Massa's days at Ferrari numbered UPDATE #3 (GMM) Luca di Montezemolo has rubbished speculation that Felipe Massa's seat at Ferrari is in danger.
Massa has had a difficult start to the 2008 season, with retirements in both the Australian and Malaysian grands prix.
But to the website of the Italian language La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ferrari president Montezemolo would not entertain rumors that the Maranello marque is thinking about replacing the 26-year-old Brazilian driver.
"It is absolutely not under discussion, nor is it an issue," he said.
"We have the best pair of pilots in the world."
Montezemolo said he expects Massa to bounce back with a "great race" in Bahrain this weekend, noting that world champion Kimi Raikkonen's teammate put in a "beautiful qualifying" to score pole position in Malaysia.
A Ferrari spokesman, meanwhile, insists that it is wrong for the media to interpret Massa's Sepang spin, caused by the driver hitting the curb at turn six, as driver error.
"I am convinced that we have an outstanding team and a competitive car," Montezemolo added.
Massa won the Sakhir race one year ago, following a similarly difficult start to 2007.
03/26/08 This rumor is downgraded to 'false.' A Ferrari spokesman has plainly dismissed rumors that a deal is already in place to put Fernando Alonso alongside Kimi Raikkonen at the Italian team in 2009.
|Felipe Massa's days at Ferrari are said to be numbered|
"There is no arrangement at all with Fernando and Ferrari," he is quoted as saying by The Times.
"We have two drivers already contracted for next year -- Mr. Kimi Raikkonen and Mr. Felipe Massa."
Renault boss Flavio Briatore would also not be drawn on the speculation, despite his driver, Alonso, claiming that the rumors linking himself and Sebastian Vettel with Massa's seat were "logical".
Briatore, though, said it is a "waste of time to get involved in hypothetical daydreams", according to the news agency AP.
"Fernando is a great sportsman who will always give his best, and rumors I never comment on," he added. 03/25/08 Despite the growing rumors regarding Massa's future, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali is keeping faith with the 26-year-old.
"It's true that it's two no scores that are important in both the drivers' and the constructors' championships," Domenicali said.
"But on the other hand we must not over-dramatize: the points table is close after two grands prix. I'm convinced that from Felipe's and our point of view, a response won't go amiss in Bahrain."
Domenicali also downplayed suggestions that Massa had cracked under the pressure being leveled on him by Raikkonen.
"I don't want to talk about this matter because Felipe did an extraordinary qualifying lap in Malaysia," the team boss said.
"Having seen on what lap he pitted compared to the others, you can work out that his lap was really unique.
"So Felipe has all the qualities and the capabilities to do well. The championship is long and the team are united, so I see no worries from this aspect."03/24/08 (GMM) Felipe Massa's newly married wife was unimpressed with speculation linking her husband with an early exit from Ferrari.
It has been rumored all week in Malaysia that, despite the Brazilian driver's ongoing contract with the Italian team, Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso are in fact more likely to be driving the red car in 2009.
On live Brazilian television, Rafaela Bassi-Massa blankly labeled the gossip as "bullshit".
Former grand prix winner Ralf Schumacher, though, predicts a tough couple of weeks for the 26-year-old, after his spins in Melbourne and Malaysia and heading to Bahrain with a points tally of zero.
"It is certainly going to be very difficult for Felipe, because, especially in Italy, the media is explosive," the DTM driver told the German newspaper Bild.
Schumacher thinks Massa is now very much Ferrari's 'number two' driver.
Former triple world champion Niki Lauda, meanwhile, thinks it is possible that Massa's car was to blame for his terminal Sepang spin.
"But if he has made a mistake two races in a row, it is brainless," the great Austrian said.