Massa has the support of Ferrari

by Michelle Fortune , 23 March 2012

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicalli has offered his support to Felipe Massa amid growing speculation about the driver's future at Maranello.

With only one season left on his contract the pressure is on Massa to deliver for Ferrari but he did not get off to the ideal start in Australia as he failed to finish after only managing to qualify in 16th place.

His continued struggle for form has resulted in the Italian media to report that Ferrari are looking at ways to replace him - Sergio Perez is leading the list of possible replacements - but Domenicali insists the team is fully behind the driver.

"It is important at the moment to have good confidence around him," Domenicali said.

Massa was ten places behind team-mate Fernando Alonso during Friday's second free practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix but Domenicali has stressed the reason for that is because of the different programmes the drivers were given in the hope of solving the F2012's poor traction.

"In terms of what we see today, we were working in different programmes for the different drivers. Tomorrow we see what the situation is – the work is to make sure Felipe has the best car in the best conditions," he explained.

"In order to make Felipe comfortable in this particular moment we took different parts of what we had, so we changed to the spare chassis for Felipe and changed all the pieces to make sure there was nothing wrong with car he used in Melbourne.

"We know what are the problems and we need to tackle them, and make sure these problems that are fundamental are solved as quickly as possible."

Ferrari's lack of pace in relation to its rivals was clearly evident in Australia last week and a similar situation is expected in Malaysian given the short turnaround between the two races.

Domenicali insists the team have identified some problems and the engineers at Maranello are working hard to resolve them as swiftly as possible.

"For sure I am disappointed by the performance of the car no doubt, it is an easy answer. But not to be happy does not help, and I ask the engineers to be focused on their job as that is what they have to do," he added.

"In one week, it is important to say we have identified issues on car and we are working at home to resolve it. We need to maximise what we are doing on track and improve it."

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