SEPTEMBER 24, 2013
Ecclestone working to help Massa stay in F1
Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he is working hard to ensure the last Brazilian driver does not drop out of F1.
Currently, Felipe Massa is the only Brazilian on the grid, but he has lost his Ferrari seat.
Manager Nicolas Todt is working hard to tap into the Brazilian sponsor market to ensure Massa is in contention for the rides at Lotus, Williams, Force India and Sauber.
It is rumoured the Brazilian broadcaster Globo could also play a vital role.
Brazil and South America are important markets for F1, and so the sport's chief executive Ecclestone told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper: "I am trying to help; it's not easy, but we're working on it."
The 82-year-old Briton admitted Massa's career could depend on his ability to take an attractive sponsorship package to his next F1 team.
"If Felipe gets some sponsors, everything will change and Brazil should have a driver on the grid in 2014," Ecclestone said.
"A strong economy like the one in Brazil is in a good position to invest in a driver," he added.
Also in the running to tap into that support is the GP2 frontrunner Felipe Nasr, but Toro Rosso recently quelled speculation he might replace the Red Bull-bound Daniel Ricciardo.
"It will be difficult to sign as a race driver in 2014," Nasr, who is managed by Kimi Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson, said in Singapore.
"So I see it (the opportunity) more as third driver, driving the car in practice on Fridays and some of the private testing," he added.