Date:Wednesday March 28 2012
Felipe Massa has been given what basically amounts to a 'vote of confidence' by Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali.
The problem for the Brazilian is that in many sports around the world the vote of confidence usually comes just weeks before a football manager is sacked, a Cricket captain is dropped or a Rugby coach is moved sideways.
Many in the Formula One paddock believe that Felipe Massa is just counting down the days until his contract expires, with the Formula One 2008 Runner up moving out to make way for someone, perhaps Sauber's Sergio Perez or a returning Robert Kubica.
Some however even believe that Massa could have been at risk of getting the axe before the season ends, not exactly a ringing endorsement when the championship is only two races old.
But despite poor performances last season and this and being well off the pace and form of team-mate Fernando Alonso, Massa has received a public call of support from his Ferrari boss.
'I well remember four years ago, in fact right after a Malaysian Grand Prix won for us by Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe was more or less in the same situation as today, the papers were demanding his immediate replacement, but he managed to react in the best way possible, thanks to support from the team, which saw him win two of the next three races. Domenicali told Ferrari's official website.
'We remember how that particular season ended, with the Brazilian actually World Champion, even if just for a few seconds, while we took our 16th Constructors' title.'
While Alonso has managed to drag his Ferrari to the top of the podium last weekend, its highly unlikely even the Spaniard could compete for the title this time around let alone an out of form, low of confidence, Massa.
With his job on the line Massa has changed his plans to return back to Brazil over the next couple of weeks and instead will go back to Ferrari's base in Maranello to work closely with the teams engineers to get his season and career back on track. Something that has pleased Domenicali.
'Instead of heading home to see his family in Brazil, he will be in Maranello to work alongside the engineers to calmly analyse everything that happened in these past two races, trying to identify why he was not able to deliver what he is capable of.
'That's the right spirit and we are here, ready to help him.'
But just how long will Ferrari remain patient?
Since his crash during qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, Massa has failed to win a race, he has finished second just twice in the 2010 Bahrain GP and 2010 German GP, while he also stood on the podium after finishing third in Australia, Italy and Korea [all in 2010].
In 2011 he failed to finish higher than fifth and finished the season in 6th place.
During the opening two races of 2012 Massa has failed to score a point.
Date:Wednesday March 28 2012
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