatment: Hamilton refused to discuss his future at McLaren on Thursday

Silent treatment: Hamilton refused to discuss his future at McLaren on Thursday

Silent treatment: Hamilton refused to discuss his future at McLaren on Thursday

'We have always been
able to turn things around even if
we start badly,' said Hamilton,
who still hopes to catch Ferrari's
Fernando Alonso, the
championship leader.

'You have to have confidence the team have done a good job, which I have always had. We are in a good place and the car is feeling great.'

Meanwhile Perez, having been told by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo he will not replace Felipe Massa, tried to ensure his name remains near the top of McLaren's shortlist of potential Hamilton replacements.

'I feel ready to be in a top team, to fight for the title,' said Sauber's Mexican star, who has had three podium finishes this season.

Lewis Hamilton to give Michael Schumacher boot at Mercedes

Lewis to give Schumacher boot at Mercedes as Rosberg reveals he's staying put

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 19 September 2012

Lewis Hamilton could force Michael Schumacher into retirement for a second time if he leaves McLaren for Mercedes, as Nico Rosberg insists he is staying with the German team.

Sportsmail revealed McLaren's chances of hanging on to Hamilton are no better than 50-50 after he was stunned by their new deal, which equates to just two thirds of his current 15million-a-year package.

Debate: Speculation surrounding Hamilton's future is rife

Debate: Speculation surrounding Hamilton's future is rife

On the move The McLaren man is considering an offer from Mercedes

On the move The McLaren man is considering an offer from Mercedes

Mercedes can match the Briton's prsent earnings, while bonuses could push their deal to 60m over three years.

And Rosberg is adamant Schumacher will make way if Hamilton takes up Mercedes' offer.

He dismissed speculation he could move to McLaren, or even replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari. saying: 'I'm with the Silver Arrows and looking forward to getting more wins next season. Not much will happen until Schumacher, Hamilton or Massa can say “I'm definitely here”. It would be right if he (Schumacher) stays. We get along and competition between us is good.'

Mark Webber wins British Grand Prix at Silverstone

Webber wins to close gap on Alonso as Hamilton and Button struggle at Silverstone

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UPDATED:

14:10 GMT, 8 July 2012

Mark Webber proved himself a genuine Formula One world title contender this season with victory in Sunday's British Grand Prix.

Last year at Silverstone Webber was contentiously ordered to hold station behind Sebastian Vettel as he closed in on his Red Bull team-mate in the dying stages at Silverstone.

Job done: Webber's Red Bull team rush to congratulate him as he crosses the finishing line

Job done: Webber's Red Bull team rush to congratulate him as he crosses the finishing line

HOW THEY FINISHED

1 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
2 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
3 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
4 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
5 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
6 Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
7 Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
8 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
9 Bruno Senna (Williams)
10 Jenson Button (McLaren)

But on Sunday it was Webber and
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso battling at the front at the death, with the
former grabbing the lead on lap 48 of the 52, going on to claim the
ninth victory of his career.

More importantly it has allowed
Webber to close the gap on Alonso at the top of the championship
standings to 13 points, with Vettel having to settle for third on this
occasion, and lying 29 points down.

Webber said: 'It was another great day for us, a great day for me. To win here again is a fantastic feeling.'

For the Britons, in front of a
sell-out 125,500 crowd, it was a day to forget as McLaren pair Lewis
Hamilton and Jenson Button were eighth and 10th, whilst Force India's
Paul di Resta retired after two laps.

High hopes: Webber jumps for joy after clinching his second British Grand Prix win

High hopes: Webber jumps for joy after clinching his second British Grand Prix win

High hopes: Webber jumps for joy after clinching his second British Grand Prix win

After two days of rain that have caused havoc on and around the circuit this year, with car parks turned into mudbaths, drivers and fans were able to enjoy a dry race.

To that end, as qualifying ended in the wet on Saturday, teams were given a free rein when it came to tyre choice at the start, and it was McLaren who opted for the wrong strategy.

