Felipe Massa is lucky to have kept his seat at Ferrari.
That is the view of Christian Horner, the boss of Ferrari’s chief championship rival in 2012, the reigning title winners Red Bull.
Asked if he would have inked a new deal with Brazilian Massa in 2013, Horner admitted: “No, I don’t think I would have.
“Unfortunately, it’s a tough business, and results-based,” he told the book The Official Formula 1 Season Review 2012.
“You’ve got to look at what the guy in the other car (Fernando Alonso) – which we must assume is equal equipment – is achieving.”
Horner said it is obvious that Ferrari did consider axing Massa, who made his debut for the fabled Maranello based team alongside Michael Schumacher in 2006.
“They obviously had a look at other drivers – at least one of ours! – so they were obviously concerned about his form, but their options seemed to become limited,” he said.
Horner said Sergio Perez, who was eventually signed by McLaren for 2013 and beyond, initially seemed “a shoe-in” for Massa’s seat.
“Then Felipe obviously picked his form up in the last third of the year,” he added.
“They were obviously deliberating – the messages coming out of Maranello confirmed that – and probably when the music stopped they realised that the option they had was best for them.”
During Ferrari’s recent Maranello Christmas party, team president Luca di Montezemolo joked about Massa’s mid-season return to form in 2013.
“I don’t know where you went in the first part of the year,” he smiled to Massa, “but I am very pleased you came back.”