Mike Stevens | May 12, 2010

FELIPE Massa insists he is not being affected by the speculation predicting his Ferrari tenure will end this season.

The Brazilian's contract runs out this year, and amid rumours that Robert Kubica could be set to replace him in 2011, 29-year-old Massa is currently struggling to match the pace of his new teammate Fernando Alonso.

"For sure I am happy to stay (at Ferrari) if they want me, I trust Ferrari and in the end I have no interest in what people are saying.

"What I care about is working hard and fixing things as quickly as possible," Italian reports quote him as saying.

Corriere dello Sport suggested that Massa might be headed to Red Bull next year, to replace the possibly retiring Barcelona winner Mark Webber.

"In this world you hear so many things every week and every month," said Massa, who became Michael Schumacher's last Ferrari teammate in 2006.

The Massa/Red Bull rumour comes in the wake of Lewis Hamilton's assertion two months ago that 33-year-old Webber might retire at the end of 2010.

It is further rumoured that while Kimi Raikkonen was earlier expected to return to F1 in Webber's place next year, the 2007 world champion might in fact be content to prolong his new world rallying foray.

Speaking with News Ltd, Australian Webber has once again played down the Hamilton comments.

"They came about from when we were on a plane together back from the Japanese grand prix last year," he revealed.

"We were talking about getting the timing right in terms of retirement, in sport in general. When I do call it a day - and I really don't think that it will be at the end of this year - I want to do so on a good note.

"But I'm driving well enough and I believe I can still bring a lot to the plate in the next year or so -- meaning next year," Webber insisted. "I've got a few years in me yet."

(GMM)

 

Backmarkers To Make Monaco A 'Disaster': Hamilton

BACKMARKERS will make the Monaco grand prix "very tough" for F1's faster cars, according to Lewis Hamilton.

The 2008 world champion's car-to-pit radio was broadcasted live last Sunday when he said Virgin's Lucas di Grassi did a "terrible job" being lapped.

"I don't know what the hell he was doing there," Hamilton later expanded in comments reported by British newspapers. "It wasn't very safe."

The reporters asked the Briton if he thought the slow Virgin, Lotus and HRT runners would "screw" the pacesetters this weekend in Monaco, a twisty circuit confined by Armco barriers.

"It's just very difficult when there is such a big (speed) difference," said Hamilton, who was one of the drivers who had called for Q1 qualifying to be split into two groups for the fabled event.

"I lapped di Grassi four times in Spain. That's one of the biggest gaps I've had in formula one.

"You catch them so quick, it's unreal. When you see them you are second guessing where they will move out of the way, and then they move into the wrong position.

So far, fortunately, there have been no incidents and it has been ok, but Monaco will be very tough. It could be a disaster," added the McLaren driver.

His teammate Jenson Button agrees that traffic in Monaco will be "a nightmare", as BBC commentator Martin Brundle describes the six slowest cars as "mobile chicanes".

"Expect complaints and contact aplenty" in Monaco, Brundle added.

David Coulthard wrote in his latest Telegraph column that it is up to the teams to use their sophisticated GPS technology to help backmarkers let the faster cars through.

"They should be well able to get straight on the radio warning them that a faster car will be with them within a few seconds," said the Scot.

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