They chose the hard compound for Hamilton and Button, while six of the seven ahead of the former – Alonso the exception – opted for the soft Pirellis.

In starting from pole and managing to
get the run into the first corner, Alonso was able to make his two-stop
plan work for the most part.

That was until his soft tyres in the final stint proved no match for
Webber on the hards, with the Australian making his move into Brooklands
with just over four laps remaining.

Leading the way: Webber overtook Alonso late in the race

Leading the way: Webber overtook Alonso late in the race

As for Hamilton, he finished where he started, with Ferrari's Felipe
Massa fourth ahead of Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, with
Mercedes' Michael Schumacher seventh.

Hamilton now finds himself 37 points down on Alonso, with Button cast
adrift in eighth, 79 points off the pace and with his title hopes fading
fast.

The 32-year-old, who started 16th, at least managed to collect a point
courtesy of a mistake on the penultimate lap from Force India's Nico
Hulkenberg.

For Di Resta, it was not the British Grand Prix he dreamed of as the Scot suffered his first retirement for 24 races.

Clear skies: The expected rain stayed away

Clear skies: The expected rain stayed away

Coming out of The Loop at turn five on the opening lap, Di Resta was
sent spinning into the large run-off area, sustaining a left-rear
puncture.

Although Di Resta managed to limp back to the pits, he sustained damage
to the floor that forced him back into the garage at the end of the
second lap, and ultimately out of the race.

Di Resta said: 'I've no indication as to what happened. I don't know if
someone caught me, but I picked up a puncture, and then the heavy damage
to the floor. There was no point carrying on.'

There was bitter frustration for Di Resta, felt by Sergio Perez too on
lap 12 as Pastor Maldonado again proved a danger to all around him.

From the seventh and ninth positions the duo pitted together, and after
returning to the track Perez was soon alongside Maldonado going into
Brooklands.

Missing out: Alonso had led the race from pole position before being overtaken

Missing out: Alonso had led the race from pole position before being overtaken

Missing out: Alonso had led the race from pole position before being overtaken

Although there was enough room for Perez to go round the outside,
Maldonado tried to shift to that line, only to bundle the Mexican off
track and out of the race.

It was the second time in successive races Maldonado has seemingly lost
the plot given his incident with Hamilton on the penultimate lap of the
European Grand Prix in Valencia a fortnight ago.

And for the second successive race Maldonado faces a post-grand prix
investigation by the stewards, with Perez demanding they take serious
action before another driver gets hurt.

A furious Perez said: 'He has no respect for other drivers. He is a very stupid driver.

'I don't know why the stewards don't take more action against him. He deserves a big penalty.

It's the pits: Webber comes in for a pit-stop

It's the pits: Webber comes in for a pit-stop

'We are risking our lives out there and if they (the stewards) don't do something he will hurt someone.

'For all the drivers he is very dangerous driver on the circuit.'

Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi later proved a danger to his own pit crew as
he sent four flying in coming in for his second stop at the end of lap
37.

That prompted Kobayashi into issuing a sincere apology to his team over
the in-car radio, in particular as he left two of his mechanics
requiring medical attention.

A delighted Webber said: 'At the start Fernando had good pace, Fernando
started on a different tyre to us but we never gave up and kept pushing.

'It didn't work out for Fernando at the end, it was very, very close for him but we were able to capitalise.

Close encounter: Alonso got off to a good start

Close encounter: Alonso got off to a good start

'It's a special win for the team, we are a local team based just down
the road and it's incredible for them and it's another victory for
Renault Sport in the UK and I am very proud.

'Thanks to all the fans for sticking with us over the last few days.'

Alonso remained upbeat despite being denied a second consecutive victory
so late on, and echoed Webber in praising the Silverstone fans for
braving the sodden conditions.

'At the end Mark was much quicker than us and he deserves the win so
congratulations to him and the Red Bull team, but I am proud of
Ferrari's recovery in the last couple of weeks,' he said.

