Felipe Massa has admitted his future remains unclear, despite talks with Ferrari about the 2013 season having begun “a long time ago”.
The Brazilian, who is 13 places and 139 points behind his teammate Fernando Alonso in the drivers’ championship, is at risk of seeing his Ferrari career end after seven seasons.
Team boss Stefano Domenicali said last week that Massa, 31, “knows what he has to do” to secure a new deal.
“I’ll need to stay prepared and finish the races well to try to have better results in the second half of the year,” the driver said at an event in his native Sao Paulo on Wednesday. “The discussions began a long time ago, but until there is a deal finalised, nothing changes.”
Massa said his own form is now on an upswing, after Ferrari improved the performance of the F2012 car. But he denied that because Alonso is pushing for the championship, he faces an even tougher time to prove to Ferrari that he should stay in 2013.
“It won’t hurt me,” said Massa. “If I’m near Alonso or in front of him I’ll do what I can to help him win the championship, that’s obvious.”
Massa is quoted by Brazil’s Globo as saying he has always been under pressure in F1.
“At Sauber I was fired after my first year, and being test driver I had to have good results to get another chance. Then in my first year at Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen was already signed and no one knew if Michael Schumacher would stop or not. “Then we can speak about Valentino Rossi … actually, in my career, I have been through more difficult times,” he insisted.
“I am confident. I have a chance to continue with Ferrari. What we need to do is keep working on the car, because (in F1) nobody does anything alone. Yes the next races are super-important for my future, but it was also the same at the beginning of the championship.
“I’m 100 per cent focused on my results, and I believe so much in what I am capable of doing, which is what I’ve done many times.”