Ferrari defends under-fire Massa

By on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ferrari has come to the aid of Felipe Massa after the Brazilian was heavily criticised for his performance in the Australian Grand Prix.

Massa retired from the race after clashing with Bruno Senna, having started from a lowly 16th.

"Felipe has certainly been the target of criticism after the race in Albert Park", said a team statement in their Malaysian preview "But the Brazilian driver is used to this situation and remembers well 2008 when after two races – Australia and Malaysia – he had a zero in the points column and many of the media were calling for him to be fired on the spot. Many of those commentators had to change their minds given that only a few exceptional circumstances – from the piston in Budapest to the pit stop in Singapore to cite the most striking examples – denied him the world championship. Felipe knows he can count on the team to do everything, both from the technical and the operational point of view, to put him in a better state to show off his talents – even at the cost of extra work in these few days that separate the Australian race from the one in Malaysia."

The statement also added that Massa is to receive a new chassis this weekend in order to improve his chances of success.

"For example work has already begun in the Sepang pits to prepare chassis number 294, which replaces the number 293 and will be used by the Brazilian in the second race of the season. This choice was taken to clear up any doubts about the unusual performance of his car during the weekend at Albert Park."

Massa has been under pressure for a few seasons, having struggled to consistently match Fernando Alonso since returning from a career-threatening injury in Hungary three years ago.

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