'We have fought for the wins in the last four races.

'Thanks to the fans for coming through the bad weather, I hope they enjoyed it.'

Mud bath: The car parks remained closed at Silverstone

Mud bath: The car parks remained closed at Silverstone

Champagne moment: Webber is right in contention for the driver's championship title

Champagne moment: Webber is right in contention for the driver's championship title

Champagne moment: Webber is right in contention for the driver's championship title

Champagne moment: Webber is right in contention for the driver's championship title

Fernando Alonso pledges support to Felipe Massa for rest of the season

Alonso backs Massa to score more points and promises to back team-mate

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 1 June 2012

Fernando Alonso has promised Felipe Massa his full support for the remainder of the season as he is convinced the Brazilian is capable of fighting for wins.

After a wretched start to the campaign, scoring just two points from the opening five races, Massa finally proved his worth to Ferrari in Monaco at the weekend.

After qualifying in the top 10 for the first time this year, and even threatening to start ahead of Alonso, Massa went on to finish sixth, three places behind the title-leading Spaniard.

Teamwork: Fernando Alonso says he will help Felipe Massa get more points on the board

Teamwork: Fernando Alonso says he will help Felipe Massa get more points on the board

Although Massa currently trails Alonso in the standings by 66 points, and is undoubtedly the number two driver at Ferrari, the latter still firmly believes in his team-mate.

'It's hard to think Felipe won't win many points in the second part of the season, that he won't make podiums or fight for wins. He's got the talent for it,' said Alonso.

'It's been an unfortunate start to the season because of a number of things – bad luck, a slower adaptation than before to the tyres…Felipe's results weren't normal.

'He's got all my support, and all the support of the team to change the situation around.

Getting back on track: Felipe Massa finished sixth at the weekend in Monaco

Getting back on track: Felipe Massa finished sixth at the weekend in Monaco

'Or to change his results because many times in practice or qualifying we're very close. but then in the race, because of the start or he got hit, he would be towards the back early on.

'In Monaco it looks like his results changed, so we hope that from here on it will all go well for him.'

Alonso, meanwhile, believes next weekend's Canadian Grand Prix will prove to be a more reliable benchmark of where Ferrari stand in the pecking order.

The 31-year-old's championship lead is in a car many feel is far from the best in the field, and given the topsy-turvy nature of F1 this season he has arguably lucked into his success.

Alonso said: “In Canada we want to confirm our improvement and be competitive in a more 'normal' circuit because Monaco is unique due to its characteristics and Barcelona has very quick corners.

Following his lead: Alonso and Massa will look to boost Ferrari's chances in the constructors championship

Following his lead: Alonso and Massa will look to boost Ferrari's chances in the constructors championship

'Canada and Valencia are going to be two very important tests for us to see if we can really put both Ferraris in Q3, like we did in Monaco, and opt to be in the top places.

'We're taking some upgrades to Canada, a race both on and off the track because all the big teams are going to bring new parts so let's see whose works best.

'We've tried to extract the most of what we had and our rivals have let their guards down.

'This year two or three tenths (of a second) makes you lose or gain five or six places, because everything is very close.'

Felipe Massa needs to maintain Monaco form, warns Stefano Domenicali

Massa must maintain Monaco form, warns Domenicali

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UPDATED:

16:55 GMT, 30 May 2012

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali expects Felipe Massa to shine for the rest of the season after his improved showing in Monaco.

Prior to taking to the streets of the principality at the weekend, Massa had endured a wretched campaign, picking up just two points from the first five races.

After failing miserably to break into the top 10 in qualifying, at one stage Massa appeared poised to line up on the grid ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso.

Warning: Domenicali has urged Massa to maintain his Monaco Grand Prix form

Warning: Domenicali has urged Massa to maintain his Monaco Grand Prix form

The Brazilian ultimately started seventh, two places behind the championship-leading Spaniard who finished third, with Massa three seconds adrift in sixth.

