Team boss Stefano Domenicali has hinted that Ferrari is likely to field an unchanged driver line-up for the 2011 season, despite the ongoing speculation about the future of Felipe Massa.
Massa is out of contract at the end of the season and paddock rumours have suggested that Ferrari were looking at both Robert Kubica and Mark Webber as possible replacements for the Brazilian.
However, in an interview with the BBC ahead of the Turkish GP this weekend, Domenicali revealed that he expects the team to retain its driver pairing for next season, with Massa set to be offered at least another year on his contract.
“Yes, I think so,” he replied when asked by former F1 racer Martin Brundle if a pairing of Alonso and Massa was likely again for 2011.
While Alonso won on his Ferrari debut in Bahrain, Massa has so far failed to win this season and hasn’t take to the podium since finishing third in Australia.
However, Domenicali insisted that, after a difficult run of form of recent races, he expected Massa to shine again soon, starting this weekend in Istanbul.
Massa has won three of the five races held in Turkey since the event joined the F1 calendar back in 2005
“He likes this place a lot,” Domenicali added. “Up to now, he was struggling with the hard tyres in certain conditions, so I think that is the area we need to work with him so he has more confidence in the car.
“In that respect, it’s easy to criticise a driver when he is not performing well, but on our side we need to make sure the package for him is the best. Then he has to prove the level of it.”
Domenicali’s comments come as Red Bull is reported to be closing in on extending Webber’s deal for another season.