Aug.17 (GMM) The forthcoming races are "very important" to Felipe Massa's future.
That is the claim of Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, apparently rejecting reports the famous Maranello team has already decided to drop the Brazilian at the end of the current season.
At the same time, however, Domenicali indicated that Massa has work to do if he is to secure a new deal for 2013.
"Felipe knows what he has to do," the Italian is quoted by Spain's Diario AS, Brazil's Globo Esporte and Spain's Marca.
Domenicali says Massa, who has upped his game in recent races after a dire start to the 2012 season, must "maximise his performance" in order to boost Ferrari's ranking in the lucrative constructors' championship.
"He knows there are some very important races in front of him as a driver and as a member of Ferrari," he added.
And according to Domenicali, Ferrari - who have let the automatic 2013 option on Massa's contract lapse - also has a responsibility.
"We need to improve the car and I am sure that Felipe will do a good job," he said.
As for the rumours Ferrari is actively looking for a replacement for Massa, Domenicali said: "We are not in a hurry to make a decision on the lineup for 2013."