Ferrari has vowed to stick with Felipe Massa and give him all the support he needs as he bids to recover from his recent disappointments.
After a first-corner exit in Japan, following on from a gearbox failure that left him at the back of the grid in Singapore, Massa has come under pressure to recover his form in a bid to help teammate Fernando Alonso grab the title.
In the build-up to the Japanese Grand Prix, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo also issued a veiled warning that Massa had to lift his game, implying any driver not doing his bit for the team would not continue there. Di Montezemolo's comments fueled fresh speculation that Massa could be on the way out of the team – and there has even been talk that race engineer Rob Smedley may follow him. However, Ferrari has repeatedly insisted that Massa will definitely be staying at Ferrari in 2011, and team principal Stefano Domenicali said the outfit was ready to help and support the Brazilian.
"More than what I have said I don't know what we have to do," Domenicali said when asked by AUTOSPORT about the latest Massa speculation following di Montezemolo's statement. "I think that at the moment it is important to keep him calm and concentrated. He [Massa] knows that the team is totally behind him, there is no doubt about it.
"It is part of this game, it is part of this sport, part of this pressure from outside. But what we need to do is stay close to him, and he is very strong mentally. He is the first to show in the last races who he is, and what his real value is – which we know."