Honda website
Honda website

NOVEMBER 6, 2002

Has Ferrari signed Massa?

Luciano Burti, Ferrari's second test driver this year, is under the impression that he has just lost his job to Felipe Massa. Burti was quoted in the Swiss daily newspaper Blick as saying that he contract had not been renewed and that Massa will now take over his role. Blick's F1 reporter is one of the most experienced in the business and there is no reason to doubt Burti's comments and so, although it is not yet confirmed, Massa looks likely to join the driver line-up at Maranello, alongside Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Luca Badoer.

At 20 years of age Massa is a talent needing to be developed. He was quick but rather wild as one of the Sauber Petronas drivers this year but it was still a surprise when Peter Sauber took the extraordinary decision to dump Massa at the end of the year in favour of veteran Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

There have been rumours of links between Massa and Ferrari from even before he was signed by Sauber last winter after Felipe had several outings with the Alfa Corse touring car team in 2001 and immediately lapped as quickly as the regular drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi and Nicola Larini (who was for a long time a Ferrari test driver). Massa has always denied any long-term deals but if he has been signed to test for Ferrari next year it is safe to assume that that there will be options for him to continue with the team as a racer at some point in the future.