It was a much-needed improvement in performance by Massa, who will now need to continue building if he is to have any hope of retaining his seat for next year.

For now, Domenicali is happy enough as he said: 'I think he had a great weekend, a weekend he deserved after coming under a lot pressure.

Keeping tabs: Massa (right) claimed his best finish of the season in Monte Carlo

Keeping tabs: Massa (right) claimed his best finish of the season in Monte Carlo

Phil Duncan F1 blog

'He had a great qualifying, and although you can say he could have been a little better in Q3, we need to look at the bigger picture.

'He then had a great race. He was a little unlucky because he could have been out in front of Lewis (Hamilton) for a fraction, but he was there in the first six cars which were very close.

'The fact he was there is for me the best thing. I'm sure this this will be a turning point of his season because he needs it.'

With Ferrari 60 points adrift of Red Bull in the constructors' championship, and 22 behind McLaren,

Domenicali needs Massa to continue to produce if they are to have any hope of landing the team title.

Domenicali added: 'It was a great boost for him because at the end of the day everyone is unhappy when he is performing in a difficult moment.

'Him performing is something we need for the constructors' championship, for the team, so I am really expecting a good Felipe up to the end.'

Sergio Perez: I"m not joining Ferrari

I'm staying with Sauber, claims Perez as Mexican dismisses Ferrari switch

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UPDATED:

09:46 GMT, 26 March 2012

Sergio Perez is convinced he will remain with Sauber for the rest of the season, but that will not stop rumours linking him with a switch to Ferrari.

Perez's stunning drive to second place in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix saw the young Mexican come of age in Formula One.

In changeable conditions, and primarily after heavy rain halted the race for 51 minutes early on, arguably Perez should have taken the chequered flag as he pushed Fernando Alonso all the way to the line.

Champagne moment: Perez celebrates his best finish in the sport

Champagne moment: Perez celebrates his best finish in the sport

However, just as he had closed to within 0.5 seconds of the double world champion in his Ferrari on lap 50, a small error from the 22-year-old cost him the chance of a maiden win.

Despite that, and with Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa enduring another wretched race, rumours have circulated that Perez – a member of Ferrari's young driver academy – could replace the Brazilian.

It has been suggested that may yet be as early as China, although that has been denied by Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali as 'just not true'.

Water display: The Mexican excelled in changeable conditions

Water display: The Mexican excelled in changeable conditions

Perez, asked if he had spoken to Domenicali at any stage during the podium celebrations, said: 'No, no, I only congratulated him.

'As a team they did a great job, and for me, my full commitment is with my team, with Sauber.

'Obviously it's only rumours, but no, I will stay with Sauber for the whole season.

'It's only the second race and there's still a long way to go, so we have to keep improving, especially as we're a small team.'

Tough day at the office: Massa finished way down the order

Tough day at the office: Massa finished way down the order

Alonso, who grabbed his 28th career win, feels Perez is certainly on the right track given his position within the academy.

'As Sergio has said he is concentrated on Sauber, which is the obligation on the contract side,' said Alonso.

'Ferrari's academy is doing a great job with young talent, and if Sergio is in the academy it's because Ferrari have seen big talent in him.

'In this race the victory was not possible, but I think a win will come sooner rather than later for Sergio.'

Responding to the suggestion of Perez being his team-mate, that prompted Alonso to launch a staunch defence of under-fire Massa, who is without a point in contrast to the Spaniard's championship-leading 35.

'With Felipe we are a very strong team, a very united team and I don't see any possibility of not racing alongside him,' said Alonso.

'Felipe had problems in the race in Australia, but in Malaysia, after changing a couple of things in the car, he was competitive.

'In qualifying he was P12, and when the race was red-flagged he was eighth.

'So in a normal race, and hopefully when the car improves, Felipe and I will be on the podium together, which is the goal for the rest of the season.'

