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Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2005, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Ferrari design boss backs Massa
Felipe Massa
Ferrari's decision to take Massa has been criticised
Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn has defended the decision to take on Felipe Massa as a replacement for Rubens Barrichello next year.

The move has been criticised because Massa is unproven at the top level, but Brawn said he was the "best solution".

"He has got the talent. We are going to find out next year exactly how much progress he has made," Brawn said.

"I'm quite happy with the choice. It looks to us like he has always had the speed. He just needed experience."

Brawn said Massa would have a year as Michael Schumacher's team-mate in 2006 to demonstrate whether he is worthy of a long-term future at Ferrari.

"It's really up to him to prove next year whether he's a long-term Ferrari driver or not. If he does well I'm sure he can be."

Massa - who is managed by Nicolas Todt, the son of Ferrari team boss Jean Todt - has a best result of fourth place in F1.

He was Ferrari's test driver in 2003, before rejoining Sauber, where he started his F1 career in 2002.

Massa was comprehensively outpaced last year by team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella, who this season has failed to match Fernando Alonso at Renault.

And after a bright start to this year, he is proving evenly matched with his new team-mate Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 world champion.

Villeneuve backs Massa to succeed
18 Aug 05 |  Formula One
Barrichello quits Ferrari for BAR
16 Aug 05 |  Formula One
Schumacher backs Massa decision
04 Aug 05 |  Formula One


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