Felipe Massa has appealed to Ferrari for ‘more time’ to reach his full potential in a red racer.
The 25-year-old Brazilian is on a one-year contract in 2006 and, despite flashes of speed, has often left pitwall heads shaking after regular driving errors.
With Kimi Raikkonen and, previously, Valentino Rosso linked with his ride, Massa has dealt with his fair share of pressure so far, and said in Montreal that he had opened talks with other teams but wanted to stay put at Maranello.
His hopes might even have been boosted with the new rumour that Bernie Ecclestone is pushing Raikkonen to move to Renault for 2007; a scenario that would leave Michael Schumacher at Ferrari with – in all probability – Massa beside him.
Felipe admits that he is not yet on a par with his illustrious teammate.
”Michael’s advantage is that he has ten years more experience,” Massa was quoted as telling ‘Munchner Merkur’, ”so I think I need more time to reach my best level.”
He thinks his performance in 2006 has been fairly typical of young drivers moving to a top team for the first time.
Massa explained: ”The first year for them is often good but not necessarily fantastic, but they improve each year.”