Fernando Alonso: Driving for Ferrari is like playing for Man United or Chelsea

Driving for Ferrari is like playing for United or Chelsea… we can perform badly but still win

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UPDATED:

12:40 GMT, 19 March 2012

Fernando Alonso likened Ferrari to Manchester United or Chelsea after springing a surprise in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

Alonso was a disconsolate figure after qualifying at Melbourne's Albert Park, during which he slid into the gravel and finished up 12th on the grid.

With team-mate Felipe Massa four places behind, it was Ferrari's worst qualifying performance for 36 races since Malaysia in 2010, where bad weather caused problems.

Red alert: Alosno has compared racing for Ferrari to playing for United or Chelsea

Red alert: Alosno has compared racing for Ferrari to playing for United or Chelsea

However, Alonso produced a stirring drive to finish fifth, which suggested the team's race pace is far from as bad as during qualifying.

It means the Spaniard can now approach this weekend's second race of the year in Malaysia with a little more confidence, believing he conjured a good result from a bad performance.

'It was damage limitation in terms of the number of points we scored from the weekend,' Alonso said. 'From Friday it was a tough weekend, and with both cars out of Q2 on Saturday, that was a tough result.

'So to finish fifth behind the two McLarens and two Red Bulls was the best news we could have hoped for from the weekend.

'But we know there is a lot of work in front of us to improve the car because we were one second off the pace in qualifying. That is too much, so hopefully we can improve in the next couple of races, and very quickly.'

Solid start: Ferrari managed a fifth-place finish despite poor qualifying

Solid start: Ferrari managed a fifth-place finish despite poor qualifying

When it was suggested to Alonso the car
appeared to be completely different in the race to the one which took
part in qualifying, he joked: 'It was definitely the same. The FIA
didn't allow us to change anything!

'We were just very good in terms of preparation. We have enough experience and Ferrari is Ferrari.

'There may be cars quicker than us now, but it's like Manchester United or Chelsea who play badly for a game but still win 1-0.'

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali was just grateful to come away from the weekend with a smattering of points to ease some of the pain felt following a wretched pre-season.

'The performance in the race was not what we saw in qualifying,' he said.

'And the performance in the first two stints of the race was then different to the final one, so we need to understand the real problems.

Looking forward: Alonso hopes the team can build heading to Malaysia

Looking forward: Alonso hopes the team can build heading to Malaysia

'Despite that, Fernando's race was very, very good. To finish fifth is something very important to us and gives us some points.

'Considering what I am expecting from the championship this year, it is vital whilst we have so many problems that we score points.

'I would say it is a step forward, but we cannot hide behind that because we are not happy with the performance of the car. So what I am really asking from my engineers is for them to push as much as possible to try to fix things.'

Australian Grand Prix 2012: Albert Park circuit guide and stats

Australian Grand Prix: All you need to know about the race at the Albert Park circuit

It has been one of the shortest off seasons in the history of Formula One at just 113 days, affording the 12 teams precious little time to finalise their cars.

There have also only been 12 days of testing, again far fewer than in previous years and adding to the pressure.

Undeterred, all the teams will be on the grid when the curtain rises on the 2012 Formula One World Championship in Melbourne on Sunday.

The Australian Grand Prix remains alluring and ever popular for all concerned with the sport, even if the locals often bemoan the disruption and damage caused to Albert Park over the course of the weekend.

Despite that, the race has a place on the calendar for the next four seasons at least, and here Sportsmail provides the lowdown on the first event of the new campaign.

