Massa denies supporting role to be permanent

Wed, 6 October 2010, 12:01

Oct.6 (GMM) Felipe Massa has hit back at suggestions his new supporting role at Ferrari will be permanent.

Although kicking off 2010 on equal footing with Fernando Alonso, the Brazilian was moved out of the race lead at Hockenheim and is now openly aiding his Spanish teammate’s title charge.

But he told Germany’s Sport Bild magazine that “for sure I am not Ferrari’s second Rubens Barrichello”.

“If that happens, I will stop driving,” said Massa, 29.

“I’m not going to go racing to be eligible for second place,” he insisted.

He said his problem in 2010 has been the tyres.

“Fernando is very good, definitely,” Massa admitted. “But he is not better than my other teammates,” said the Brazilian, who since 2006 has shared Ferrari with Michael Schumacher and then Kimi Raikkonen.

“It’s just myself not being as good as usual,” added the 2008 runner-up, who mid last year almost died after an horror crash in Hungary.

“I have had big problems with the tyres,” he explained. “For my driving style, even the soft tyres are too hard. And I’m sure many other drivers have had the same problem.

“I don’t think Michael has forgotten how to drive,” said Massa.

He refused to comment at length about Hockenheim, where he was leading until Ferrari controversially intimated he should give way to Alonso.

“For sure I was extremely disappointed,” said Massa.

And for the remaining races of 2010, his role is obvious.

“If I am in front of the other drivers, but behind Fernando so that I can take away points from his rivals, that is of course positive for Fernando,” said Massa.

“That’s what I’ll try to do,” he revealed.

He denied he has agreed to play second fiddle because of the rumours about Ferrari ousting him at the end of the season.

“No. I have enough experience with these rumours to be relaxed,” said Massa.

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