Maranello, Italy – Speculation of Felipe Massa's future with Ferrari in Formula One has been put to rest, at least for one more year.
Ferrari revealed on Tuesday that Massa's contract with the Italian team has been renewed until the end of the 2013 season. Massa, 31, has driven for the team since the start of the 2006 season. Prior to that, the Brazilian drove for Sauber, which receives engine support from Ferrari, for two years.
"I am very happy to have reached this agreement," Massa said in a team statement. "Ferrari is my racing family, and throughout my entire time in Formula 1, I have always driven cars powered by engines built in Maranello. I can't see myself driving cars propelled by anything else."
Massa finished only one point behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton for the F1 world championship in 2008. In the following year, Massa's season was curtailed when he sustained multiple head injuries during a high-speed qualifying crash in the Hungarian Grand Prix. He scored six victories during the '08 season, but has not won a grand prix since then.
Massa had been on the hot seat at Ferrari this year after struggling during the 2010 and '11 seasons. But Massa has significantly improved in the second half of this season. His second-place finish in the Oct. 7 Japanese Grand Prix was his first podium appearance in two years. He also finished fourth in last month's race in Italy and this past Sunday's event in Korea.
"We are pleased to have extended our relationship with Felipe for a further year," team principal Stefano Domenicali said. "He has been part of our family for over a decade and has shown, especially in this recent part of the season, that he is once again competitive at the highest level, which is what is expected of every driver who gets behind the wheel of a Ferrari.
"We have always supported Felipe, even in the most difficult moments of his career, and we are certain of his worth and are sure he will know how to repay the confidence this renewal proves we have in him."
Massa is currently ninth in the championship standings. His teammate, Fernando Alonso, is in a tight points battle with two-time defending F1 champion Sebastian Vettel from Red Bull. Alonso trails Vettel by six points with four races left on this year's schedule.