Ferrari chief: Massa must improve
Di Montezemolo insists championship is in Scuderia's hands
Last Updated: 28/05/12 4:58pm
Luca di Montezemolo has thrust the poor form of Felipe Massa back into the spotlight by insisting that the Brazilian "must bring home the results we expect from him."
In an open letter to Ferrari staff published on Monday afternoon, the Scuderia chief singled out the under-performing Massa as being in need of improvement as he issued a rallying cry on the eve of the Monaco GP. According to di Montezemolo, the championship remains in Ferrari's hands, but it is his stark reference - which is likely to be interpreted as an ultimatum in some quarters - to Massa's form that is bound to garner the most amount of external attention.
"The Championship is in our own hands," wrote the Ferrari President. "The championship is very open and so far, there has not been one dominant force.
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"A series of circumstances and the work done here to improve the car, as well as [Fernando] Alonso's great ability, has led to us leading the Championship after five rounds. We must capitalize on that, with each one of us giving our very best at home and at the race track, including Massa who must bring home the results we expect from him."
Although Ferrari have maintained that their support for Massa in public, his position with the team has been subject to ceaseless speculation since the start of the season. While Alonso leads the drivers' contest, Massa's miserable run of results has produced just two points in 2012, leaving Ferrari a lowly fourth in the Constructors' Championship.
Massa, though, believes the team still back him to turn things around as he battles to get to grips with the F2012.
"I feel the whole team stands by me," he told Ferrari's website over the weekend.
"It's definitely not a very easy car to drive and it's hard to find a good balance. Many times I have found myself having to fight the car and, in these circumstances, it's easy to lose a tenth here and there.
"It's well known that we don't yet have enough aerodynamic downforce and we are lacking in traction at the exit to slow corners, which could be the biggest problem."
The Brazilian also feels that since Australia, he has been performing at a similar pace to team-mate Fernando Alonso.
"I think that this year, the only race where there really was a big difference between me and Fernando was in Australia and then, in Malaysia the rain made it more complicated to get a clear picture. Starting in China, the difference in qualifying between the two of us was not so dramatic," Massa added.
"Even in Barcelona, but for the traffic, my time in Q2 was in line with previous events and on Sunday my pace was not that far off.
"I think we must also take into account that, at the moment, Fernando's driving is amazing: he is on super form, maybe even perfect."