PARIS, Oct 16, 2012 (AFP) - Brazilian driver Felipe Massa is to stay at Ferrari next season, Ferrari announced on Tuesday, amid speculation that he could make way for double Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel.
"Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its contract with the driver Felipe Massa to the end of the 2013 race season," the Italian racing outfit said on its website ferrari.com.
"The Scuderia's driver line-up for next year is therefore made up of Fernando Alonso and the aforementioned Felipe Massa."
On Monday, the president of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, rejected reports that Germany's Vettel was on his way to the team to partner Spaniard Alonso for the 2014 season, depening on results next year.
Vettel, who currently drives for Red Bull, is top of the drivers' championship ahead of Alonso. Massa, who made his debut in 2002, is in ninth position.
Felipe Massa's journey with Ferrari has had its ups and dows. Among the good things are the 11 race victories so far, with the last of those coming in that hearbreaking Brazilian Grand Prix in 2008 when he almost won the championship.
Then came the awful (and freak) accident in 2009 Hungarian GP in which a springcoil coming out Rubens Barrichello car hit him in the head a 200mph that put him out of sevice for the rest of the year.
Alonso joined Ferrari for the 2010 season and since then, Massa has scored just six podiums in 54 races, but the team has seen enough improvement in the second half of this 2012 season to retain the driver, who said that was "delighted" to remain with the team.
"I am delighted with this agreement," Massa said. "Ferrari is my sports family and I have always raced in Formula One driving engines built at Maranello: I can't see myself behind the wheel of a car driven by any other units! First I want to thank the President Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali, who gave me confidence and I have always maintained belief, even in the most difficult moments. Both the team and the fans can be assured that I will do all that is in my power to help the Scuderia to achieve the goals that arise every year."