(Reuters) - Ferrari have assured Felipe Massa of their support after the Brazilian scored only 12 points from his last four Formula One races.
After nine grands prix, Massa has 57 points to team mate Fernando Alonso’s 123.
“Felipe is fully aware he can count on our total confidence in him,” Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told the team website (www.ferrari.com) after Massa visited the Maranello factory on Wednesday to spend time on the simulator.
“I hope he will soon secure the results that will show his talent to the full, such as the great starts he pulled off at the last two Grands Prix. The future? We will talk about that further down the line as there’s no hurry.”
The experienced Brazilian is out of contract at Ferrari at the end of the season and has had to endure regular speculation about his future.
However, with a new V6 engine to be introduced next year and major changes in the regulations, continuity and experience could count in his favor.
Massa said last month that he was confident he would still be in Formula One in 2014 and had a good chance of staying with Ferrari.
Team principal Stefano Domenicali also expressed continued support for the driver after Massa spun off and retired in Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
“I always said that we have a lot of confidence in Felipe,” he told reporters.
“I know this is a very critical, very tough moment because he is the first to be disappointed. The only thing to do is to stay always behind him and work hard with him because we need him to make sure we are fighting for the constructors’ championship).”
Ferrari are third on 180 points, three points behind Mercedes and 67 behind leaders Red Bull with 10 races to go.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris