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Massa says only better results will renew Ferrari contract

Associated Press

8/22/2012 9:32:09 PM

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Felipe Massa remains confident he will stay at Ferrari next year even though he admits he needs to significantly improve his results in the second half of the Formula One season to have a real shot at renewing his contract.

Massa said Wednesday he feels he performed better in recent races but acknowledges that only good results will help him in his attempt to stay with the Italian team after his contract ends this season.

"In the end the result is what matters the most. That's what's crucial for every driver," Massa said after participating in a road safety seminar sponsored by international motorsport governing body FIA in Sao Paulo. "I'll need to stay prepared and finish the races well to try to have better results in the second half of the year."

Massa said he has already been talking to Ferrari about renewing his contract but doesn't expect a decision to happen any time soon.

"The discussions began a long time ago," he said. "But until there is a deal finalized, nothing changes."

Massa has struggled since the beginning of the season and is only 14th in the drivers' championship, 139 points behind leader Fernando Alonso, his teammate at Ferrari.

While Alonso has won three races, Massa's best finish so far has been a fourth place at the British Grand Prix in July. He finished outside the top 10 in six of the first 11 races, and his best staring position so far was fifth at the British GP.

"I've had problems in the first races and the performance wasn't there, I suffered a lot," Massa said. "But the car is good right now and I'm much more confident driving it, that's very important. It's important we just focus on the next races."

Massa hasn't managed a podium since the Korean GP in October 2010, and his last win was at the Brazilian GP in 2008.

There has been pressure from Ferrari fans and Italian media to replace the Brazilian, but Massa enters the final part of the season boosted by improved performances in recent races.

"I'm confident," Massa said. "Even though the results have not been good, the performances were better. Now we need to have a clean race so the result can be positive in the end."

The Brazilian said the fact Alonso is fighting for the title won't make it more difficult for him to improve his results and try to get his contract renewed.

"It won't hurt me," Massa said. "If I'm near Alonso or in front of him I'll do what I can to help him win the championship, that's obvious. He is in a completely different position than I am in the championship."

The next F1 race is the Belgian GP on Sept. 2.