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Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Wednesday, 9 June 2010 12:24 UK

Ferrari keep Massa on for two more seasons

Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
Alonso and Massa formed a new partnership in 2010

Ferrari have given Felipe Massa a new two-year deal that will keep him with the Italian team until the end of 2012.

The announcement comes hard on the heels of Red Bull's retention of Mark Webber, who was regarded as a contender to take over Massa's drive.

"It's a matter of pride to continue working with a team that I regard as my second family," said Massa.

The Brazilian has struggled to match the pace of Fernando Alonso since the Spaniard joined Ferrari this year.

Massa has been associated with Ferrari since he entered Formula 1 at the beginning of the 2002 season with the Sauber team, which was using Petronas-badged Ferrari engines.

We need to make sure the package for him is the best

Ferrari boss Domenicali on Massa

"Throughout my entire Formula 1 career, I have always raced with an engine made in Maranello," he said.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali added: "Felipe has been part of Ferrari for almost a decade and, together with us, he has grown as a driver and as a man, going through some very difficult times as well as giving us moments of great happiness.

"We wanted to show proof of stability for the future, believing in the worth of a driver pairing that is without equal in terms of talent, speed and its ability to work together for the good of the team."

Massa, 29, has competed in 69 grands prix for Ferrari since he joined the squad's race-team line-up in 2006. In that time he has achieved 11 wins, 15 pole positions and 12 fastest race laps.

But those statistics pre-date his bad accident in qualifying for last summer's Hungarian Grand Prix, when he was hit on the head by a spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn.

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Massa was sidelined for the rest of the season, and has been outshone to date in 2010 by Ferrari newcomer Alonso.

Going into this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, Alonso and Massa lie fourth and seventh in the drivers' championship, while Ferrari are 26 points behind leaders McLaren in the constructors' championship.

Ferrari brought in Alonso to replace Kimi Raikkonen this season and the Spaniard has quickly established himself as the lead driver.

However, the 28-year-old double champion has also made high-profile errors, including a collision at the start of the Australian Grand Prix, jumping the start in China and missing qualifying in Monaco after crashing during practice.

Despite the errors, Alonso is only 14 points - with 25 for a race win - behind drivers' championship leader Mark Webber, with Massa 26 points adrift of the Red Bull driver.

"I don't want to speak about mistakes," added the team principal.

"We are a group and the team do the best with the car and the drivers do the best with the performance.

Ferrari boss - I convinced Schumacher to return

"I'm very pleased with him. He came into team in a fantastic way and I think that he gave input to the team and I say let's wait until the end of the season. He will be very strong - I have no doubt about that."

The Italian boss also backed Massa to shine.

"Massa was struggling with the hard tyres in certain conditions in the first part of the year, so I think that is the area we need to work with him so he has more confidence in the car," said Domenicali.

"It's easy to criticise a driver when he is not performing well, so we need to make sure the package for him is the best."

Ferrari crossed the landmark of 800 grand prix starts in the Turkish Grand Prix less than two weeks ago - more than any other team in the history of the sport.



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see also
Button accuses Massa of blocking
15 May 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari to investigate Massa form
09 May 10 |  Formula 1
I can work with Alonso says Massa
15 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
Massa delighted with new Ferrari
01 Feb 10 |  Formula 1


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