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR GRAPHIC GUIDE TO THE ALBERT PARK TRACK

Ready, steady, go: The 2012 season gets underway at Albert Park in Melbourne

Ready, steady, go: The 2012 season gets underway at Albert Park in Melbourne

Venue: Albert Park, Melbourne

Circuit length: 5.303km/3.295 miles

Laps: 58

Race distance: 307.574km/191.117miles

Lap record: 1min 24.125secs (Michael Schumacher, 2004)

2011 winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2011 fastest lap: Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1min 28.947secs

2011 winning strategy: 2 stops (laps 13 & 35)

2011 total race pit stops: 44

Fastest 2011 pit stop: 3.1secs

2011 total 'normal' overtakes: 12

2011 total DRS overtakes: 5

Number of corners: 16 (6 left, 10 right)

Tyre compounds to be used: Medium/soft

Bumpiness: Medium

Overtaking chance: Low

Engine severity: High

Brake wear severity: High

Average lap speed: 221kph (137mph)

Full throttle per lap: 73 per cent

Gear changes per lap: 54 (race = 3132)

No of safety cars deployed since 2002: 14

Just champion: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel celebrated victory at the Australian Grand Prix last year

Just champion: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel celebrated victory at the Australian Grand Prix last year

For the first time in F1 history there will be six world champions lining up on the grid – Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.

Pole position has accounted for half the winners in Melbourne – eight from 16 races. However, there have been six in the last eight years.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

Mark Webber is the only Australian to have scored points in his home grand prix. However, in 10 races his record is poor – he has never finished higher than fifth, retiring four times.

Webber is joined by compatriot Daniel Ricciardo on the grid this weekend. It is the first time two Australians have competed in their home grand prix.

Five different manufacturers have triumphed in the last six years – Red Bull (2011), McLaren (2010, 2008), Brawn (2009), Ferrari (2007) and Renault (2006).

Although a new season, it will again initially be a case of who can stop Vettel over one lap. The German set a record of 15 poles last season, and going back into 2010, has led away the field on 22 occasions in the last 30 races.

Felipe Massa needing wins in 2012

I need to start winning straight away in 2012, admits Massa

If Felipe Massa wants to remain at Ferrari beyond this season, he's going to have to start winning again – immediately.

The Brazilian hasn't won a race since a life-threatening accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009 and his contract expires at the end of this year.

'The first part of the season is very important for my future,' Massa said on Thursday at Ferrari's annual winter retreat in the Italian Dolomites.

'Competitive teams always decide their plans ahead of time.'

Looking forward: Felipe Massa (left) and Fernando Alonso (right) in Italy this week

Looking forward: Felipe Massa (left) and Fernando Alonso (right) in Italy this week

Massa's last win came before his home
fans at the season-ending Brazilian GP in 2008 – which was also the
year he finished second in the driver standings.

However,
Massa missed the second half of the 2009 season after his accident in
Hungary. His left eye still bears evidence of his injuries and he
finished sixth in the standings in the last two seasons.

Last
year was especially tough for Massa, never finishing higher than fifth
in a grand prix and having to retire from three races. He also had
several accidents with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

All smiles: Massa speaks to reporters on Thursday

All smiles: Massa speaks to reporters on Thursday

'I want a competitive year, without
so many things happening during races, things that are not so nice,'
Massa said. 'I would like to start a race and finish where I want and
not further back with many fewer points than expected.'

Massa
is optimistic for a turnaround this year, saying he has put extensive
input into Ferrari's completely revised car that will be presented on
February 3.

'We've been
working on the new car for many months now – in every moment,' Massa
said. 'We will definitely have positive things to say after the car gets
on the track.'

And he's confident that new tire
specialist Hirohide Hamashima – who was announced as a new hiring on
Wednesday – can help him adapt better to the harder tires that he
struggled with so much last year.

At the wheel: Felipe Massa in action during last year's Singapore Grand Prix

At the wheel: Felipe Massa in action during last year's Singapore Grand Prix

'Hamashima is a great engineer and he knows everything about tires, so it should be positive in general for the team and for me,' Massa said of the former Bridgestone engineer. “I have a less aggressive style of driving and it's harder to warm up the tires and get grip right away, especially in the first lap.'

Still, teammate Fernando Alonso is expected to be Ferrari's lead driver again, and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel will be aiming for his third consecutive title.

So who is Massa's title favourite 'I don't have a favorite,' Massa said. 'I want to win it.'