Date: 23rd November 2011 at 9:16am
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Felipe Massa goes into the final year of his Ferrari contract knowing that he has to improve or he will be out of the team.

The Brazilian driver is all too aware that the 2011 Formula One World Championship has not been a good season for either himself or his team.

‘This year has not gone so well, but we have tackled it with our usual fighting spirit and that is what we will take forward to next year, when we hope to have a very different sort of championship to this one just ending,’ said Massa to Autosport Magazine.

‘The intention is to be competitive right from the start, fighting for the win in every race. This has not been a fantastic season for me, but neither has it been for the team.

The pressure on the 30-year-old has been mounting for many months and rumours in the media and in the paddock had even suggested that he could well be replaced for next season.

Ferrari have always denied those reports however and have never budged from their position that Massa will drive for Ferrari next season.

But Massa’s poor form in 2011 has been clear for all to see.

Whilst the Ferrari has only ever been the third best car on the grid all season, Massa hasn’t managed to finish any higher than fifth, which he achieved in Malaysia, Valencia, Britain, Germany and Abu Dhabi.

Team-mate Fernando Alonso however has managed to win the British Grand Prix, stand on the podium ten times and score 137 points more than the 2008 F1 runner-up.

That form needs to improve going into the final year of his contract and if he needed it spelling out, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was quick to put the record straight.

‘We expect great things from him in 2012, and then we’ll decide how to proceed. Let’s say he’ll have to prove himself,’ said Di Montezemolo to the BBC.

 

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