Ferrari announced on August 2nd that Felipe Massa will race for the team in 2006, replacing Rubens Barrichello. 24 year-old Massa has raced for Sauber for all his three years in competition and spent the 2003 season as test driver for Ferrari.
Ferrari announced on August 2nd that Felipe Massa will race for the team in 2006, replacing Rubens Barrichello. 24 year-old Massa has raced for Sauber for all his three years in competition and spent the 2003 season as test driver for Ferrari. Barrichello, who has been with the Scuderia since 2000, is widely speculated, although not confirmed, to be heading for BAR next season.
"I am very happy and proud to be racing with Ferrari in 2006," said Massa. "Maranello has believed in me since 2001, when I had yet to make my Formula 1 debut. Now, I am in my third season as a Sauber driver and I can also count on a year's experience as a Ferrari test driver, an experience which helped me to grow a great deal. I feel ready for this new challenge, which is the best opportunity of my career."
"I am aware of the responsibility it places on me and I cannot wait to be part of a team like Ferrari, alongside the best driver in the world, Michael Schumacher. I wish to thank Peter Sauber for having had faith in me over these past three years. I will do my very best in the final six races of the season to get the best possible results for his team."
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo thanked Barrichello: "We gave Rubens Barrichello the possibility of accepting an offer of a multi-year contract, longer therefore than the length of his relationship with us, while we also had the possibility of exercising an existing option in the contract we have with Felipe Massa, a young driver who nevertheless already has sufficient experience and whom we had already targeted as far back as 2001," he said.
"I wish to thank Rubens for his contribution over the past few years, which, to date, has helped us to win five Constructors' Championships. "From him, from everyone at Ferrari and from our technical partners, first and foremost Bridgestone, I am expecting maximum concentration and effort to get back to winning ways before the end of this season."
Massa debuted in Formula One with Sauber in 2002. His best result to date has been fourth at Montreal this season. He is currently 13th in the drivers' standings with eight points.