Rubens Barrichello thinks his countryman Felipe Massa is safe to stay at Ferrari.
Veteran Barrichello left the famous Italian team after the 2005 season, at the end of a period of playing the role of undisputed number two to Michael Schumacher.
His memories are therefore bittersweet, but as it emerged on Thursday that Fernando Alonso has extended his contract through 2016, Barrichello admitted Massa might be advised to also push for a new deal.
“I don’t know if Ferrari still operates today as it did ten years ago when I was with Schumacher,” the 38-year-old told radio Jovem Pan.
“If it is the same as then, I would advise him to get out, but I believe Ferrari is quite different today, so I can’t express an opinion.
“There are things that were bad for me and apparently better for him (Massa),” he added.
“Without Schumacher there, Ferrari is a team that is worthwhile going to. They always have a competitive car,” admitted Barrichello.
Alonso’s new five-year extension surprised the F1 paddock in Barcelona, but Barrichello is sure it includes exit clauses.
“The contract shouldn’t be blindly analysed by the press,” said the Williams driver. “For sure he has signed up to 2016, but there must be ways out.
“Such a long contract shows that the team wants to keep Alonso very much, and if I was a leader at Ferrari I would try to do the same thing,” admitted Barrichello.
“But such a long contract can bring benefits as well as harms to a driver.”
When asked about Alonso’s new deal on Thursday, Massa told reporters: “It is not yet contract renewal time for myself and I am in no hurry to see what my long term future will be.”
© RIF | GMM