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Felipe Massa will stay in 2011, says Ferrari team boss

Stefano Domenicali

Massa won't leave - Domenicali

Ferrari have dismissed claims that Felipe Massa could leave the team at the end of this season.

The Brazilian is contracted until the end of 2012 and team boss Stefano Domenicali told BBC Sport the reports were "categorically wrong".

The rumours emerged in the wake of the team orders controversy, when Ferrari asked Massa to let team-mate Fernando Alonso win July's German Grand Prix.

Domenicali said he could "absolutely" confirm Alonso and Massa would stay on.

The team orders incident, for which Ferrari were fined $100,000 (£65,100) but were not docked any points, has led to tensions at Ferrari.

Massa, who has been outpaced by new arrival Alonso all season, has been asked for the rest of this year to support the Spaniard's bid for the world championship and accepted that role.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa
Fernando is very good, definitely. But he is not better than my other team-mates. It's just myself not being as good as usual

Felipe Massa (above)

Massa was last week criticised by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

"I have waited for Felipe with great perseverance in the last four races," Di Montezemolo told the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I want a strong Massa who will shave points off the rivals.

"In Singapore he had some bad luck, but he is in good condition to win.

"Those who race for Ferrari don't race for themselves, but for the Ferrari team colours. One who wants to race for himself will have to face his team."

Massa has made it clear he will not be forced into a supporting role at the start of next season, saying he would not accept a perpetual number two position of the kind Rubens Barrichello fulfilled for Michael Schumacher at Ferrari from 2000-5.

Massa told Germany's Sport Build magazine: "For sure I am not Ferrari's second Rubens Barrichello. If that happens, I will stop driving. I'm not going to go racing to be eligible for second place.

"Fernando is very good, definitely. But he is not better than my other team-mates. It's just myself not being as good as usual.

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"I have had big problems with the tyres. For my driving style, even the soft tyres are too hard. And I'm sure many other drivers have had the same problem. I don't think Michael has forgotten how to drive."

Rumours had linked Massa with several teams, among them Sauber, Force India and Renault.

Sauber have confirmed Japanese Kamui Kobayashi and Mexican rookie Sergio Perez as their drivers and Robert Kubica will continue as Renault's lead driver.

But one Renault seat and both Force India positions remain to be filled, although Scot Paul di Resta is expected to be promoted from his testing role into one of the Force India race seats.

Doubts about Michael Schumacher's position at Mercedes, which the Germany company's motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug denied at the Japanese Grand Prix, have left the driver market in flux.



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see also
Ferrari retain Massa until 2012
09 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari escape further punishment
08 Sep 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari fined but result stands
25 Jul 10 |  Formula 1


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